Christina Cooke on Writing the Book She Was Looking For
In Conversation with Alex Higley and Lindsay Hunter on I'm a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where two writers-and talk to other writers-and about their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else we’ve got going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter and Alex Higley.
In this episode, Christina Cooke (Broughtupsy) talks to us about spending 11 years writing her debut novel, working on it at the Iowa Writers Workshop and MacDowell, the stamina of being a writer, all the “life stuff,” the ego death of going on submission, and more!
From the episode:
I remember doing a bit of research at the time, and I found three things. One, I found books that were about being a woman in Jamaica; two, books that were about being gay in Jamaica; and three, books about being a straight Jamaican that now lives abroad. But I found almost no novels, no work of fiction, that intersected all three of those lines, and basically nothing about a Jamaican who’d been living abroad who makes a decision to go home. I wanted to explore that, but I didn’t want to intellectualize it, because so much of what that experience means lives in the body. I specifically wanted to look at it through fiction. Through family. Through love.
Christina Cooke’s writing has previously appeared in PRISM international, The Caribbean Writer, Prairie Schooner, Epiphany: A Literary Journal, and elsewhere. A MacDowell Fellow and 2022 Journey Prize winner, she holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Born in Jamaica, Christina is now a Canadian citizen who lives and writes in New York City. Author photo by Eli Jules of Eli Jules Photography.