MAD About Books: What Catrina Sparkman is reading

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Reader Spotlight

Today we're talking with one of our library partners about what they're reading - Madison-area author Catrina Sparkman. Read on to find out a little more about Catrina and some books she recommends, and come hear her and two other Madison-area authors, Poet Fabu and Sherry Lucille, read from and speak about their own work and the work of three African American writers from the 20th Century with ties to Madison at the upcoming program Hidden Voices: African American Writers in Wisconsin (sponsored by Beyond the Page), which will be held at multiple libraries in Madison and Dane County throughout January and February 2018. We've already heard from Fabu and Sherry about what they're reading!

Catrina J. Sparkman has carved out a successful career niche for herself as an authorpreneur of several works of fiction and non-fiction. Including, Doing Business with God, Divine Revelation for a Twitter Generation, Passing Through Water, Opening the Floodgates and The Fire This Time. Sparkman is a grassroots community theater artist, the author of two original stage plays and one screenplay, Mother Love, The Cinderella Show and The Gospel According to Ruth. Sparkman has also produced, and directed many experimental theatrical pieces such as: Written By Himself-Positive Depictions of Men of Color, and Mary Lou Williams Remember Me.

Catrina is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Bachelors of Arts in English, Creative Writing, and a Masters in African American Studies. When she’s not creating her own art, she works as an instructor of Theatre and Drama for the University of Wisconsin Madison, a content writer, workshop trainer, public speaker, and theatrical consultant for various national and international organizations. Catrina makes her home in Madison, WI with her husband and three children. You can find her books at your local library or on Amazon, Audible, I-Tunes, and Barnes and 

Thanks for talking with us, Catrina! What are some things you’ve been reading, watching or listening to lately?

I’m reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper as part of a family book group selection with my husband and three children. For audiobooks, I’m listening to Dear Martin by Nic Stone and The Blood of Emmett Till by Tim Tyson. I’ve also been watching the BBC series, Orphan Black.  

What do you like most about the library?

Other than going into my own local library and seeing my own works of fiction and non-fiction on the shelf, I really like our library’s willingness to purchase books that patrons suggest. Over the years I’ve recommended several books to the library, many of them have been purchased.

Who is your favorite author?   

Boy, that’s a super tough question. That’s almost like asking which one of my children is the favored kid. I’d have to say, all of them! As a writer myself I find myself being influenced by many authors and many genres. Some of my all -time favorites are Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Bebe Moore Campbell, Jodi Picoult, and James McBride, just to name of few. I’ll read just about anything any of these authors would put out.  

What is Your Favorite book to give as a gift? Why?

James McBride’s, Song Yet Sung. It’s a wonderful story that is also beautifully written. The author is not only a historian but a jazz musician. You can hear the lyricism in the prose.  

Thanks for talking with us, Catrina!

Watch this space for more Q&As and book recommendations, and check out Hidden Voices: African American Writers in Wisconsin!