Kate Zambreno Can’t Imagine Her Life Without Visual Art
The Author of The Light Room Takes the Lit Hub Questionnaire
Kate Zambreno’s The Light Room is out today from Riverhead, so we asked her a few questions about her favorite books to recommend, what she gravitates to when she’s not reading or writing, and more.
Literary Hub: Who do you most wish would read your book?
Kate Zambreno: I hope people read it who will find solace in it, who needed the book at that time. I hope this book can be a balm for others, a space of joy as well as exhaustion and deep sadness, a space to think with.
LH: What time of day do you write?
KZ: I wouldn’t have written anything over the past six years without my children’s naps—I have done almost everything in those couple hours in the day, usually just writing in a notebook. In terms of seasons, I write everything in the summer, because I’m not porous with so many different voices while teaching.
During the semester, when I’m teaching at two different institutions and advising many writers, I write almost nothing at all, except when I’m on deadline.
LH: Which non-literary piece of culture—film, TV show, painting, song—could you not imagine your life without?
KZ: I can’t imagine my life without seeing and thinking through visual art—The Light Room would not exist without the paintings of Etel Adnan, or the photography of Hiroshi Sugimoto, or the temporary monuments of Rosemary Mayer, or the box practices of Joseph Cornell and Yuji Agematsu.
Although I can’t imagine my life without TV—I need TV to not be myself, to just be able to relax. I watch a lot of TV.
LH: What’s a book you recommend to other writers?
KZ: I often recommend Marie NDiaye’s Self-Portrait in Green, translated by Jordan Stump and published by Two Lines Press. Oh, but also the work of Bhanu Kapil, Annie Ernaux, Renee Gladman, Yoko Tawada….
LH: If you weren’t a writer, what would you do instead?
KZ: I think I would be working with children as an elementary school teacher, and thinking through education, maybe in the woods somewhere.
The Light Room by Kate Zambreno is available via Riverhead Books.