Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lori L. Tharps

Lori L. Tharps is an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University, an author, freelance journalist and mom. Her books include Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain and Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.

From a Q & A at her publisher's website:

Q: Why did you shift away from the field of education into a career in journalism?

LLT: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I never considered “writer” a legitimate profession. It seemed like a nice hobby but not something you could tell your parents you wanted to pursue. Once I made the decision to pursue my passion of writing, I elected to go into journalism because journalists have jobs and “writers” just write!

Q: How did the experience of writing this memoir differ from your other nonfiction work as a journalist?

LLT: The hardest part about writing a memoir is that you are the main subject. I was used to dissecting other people’s personalities and researching obscure facts, but for Kinky Gazpacho the spotlight was on me. There were times I didn’t want to write about certain incidents because they were too embarrassing or painful, but the journalist in me knew they were essential parts of the story and had to be told.

Q: You describe a sense of not being “the right kind of Black girl” from your time as an undergraduate at Smith College. To what extent do you think young Black American women in college today share this concern?

LLT: Sadly, I think the same thing still happens when college kids of any ethnic group come to college. Students are forced to immediately align themselves with a group or else risk social stigmatization. College campuses are still great breeding grounds for group-think mentalities.

Q: Why did the discoveries you made in your research on the history of Black slaves in Spain affect you so profoundly?

LLT: I guess...[read on]
Learn more about Lori Tharps at her website and blog.

Writers Read: Lori L. Tharps.

--Marshal Zeringue