Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, and longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. It was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Tin House, Literary Hub, Guernica, Vogue, the Telegraph, and Buzzfeed, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She currently teaches at The New School, and she is a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College. She is the co-founder of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to Williamsburg. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son.
1. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
Being able to support myself by writing.
2. Did you always want to be an author?
Yes! It took me a long time to get here, but I’ve always known that this is what I want to do.
3. Where do you draw inspiration up?
How weird and weirdly lovable humans are.My entire last book was about 87% dialogue, so I’ve spent an unfortunate amount of time grappling with how we communicate. I appreciate how hard we try and how hard we fail to understand each other all the time. But we keep trying. That’s something.
4. How do you feel like your cultural background has affected your work?
I’ve always been of this cultural background, so it’s hard to define what my work would be without it. Being an Indian American woman in an industry that focuses on so few of us has been a constant process of learning how not to center whiteness, or the version of myself whiteness allows.
5. What are your all-time favorite three books?
Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things. Lynda Barry’s What It Is, Joy Harjo’s In Mad Love and War, Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I know I cheated.
6. If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to do?
A physical therapist. I like bodies. I feel a kinship for their frailties.
7. How do you relax?
I bike everywhere, all the time, for as many months as possible in the year, which in New York is usually from late May to December. In the months that I’m not biking, I’m decidedly less happy.
8. What is your go-to coffee order?
Black. Iced. Year-round.
9. What do you consider the biggest problem facing Asian women today to be?
A legacy of women being taught to value mens’ opinions, men’s bodies, men’s self-worth, men’s happiness, over their own. It affects us on so many levels—economic, intellectual, physical, spiritual. I find exhausting and sad, especially when we have so much to offer and this world needs our excellence if it’s going to survive.
Find Mira here: