Mar 20, 2020 • 35M

SOUTH AFRICA - Interview with author J.L. (Jessica) Powers

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Lisa Carter
We bring world literature into your life, through interviews with authors & translators and readings from books we love.
Episode details

It seems a particularly good time to release this interview with J.L. Powers now, as the world grapples with COVID-19. Jessica shared a personal story that can help us all, about the power and personal transformation that are possible when we read fiction.

"Books literally saved me. They catapulted me out of the fear I was experiencing as a person and into the realm of these other worlds, where I could be safe. I think that legacy, of books as a safe place, has always stayed with me.

“Books as a form of salvation sounds a little over the top to a lot of people, but to me, I fundamentally see books as a transformative force in the world in ways that other things are not because they engage the mind, and the imagination, and the emotions. [...] That's what I bring to my work: this belief in books as a force for change."

We can certainly use that positive force these days!

In her books (This Thing Called the Future and Under Water, in particular), and in her publishing efforts with Catalyst Press and Cinco Puntos Press, Jessica invites readers in to experience the beauty and richness of the Africa she loves so much, but also the harshness. She wants us to see something other than what is presented in the media, a different perspective, and in so doing see our own country, community, and family in a new light.


J.L. Powers is the author of multiple award-winning books for young adults, most recently Broken Circle, which she co-authored with her brother M.A. Powers, and Under Water, the second book in a trilogy set in Imbali, an urban township in South Africa. She works as Director of Editorial and Foreign Rights at Cinco Puntos Press and is Publisher at Catalyst Press, a small publishing company she started in 2017 to publish African writers and African-based books.


Enjoy and thanks for watching!

Lisa Carter
 Founder & Creative Director, Intralingo Inc.