A Questioning Writer

A Conversation with LABA Fellow and writer, Clemence Boulouque


Q: In one word, describe your work?

A: Questions

Q: What is your primary medium or style of work?

A: Fiction and non-fiction, sometimes interwoven.

Q: Your work is so full and complex, what influences you?

A: Trying to capture the moment before the abyss, and hearing the voices of those who were swept away by history. Human frailty, I guess. And the immense enigma of grace and loving-kindness, which I find even more mysterious than evil. What can writing heal or repair? And how?

Q: Describe your process for us.

A: I don’t have a routine- in a way, it is unceasing, I take notes all the time, whether I write them down or not. I wish to believe that thoughts that I forget also become… sediment which I will use at some [future] point. So something builds up inside and then there is a sense of urgency, of these moments when not writing makes me suffocate. Right now I am at the final stage of writing my dissertation and I have no time for fiction – and I acutally feel how I miss it, it’s almost physical.

Q: How has being a LABA fellow informed your current work?

A: Studying , being in a community where diversity bonds us, is quite unique. I come with my academic baggage and I am happy to check it at the door (alright – sometimes my nerdy self kicks in).

Q: What…are you able to take from being a LABA fellow?

A: The group dynamics, listening to the other fellows’ perspective[s] – it is refreshing, inspiring and uplifting.

Q: How long does it take for you to conceptualize, create, and get to the presentation stage of your work?

A: It depends- I wrote my first book in a couple of months but it had taken almost a decade to let the words come to me.

Q: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you and your work?

A: Speaking of mothers, my mother tongue is French and I did not learn English that early (Italian, German came first). So switching to English in my new projects sometimes makes me feel like a child again: a bit scared by the world outside but so eager to take the plunge.

Join Clemence Boulouque, THIS Sunday at 7:30pm for the debut of a new work in progress, “The Faith in Her Eyes,” a new one-act play about Regina Jonas, the first-ever female rabbi. For more information and tickets, click here.

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