Susie Penman grew up, for the most part, in Mississippi. She got her BA in Journalism and her MA in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi, and while there became fascinated by how notions of regionalism and identity manifest themselves. She has just finished her MFA in Documentary Expression, also at the University of Mississippi. Her MFA project is a documentary film that focuses on juvenile crime and punishment in New Orleans. In the fall she’ll move to Chapel Hill, where she’ll enter the American Studies PhD program at the University of North Carolina. In between degrees she has worked as a bookseller, a baker, a journalist, and a copy editor.
To get to know Susie a bit more, we posed these important questions:
With whom would you choose to be marooned on a desert island?
Hmm, marooned on a desert island. That’s such a stressful question because it immediately makes me think of the horrible sunburn I’d get out there. I don’t know. Maybe cookbook author/TV host (the Great British Bakeoff!) Mary Berry, because I just don’t imagine she’d ever lose control and that would be reassuring to me. The very model of calm.
Would you prefer to visit Earth in 2100 or travel back to 1900?
My instinct was to say I’d rather go back to 1900, but no way! Earth in 2100 might be horrific but I’d be too curious not to visit.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book! That’s such a hard question. It’s either “So Long, See You Tomorrow” by William Maxwell, or “Dog of the South” by Charles Portis. A lot of the time it’s the last book I read – in this case, “Florida” by Lauren Groff, which was WONDERFUL. Before that I read “Zone One” by Colson Whitehead and it was a total delight. I could go on and on.
What is your hidden talent?
My hidden talent is forming immaculate pie crusts.
Which planet in the solar system would you visit?
If I could go to any planet in the solar system, I’d go to Pluto in order to reassure it that it is indeed 100% a planet.