Ana Simo is the author of a dozen plays, a short feature film, and countless articles. A New Yorker most of her life, she was born and raised in Cuba. Forced to leave the island during the political/homophobic witch-hunts of the late 1960s, she first immigrated to France, where she studied with Roland Barthes and participated in early women’s and gay/lesbian rights groups. In New York next, she co-founded Medusa’s Revenge theatre, the direct action group the Lesbian Avengers, the national cable program Dyke TV, and the groundbreaking The Gully online magazine, offering queer views on everything.
We talked to Ana in anticipation of her event to discuss her first novel, Heartland. Check out her fun answers below. Join her and genderqueer Appalachian poet C. Russell Price at the AWM on Tuesday, June 5 at 6 p.m. RSVP here.
If you could meet one American author from the past who would it be and why?
I’d rather meet books. Authors are tedious. But if you’d force me to get near one of them, I’d choose to spy on Edith Wharton writing Ethan Fromme, or Hawthorne writing The Scarlet Letter. I wouldn’t mind getting into their heads while the pen scratches the paper.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
Jules Verne’s The Children of Captain Grant. You can see some images here. I read it half a dozen times before age 12. In a Spanish translation. I was enthralled by it, particularly the Patagonia section. Patagonia was my secret utopia. I’ll never go there.
Where do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write at home, where it’s quiet and I can keep my door shut for hours. For rewrites, I often go to certain public libraries.
What are you reading now? What should we be reading?
I just re-read Kleist’s Michael Kohlhass. And before that, Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten. I recommend re-reading. Whatever you like, or think you like (until you re-read it).