This, My Friend, Is Your Life

Julianna Baggott contains a seemingly endless fount of energy when it comes to the art form. She has written over 20 books (not including what she’s co-authored), teaches at VCFA and at Florida State University, regularly pitches stories to Hollywood, and is raising four children. Still, she took the time to read with Caitlin Leffel at VCFA’s Café Anna. Before she went in front of the audience, MFA candidate Sarah Leamy introduced her. “She has done so much, and it’s so inspiring,” she said. And to prove this, she helped unfurl a poster on the wall that illustrated Julianna’s accomplishments: every single work of fiction, collection of poetry, and young adult series diagrammed in permanent marker, revolving around a single bubble that is Julianna Baggott. “This, my friend, is your life,” said Sarah.

“Just to be clear,” said Julianna as she stepped up to the podium, “I have more books than that.”

Whenever anyone asks Julianna why she writes, especially why she writes so much, she is fond of saying: “It’s how I breathe.”

“Apparently you breathe really fast,” Sarah quipped from the audience.

Julianna read poems about strong women and childhood, nursing and piano tuners, death threats and masculinity (“lewd opalescence, it’s unwieldy pep”). When she finished, she checked out the poster. She loved it. “Now that I’ve gotten up close,” she said, “it’s very funny and smart.”