Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write, the novels The Book of Dead Birds, which won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement, Self Storage, and Delta Girls, and her first novel for young people, My Life with the Lincolns, which won a Silver Nautilus Book Award. She recently released The Book of Live Wires, the sequel to The Book of Dead Birds, as an ebook. Gayle teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Antioch University and lives in Riverside, CA, where she is mom to two adult kids and a toddler. She is thrilled to begin her two year appointment as the new Inlandia Literary Laureate.
LOCATION: Riverside, CA
WHAT INSPIRES ME: People going out of their comfort zone, being brave, doing what scares them. Jacaranda blossoms. The taste of a ripe peach. My two year old discovering language. People working for social justice. People who follow their own quirky vision. Honestly, I find inspiration everywhere--I just have to remind myself to stay open to it.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GET AWAY IN MY AREA: Joshua Tree
FAVORITE WRITERS: Terry Tempest Williams; Barbara Kingsolver; Toni Morrison; Aimee Nezhukumatathil; Lidia Yuknavich; Cheryl Strayed; Laraine Herring; Rilke; too many others to mention.
ARTIST/CREATIVE YOU’D WANT TO HAVE LUNCH WITH: Do they have to be alive? If not, Gaudi. I’d love to peek into his brain.
MOST OVER-HYPED ARTIST: Not sure how to answer this--Banksy, maybe, although I do like his stuff.
PERFECT SOUNDTRACK FOR WRITING: The sound of my two year old laughing downstairs, because that means he’s with a babysitter and I’m able to get some writing done upstairs.
WHY I LOVE WHERE I LIVE: For a long time, I loved Riverside for its proximity to other landscapes--an hour from the ocean, an hour from the mountains, an hour from the desert--but now I love Riverside for Riverside, itself. Its humility, its community, its pockets of surprising beauty.
ART YOU MAKE (IF YOU MAKE ANY...): Aside from my writing life, I dabble in collage every once in a while. I’m also a member of the Saahira Gypsy Soul bellydance troupe.
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