Writer, Harlem Writers’ Circle
ABOUT: “I am interested in writing about daily life and culture,” says up-and-coming writer Jamie Christensen. Though she has broad literary interests, Christensen describes much of her work as “travel lit,” focused on simple, everyday experiences in Brazil, where she lived and worked while on a church mission trip. After moving to El Barrio/East Harlem, the Utah native joined the Harlem Writers’ Circle, where she presents her new work and receives support and advice from other local artists. “There’s a spirit of service in the group,” she says. “We all take turns workshopping each other’s [pieces].” Christensen has found that East Harlem is a fantastic neighborhood to live in as a developing artist. She explains that the community is encouraging and full of inspiring places to write. “I’m living the dream,” she sighs with a smile.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: As a young artist working multiple jobs, Christensen notes that it can be difficult to find time to attend the events hosted by the El Barrio/East Harlem arts community. “All the events are in the evenings,” she says. This makes it difficult to find and support the other artists in the area. In addition to more daytime events, Christensen would like to see more outreach directed toward young artists by El Barrio’s seasoned arts community; she states that it can be a bit intimidating to participate in literary events alongside East Harlem’s well-known authors and poets. Nevertheless, Christensen has found the neighborhood to be warm and welcoming; one of her first NYC anecdotes involves an unlikely trek through El Barrio’s streets, with an unusually cumbersome piece of luggage. “[When I first arrived in East Harlem,] I found a street couch and [had to push it back]... people were helping me all the way home!”