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A conversation with Stephanie C. Horton, author, editor and activist

Stephanie C. Horton is editor, activist, and author of One Moore Book's What Happened to Red Rooster When A Visitor Came? Recently, Horton shared some details of her writer’s life with our team. We found her words poetic, passionate, and awe-inspiring.

OMB: When did you realize that you wanted to write for a living? Stephanie: There was never a time I didn’t write. My mother tells me I began reading at three year old. Reading and writing are inseparable from my earliest memories. The act of writing is an extension of my being. OMB: If you weren’t a writer, what other career would you pursue? Stephanie:I can’t conceive of an existence without writing. If not a writer I might be in the theater or a filmmaker, but I would still be writing. OMB: Who inspires you the most? Why? Stephanie: I’m most inspired by the African woman writer Bessie Head. My sense of self and how I see and move in the world is shaped by her work. In one of her novels, Maru, a proud nanny goat and her curious, energetic baby goat feature as major characters. I love how she honors the imagination and integrity of all of creation, both humans and animals, in her work. She writes in beautiful, quiet, tender prose shot through with terrible anger and outrage at systems of oppression and inhumanity, and what the trauma of these do to the spirit, and how the spirit can move through deep pain and recover. I learned from her how writing as art connects us to all beings and lifeforms and allows us to transcend the deepest schisms and traumas. Like her, I am a hybrid by circumstance of birth and nationality because of the colonial onslaught and the history of European and American slavery in African. I belong to no one tribe or place. I am part unknown, part Kpelle, part Jamaican, part East Indian, part Native American, part Southern American, and part German, planted in Liberia. Bessie Head was simply African, of no tribe or race. I learned from her how to create my own sense of belonging. OMB: Describe your creative process. Stephanie: I live as a creative being. I’m always writing in my head if not on paper or typing. When I’m seized by a particular idea, it simmers within me for a time and then begins to push outward.

OMB: Thank you for your words, Stephanie.

Stephanie C. Horton’s book What Happened to Red Rooster When A Visitor Came? will be available on January 26th.

- DO

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