Chatting Arts with Author Jamie Ford

ArtsFund is excited to present author Jamie Ford with the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award at our upcoming Celebration of the Arts Luncheon on May 8, 2018. Jamie, who is best know for his bestselling Seattle-based novels including Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and Love and Other Consolation Prizes, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, largely in Seattle’s International District. We recently asked Jamie a few questions about his perspective on our arts and literary scene in the Puget Sound region.

What are your favorite literary spots or bookstores in Seattle?
Jamie: I’m going to cheat and say THE ENTIRE CITY. I’m serious. We have vibrant indie bookstores, unique chain stores like Kinokuniya, the best public library in the nation, the Hugo House, Seattle7Writers.org, and a culture that celebrates reading and literacy (I blame the rain).
To Seattleites, books aren’t a commodity, they’re a necessity.

Jamie Ford “Love and Other Consolation Prizes” author reading and book signing at Wing Luke Museum. Photo by Alabastro Photograpphy.

Do you have other favorite local arts organizations outside the literary sphere?
Jamie: My favorite would have to be 8th Gen—Louie Gong has created a cultural movement with his Inspired Natives Project (instead of “native-inspired” work, manufactured overseas). Louie is a great artist and could have settled for an amazing career. Instead, he decided to change the world. [Editor’s note: we are honored that Louie will be presenting Jamie with the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award at our luncheon on May 8!]

What do you think is unique or special about the arts community in the Puget Sound region?
Jamie: One hundred years ago this area was still shedding its reputation as a frontier, so everything is still very young, and the cultural identity of the Puget Sound area is still somewhat undiscovered and undefined—which, artistically, is a great thing. Whereas some communities back east are still connected to their European roots, we’re still searching, reacting to what’s happening now. That’s why grunge happened here and not in Boston, New York, or even San Francisco.

Jamie on set of Book-It Repertory Theatre’s production of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” Photo by Adam Smith.

What are you reading lately? Any recommendations?
Jamie: I just finished The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea. It’s magical—the kind of book that will make you laugh out loud, and also cry. It reminds all of us that the “Great American Novel” doesn’t have to be based on the experiences of Caucasian families.

What are you currently working on?
Jamie: My next tweet.
I once tweeted: Trump plans to stop funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA budget is $148 million. Trump’s inauguration cost $200 million. That message was retweeted 11,518 times.
I think people care about the arts.

Thanks, Jamie, for taking the time to chat with us! You can keep up with Jamie’s tweets @JamieFord, find him on Instagram @jamiefordofficial, and learn more about his work at www.jamieford.com.

To learn more about the Celebration of the Arts Luncheon, click here. To register, click here.