Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Meet Julia Thacker, Winner of the Leo Love Merit Scholarship for Prose

 Julia Thacker is a poet, fiction writer, private consultant, and teacher who could not think of a more suitable career. Driven by her love of storytelling and the fulfilling process of creating, she writes to “figure things out” and learn from her own stories. When interviewed, she paraphrased Flannery O’Connor by saying that if you don’t learn anything from your own stories, you can’t expect that anyone else will. Julia is also personally and professionally sustained by the works of Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Marilynne Robinson, as well as many others.

Her work as a graduate student at Brown University focused on how the precise language and imagery of poetry can inform prose. However, she has spent the past several years focused on writing fiction. Much of her fiction, as well as some of her poems, is colored by a rich family history. As a descendent of a coal miner from Harlan County, Kentucky, Julia has placed many of her stories in the context of Appalachian culture. Though she herself was raised in Dayton, Ohio, she spent a great deal of time visiting with her grandparents, aunts and uncles back in Kentucky. Her latest novel-in-progress, The Funeral of the Man Who Wasn’t Dead Yet, is set during the migration of Appalachians to the north at the end of World War II. It was an excerpt from this piece which won her the Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Prose.

This summer Julia will be attending her first Taos Summer Writers' Conference. She has chosen to take the week-long poetry workshop, “A Dark Star Passes Through It,” with Leslie Ullman. Julia admires Ullman’s work and looks forward to working with her. She is also particularly excited to be spending time in Taos, an area which she finds both strikingly beautiful and intriguing for its history as an artist colony.

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