We sent out a survey asking the same questions to our speakers to help you get to know them better. Here’s Ava Chin, who will be participating in the panel called Double Whammy: Women Writers of Color Discuss Challenges and Strategies, on Sunday at 3:30 in the Tishman Auditorium.
In a few sentences, who are you?
I’m a native New Yorker and the author of the memoir Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal, about the ways that foraging for food in urban natures altered the way that I interacted with my hometown, my family, as well as myself. For several years I wrote the Urban Forager column for the New York Times about the wild edibles flourishing throughout our region (now I do it at www.avachin.com), and I’m currently an associate professor of creative nonfiction and journalism at the College of Staten Island-CUNY.
Describe one moment, event, person, relationship or other thing that put you on the path to becoming a writer, or told you that this was going to be your career.
When I was an undergraduate at Queens College, my creative writing professor told me that my father’s absence was the wound that made me a writer. Back then, I was constantly writing about daughters trying to reconcile with their families and meeting their fathers for the very first time. But what really turned me into a writer was having a very colorful family full of people who love to talk!
What’s essential for your work routine, ie. early morning start, some type of music, clean teeth, a looming deadline?
I need to wake up in the early morning to a clean desk in order to write—and playing Phillip Glass certainly helps (it’s truly Pavlovian—I hear his music and I feel compelled to work). Lately, my work-life balance has been in a bit of a shambles due to my becoming a mother of a very active toddler. Her toys have overtaken our living space, including my desk. It’s impossible to work from home these days and I usually have to hightail it out to a café or a library.
After casting a glance at our program, who’s another speaker you’re excited to see at Out of the Binders and why?
Um, everyone? Seriously, I’m so impressed with all of the speakers, from the featured ones to the panelists, that I just want to run up to everyone, introduce myself, and give the writer a big hug.
Why do you think this Out of the Binders conference needs to exist?
Women writers need in-the-flesh role-models and spaces to network and interact. BinderCon is kind of like “A Conference of One’s Own.”
What’s one link, aka URL, you’d give to someone who wants to read or find out more about your work?
You can find out more about what I do, and about Eating Wildly, on my site www.avachin.com. There I showcase the edible plants and mushrooms that I encounter all across New York City, as well as give tips about the writing life for emerging writers, including how to stay sane during book tour during a family crisis.
Let’s get people connected with you!