Full name: Neesha D. Meminger
Birth date: October 17th
Location: Bronx, NY
Website/blog: Neesha Meminger.com and Cynical, Ornery, Sublime, Lush
Genre: YA; Fantasy and Contemporary
WiP or most recently published work:
Most recently published work-Shine, Coconut Moon (McElderry Books, 2009)
I also write other genres under a pen name.
Much of my writing has been published in journals, newspapers, anthologies, quarterlies, and online magazines. If you do a search for my name you'll see plenty of earlier work pop up :).
How frequently do you update your site?
I would say every couple of months or so...? *Editors note: blog is updated weekly.
Is your site designed for reader interaction?
Readers are always invited to email me with questions, comments, thoughts, and opinions. On my "For Readers" page, I have some fun activities related to SHINE, COCONUT MOON including music, family portraits, and teen responses to interesting questions.
Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
Many of my posts of note deal with race and representation in children's publishing. I am always interested in the ways race, gender, sexuality, and class representation intersect with popular culture and mass media. My undergraduate degree is in film and media, so that might explain it. I also want to point to Amy Bowllan's Writers Against Racism series that *everyone* should check out. But here is a sampling of posts (some on my blog, some not) about issues that matter to me:
My guest post on Justine Larbalestier's blog, Colleen Mondor's What A Girl Wants series on her blog, Chasing Ray. One that is particularly close to my heart is the "Mean Girls" post and The SHINE cover story.
On giving back when one uses another community's representation in their own interests and
Books I've cherished and Who Gets to Represent?
100 words or less how would you describe your work?
My work is (and will always be) about the lives of women of colour. That is what I know and it is what I am passionate about. I think if you write something to a trend, or try too hard to bend yourself to a market, it shows in the final product. So, I try to stick with topics that ignite something within. Topics that mean more to me than just telling a good story. Usually those topics include redefining the boundaries set for us as women and people of colour; social and economic justice; the equitable distribution of resources; basic human rights for all citizens, such as health care and the right to live free of fear and violence; envisioning the world in a new way; seeing new paradigms and new possibilities. Every single thing I write incorporates these sensibilities because they are an extension of who I am.
100 words on less please share your thoughts on writing and activism:
This is a bit of an extension of the previous answer. To me, writing and activism are inextricably linked. My writing--*all* of my creative expression--IS my activism. When I made films, they dealt with the same topics and issues as my writing. When I do anything creative, it is an expression of who I am as a whole. And, because part of who I am includes a passion for social change, that passion inevitably finds its way into my characters, my plotlines, the structure of my stories. I think, in part, this is what writing by any group (from the inside) is. It is the *lived* experience of a struggle for change and equality. Anyone can write a character. Anyone can infuse that character with universal emotions and slap a colour on that character. But adding the layer of struggle, the layer of not just passion, but a desperate need to see a new way of being--THAT is what makes any representation of the "other" layered and complex. And that doesn't mean ONLY depicting characters who are down in the dumps, whose lives exist solely within the context of violence and degradation. Anyone can put that together, too. But again--layering that experience with the hope, the unrelenting urge to soar beyond daily confines, to expand outside of the stifling conditions of racism, poverty, misogyny, and homophobia...THAT is where authentic representation comes in. If an author doesn't breathe her own LIVED experience into a character, that character remains dead on the page.
Thanks, Neesha. Looking forward to our book discussion on Friday.