The Gymnast & Other Positions is Jacqueline Bishop’s most recent book and has been awarded the 2016 OCM Bocas Award in Non-Fiction. She is also the author of the novel, The River’s Song; and two collections of poems, Fauna and Snapshots from Istanbul. Her non-fiction books are My Mother Who Is Me: Life Stories from Jamaican Women in New York and Writers Who Paint/Painters Who Write: Three Jamaican Artists. She also writes a monthly column on the visual arts for the Huffington Post. An accomplished visual artist with exhibitions in Belgium, Morocco, Italy, Cape Verde, Niger, USA and Jamaica, Ms. Bishop was a 2008-2009 Fulbright Fellow to Morocco; the 2009-2010 UNESCO/Fulbright Fellow; and is an Assistant Professor at New York University. In addition to the OCM Bocas Award, Bishop has received several additional awards, including: The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short story writing, The Arthur Schomburg Award for Excellence in the Humanities from New York University, A James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship, as well as several awards from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.
What do you do best?
Being able to sum up and synthesize a situation fairly quickly. Very good instincts.
What makes you the best?
Seeking out those who can help me with an issue and being able to take constructive criticism.
What are your aspirations?
To strive to be better today than I was yesterday.
Reading a poem, I wrote for my grandmother to my grandmother in a then recently published book, before my grandmother passed away.
Most Challenging Moment?
This is not a challenging moment, so much as it is a regret. Once, somewhere where I was teaching had a class with too few students and they had to cull students from all the other classes to make up this new class. I sent along a student from my class that I was never able to face again. I have always thought about this student and how s/he must have felt to be the lone student sent out of my class. One of my most challenging and regretful moments.
It is better to try at something and fail at trying than not to try at all.
Favorite People/Role Models?
My grandmother, who never saw a mountain she could not climb, is one of my favorite role models. Another favorite role model is my great grandmother who made the most gorgeous patchworks and handmade beautiful things and who seemed to take great pleasure in the simplest things in life. Finally, there is a wonderful woman in Jamaica, Ms. Lynette Wilks, who gave up a professional life in the capital city of Kingston to go back to the rural areas of the island to safeguard and protect endangered butterflies. I wish the island of Jamaica would get it together and give this woman some national award and the recognition she rightfully deserves!
San Francisco and the Bay Area immediately comes to mind.
My great grandmother’s and grandmother’s patchwork quilts. They are among some of the most precious things I own.
The Female Sexual Desires Project and ideas around female sexuality and pleasure that I am currently working on as both a creative writer and a visual artist.