Sweet Connections: Patrice Gopo

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Patrice Gopo
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Two Shorts
Issue:  7.1

Version 2

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Patrice lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she is successfully inhabiting a state of rest in the aftermath of the release of her essay collection last August. You can learn more about Patrice on her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

It’s been a really neat couple of years since Sweet first published my work. The North Carolina Arts Council chose me as one of their 2017-2018 Literature Fellows. A huge honor. Then my first book All the Colors We Will See released in August 2018. The book is an essay collection about race, racial identity formation, immigration, and belonging (and includes the essay “Before” that originally appeared in Sweet). Barnes and Noble chose it as a Fall 2018 Discover Great New Writers Selection. Since the book released, I’ve had many neat opportunities to speak to corporations, nonprofits, universities, and other organizations about topics in the book and the power of sharing personal stories.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

Life has been quite hectic since my essay collection released. This summer, I’ve been intentional about taking time off to rest, to spend time with my family, and to possibly create space for new ideas to form. But one project that reached completion earlier this year that still makes me excited is the CharlotteLit Beautiful Truth Initiative—a city-wide initiative where we brought together people in the community with the purpose of leading them through activities to help them identify and share their stories as a way of building connection. I developed the curriculum for this initiative. You can read more about it here: https://www.charlottelit.org/blog/beautiful-truth-initiative/

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Oh, there are so many authors and books that it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one. Marita Golden’s Don’t Play in the Sun is one of my favorites. I’ll also share a few books I’ve read in the last couple of months that I really love. Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir Good Talk, Grace Talusan’s memoir The Body Papers, and LaTanya McQueen’s essay collection And It Begins Like This. I love creative nonfiction, and these books are excellent examples all in their own unique ways.

What inspires you to write?

On a larger scale: a love of sharing stories and a belief that stories have power to shift mindsets and help us build a more equitable world. On a more microscopic level: a love of the rhythm of language and the beauty conveyed through words arranged in a particular way.

What is your favorite sweet?

Strawberry rhubarb pie and ice-cream. Better together! Sadly, no recipe as I’ve never made a strawberry rhubarb pie. I was making homemade ice-cream a few months back, but none of the batches ever turned out quite how I wanted . . .

Thank you, Patrice, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

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