Brief professional bio:
Jasmine Warga is a writer from Cincinnati, Ohio who currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. She is the internationally acclaimed author of Other Words For Home, My Heart and Other Black Holes, and Here We Are Now. Her books have received multiple starred reviews, been published in over twenty-five countries, and optioned for film. Jasmine lives in an apartment filled with books with her husband, two tiny daughters, large dog, and mischievous cat.
Longer + informal bio:
I was born on April 24, 1988 at 11:59 PM in Cincinnati, Ohio. This means that I am a Taurus if you are into astrology and star stuff, which I most definitely am. Also, like all other people from Cincinnati, I am inordinately proud of my little Midwestern city and think that Graeter’s black raspberry chip ice cream is the most delicious food in the whole world.
Growing up, I loved to read. I also loved to tell stories. I come from a long-line of story-tellers. I only met my paternal grandmother twice—she lived in Jordan—but one of my most distinct childhood memories is of her telling me a story about the mermaids that live in the Dead Sea. That story has stayed with me for years. Stories are the way I make sense of our messy and complicated world.
But back to reading—when I was younger, I read about every book I could get my hands on. Some of my favorites were Charlotte’s Web, The Witches, and Anne of Green Gables. In middle school, we read books by Sharon Draper and Margaret Peterson Haddix, and I fell in love with their stories. As I got older, I discovered Perks of Being a Wallflower and Weetzie Bat. In high school, I was introduced to the work of Virginia Woolf and my brain exploded. I also fell hard and fast for the poetry of Adrienne Rich and Anne Sexton. In college, I discovered Zadie Smith and Sandra Cisneros and reading their brilliant writing made my own desire to tell stories feel possible in a way it hadn’t before. My favorite grown-up book I’ve read in recent memory is Americanah.
I went to college with the intention of getting a degree in something practical because that’s what good daughters of immigrants do, but I ended up graduating with a degree in Art History and History (which if you really think about it was just a roundabout way for me to study the structure of story and how stories are told.) After graduation, I found a job teaching 6th grade science (I know, right?) to a bunch of smart and challenging students in Texas. While teaching, I started to try my hand at writing my own stories. Lots of false starts and messy drafts later, here we are. I feel extremely lucky as all I’ve ever wanted to do is tell stories.
These days, I live in Chicago with my family—my husband, my two little girls, my big grumpy cat, and my large joyful dog. My current favorite things are lemon olive oil cake, reading the NYT Modern Love column, and lavender-scented bath products.