Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tupelo Hassman

Tupelo Hassman graduated from Columbia's MFA program. Her writing has been published in Paper Street Press, The Portland Review Literary Journal, Tantalum, We Still Like, ZYZZYVA, and by and Hassman is a contributing author to Heliography, Invisible City Audio Tours' first tour and is curating its fourth tour, The Landmark Revelation Society. She kept a video journal of girlchild's book tour for the short documentary Hardbound: A Novel's Life on the Road.

Her debut novel is girlchild.

From her Q & A with Nika Knight at Full Stop:

Was girlchild ever hard for you to write, emotionally? I found it so intense to read.

Yeah, it was, definitely. There was a point when — this is embarrassing, but I think it’s funny — I would hate to sit down and write it, because I knew that I would be so emotionally riddled by it, that I started keeping little notes of how often I cried on each workday. Little hashmarks, like in prison. And I don’t mean to sound so dramatic about it — I would just cry, it was ridiculous. It was so ridiculous. That happened every day I worked on the book. And I don’t walk around crying all the time.

I mean, it’s a first novel, at first Rory’s and my story were pretty much the same, but it wasn’t long before Rory’s life was totally — she’s way more of a badass than me. She does things I never would have thought of. And yet it was still really sad, and really hard to dig into that.

It seemed like so much research went into the book — from the format and tone of social workers’ case files to the details of the Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, which declared forced sterilization to be constitutional in 1927 and has yet to be overturned. How did you go about your research?

I’m a first-generation college student, and I went to USC, from a community college. I didn’t even graduate high school, so going to USC was mind-blowing, really. …. When I got to USC, which I loved, and I love it, but it was a harsh conflict for me, and I became ultra-aware of class differences. I already had all this baggage, and then it was in my face. The disparity was so in my face on that campus. And then...[read on]
Visit Tupelo Hassman's website.

The Page 69 Test: girlchild.

My Book, The Movie: girlchild.

--Marshal Zeringue