The Asterisk Conversations #2
10 January 2021
#2 | Simon(e) van Saarloos, Pamela Sneed & Jolyn Phillips
- Transcript available here -
In the second Writers Unlimited podcast, philosopher and writer Simon(e) van Saarloos invites the New York-based poet, performer, visual artist, and educator Pamela Sneed for an Asterisk conversation – “een sterretjesgesprek”. Asterik conversations expand and overlap, trusting that different themes and threads interweave and cross, influencing each other. The asterisk resists the idea of core business, of a single issue struggle (Audre Lorde) or truth with a capital T. As Jack Halberstam writes in Trans*: the asterisk refuses to “situate transition in relation to destination, a final form, a specific shape, or an established configuration of desire and identity”.
The Asterisk Conversations features each episode a writer overseas and invites a maker based in The Netherlands to create a new work in response. This way, each podcast ends with the beginning of a new conversation. And this time it was very obvious that we should invite Jolyn Phillips to respond. Jolyn is a writer, poet, composer, singer and activist. Her 2016 debut collection of short stories, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries, received critical praise, was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize for best debut, and won the NIHSS Prize for best fiction. Phillips herself adapted the stories for the stage. More of her poems and short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies.
Simon(e) van Saarloos (1990) is a philosopher, writer, columnist and debate moderator. She writes literary reviews, interviews, essays, opinion pieces and fiction. In 2015, some of her columns written for the nrc.next newspaper were collected as Ik deug / deug niet (I am good / bad). In 2016 she performed on stage in Holy F with actors Sophie van Winden and Eva Marie de Waal. That same year her novel De vrouw die (The Woman Who) was published, followed in 2018 by ENZ. - De methode Wilders (The Wilders Method, ETC.) and in 2019 by Herdenken herdacht. Een essay om te vergeten (Rethinking Commemoration: An essay to forget). She writes her name as Simon(e) to point out the presence of gender in names.
Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, performer, visual artist, and educator. She is the author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery (1998), Kong and Other Works (2009), Sweet Dreams (2018) and Funeral Diva (2020), and others. Her poetry appears in Nikki Giovanni’s “The 100 Best African American Poems” (2010) and has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She has performed and curated performances in venues from the Brooklyn Museum to Joe’s Pub, the Public Theater, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. She teaches online for the low-residency MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia University School of the Arts.
Jolyn Phillips (South Africa, 1992) is a writer, poet, composer, singer and activist. Her 2016 debut collection of short stories, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries, received critical praise, was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize for best debut, and won the NIHSS Prize for best fiction. Phillips herself adapted the stories for the stage. In 2017 she published Radbraak, a collection of poetry in Afrikaans, which won the 2018 UJ Prize for best debut and earned a nomination for the Elizabeth Eybers Prize. She set some of these stories to music. More of her poems and short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She is currently graduating from the University of the Western Cape with a PhD in creative writing and teaching African literature at the University of Johannesburg.
Credits The Asterisk Conversations #2