There is no shortage of talented women who make up our alum network at Cambridge Common Writers. In our continued Spotlight series, we highlight several of them in honor of Women’s History Month.
LEAH YOUNG — NONFICTION, JAN ’18
A passionate womanist, Leah Young is an author, visual artist, professor of English Composition and a bookstore owner (Powher Books: Books by, for and about women). She has been writing since the age of nine having fallen deeply in love with words. Her work includes serving as an editor & contributor for a monograph of visual art and essays by 7 women artists in The Art of Women from July 2014. She has also published work in Artshifts, Union Institute & University Press. Divine Flow—her book of affirmations, is self-published.
What drew you to the Lesley MFA program and what take-aways did you have from it?
Lesley had published authors instructing, an opportunity to mix disciplines, the residency, and Rachel Manley wrote me the most heartfelt admissions letter that sealed the deal.
What is your writing process like? Do you have a particular routine or ritual to help you get into the writing zone?
I like to set a space physically and spiritually for all of my art. And ideas frequently spark from my environment such as the novel I’m working on about an interracial couple navigating romance during the pandemic and BLM.
What are some of your favorite books you’ve read in the past year?
Sadly, I haven’t read a lot in the past year. It’s been stressful, but I managed Mariah Carey’s memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey; Alicia Keys’ More Myself; and former President Barack Obama’s Promised Land.
Why do you write and what do you like to write about the most?
I write because the words come. I enjoy writing fiction and I enjoy writing about what matters to me such as memoir, spiritual subjects, sociology-economic stuff and art.
What is something that tends to get in the way of your writing and how do you overcome it?
The myriad distractions of life are unavoidable. I’m still working on overcoming them.
If you could get coffee with any writer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
bell hooks and Toni Morrison, both commanders of language and story in different yet powerful ways.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that doesn’t have to do with writing.
I love men, especially black men.
What are you working on now? Is there anything we can promote?
The biggest thing now is selling books by, for and about women online at www.powherbooks.com. It’s a way of elevating women writers such as myself as well as those who blazed the trail before. If it’s not on the site, ask us and we’ll get it.
Check out the video below to hear Leah read several excerpts from her memoir: