The Writers’ Program is thrilled to add a new Creative Writing Program Representative to our team. Jennie started last week, and will be doing a lot of important behind the scenes work to get classes for each term up and running, as well as assisting instructors and students with course issues. Jennie sat down with us so we can get to know her a little better.

Writers’ Program: Jennie, tell us about yourself!
I’m from Rochester, NY, and I’m still a relatively new transplant to the city of Los Angeles. The lack of snow here still delights me. Before moving to Los Angeles, I studied Art and Social Change and English in undergrad, lived in Boston and worked in an educational nonprofit, and just last year, I finished my MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am obsessed with my dog, Helen, adore my cat, Nina, and regularly talk about my animals both past and present. The most original animal I’ve ever had is a pet pig, Maru.

WP: What’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
: I grew up in a pet shop! My parents started a small pet shop out of their basement when they were young. They specialize in fish keeping, and next year the shop will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary! Because of that, the sound of bubblers and fish tanks is probably the most comforting sound I know. I also know a lot more about aquariums and pets than the average person, and I have dozens of quirky stories about animals and their owners.

WP: If you were trapped on a deserted island, what 3 works of literature would you take with you?
J: This is such a hard question! And my answer would probably change every month depending on what I’m sitting with. Can I take a magical book that updates every so often with the titles I most need? No? Well, then, I think I’d pack Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, which has been a favorite of mine for a long time but also because of China – a gorgeously-written pit bull from the book. I probably couldn’t leave home without Housekeeping, either, by Marilynne Robinson, which I find heartbreaking and compelling in all the right ways. And then I’d pack a big, thick collection of short stories to keep me company and hope it has all my favorites.

WP: Are you a writer? If yes, what are you currently writing?
: Yes, I am. I write mostly fiction, but occasionally dabble in nonfiction too. I am working on polishing a few short stories now, but also deep into a longer work. I think some people might call it a novel, but I’m still shy around that word. I write predominantly about families, specifically the way mothers, daughters, and sisters lives are intertwined. Animals and the natural world often appear in my work, too.

WP: What excites you most about working in the Writers’ Program?
J: Everything, truthfully. I’m excited to be a part of this amazing writing community – everyone I’ve met in the Writers’ Program has been just extraordinary, and truly wants to help our students tell their stories. I’m thrilled to be a part of the program and excited to help manage the behind-the-scenes logistics to make that happen.

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