NW: I'm not a big fan of ice cream. I like Dutch licorice, both salty and sweet. And I've always been fascinated with Twizzlers, ever since I was a wee girl. How can they taste so good when they are made of nothing edible?
KLC: Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever traveled to and what was so cool about it?
NW: Palestine. Those who have been resisting illegal Israeli occupation and oppression for decades have something to teach us about long-term struggles for justice. Palestinian food is the best I've tasted anywhere. And the mint tea. My dear friend Abedelfattah Abusrour, director and writer, makes the best mint tea in the world, which he says he learned from his mother.
KLC: Name one movie you can quote and then quote it.
NW: Matewan. "It takes more than guns to kill a man."
KLC: Pick one: Eleanor Roosevelt, Angela Davis, or Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
NW: Angela. I have one of her quotes on my desktop: “The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what's that? The freedom to starve?” I met Angela when I was a young woman, and then more recently at the commemoration for dear friend and activist Anne Braden. Angela Davis is not only a brilliant thinker, she's incredibly beautiful and I've a little crush on her.
KLC: The United States electoral process is _________________________.
NW: usually for sale to the highest bidder
KLC: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done to get someone’s attention?
NW: I refuse to give away my embarrassing secrets. Though one time in North Yorkshire, where I live I saw an injured squirrel. It had some infection in its front paw. It would crawl up to my window and try and get the nuts for the birds. I offered it nuts from my hand. No healthy squirrel would come that close but this one was so hungry (I assume its infected paw was preventing it from gathering the nourishment it needed). At first it wouldn't come close but I began singing to it, and finally it came and took the nuts from my hand. I made up the song as I went along. Something along the lines of: "Oh little squirrel with your paw so blue. Eat this nut and I'll crawl away with you." It worked.
KLC: If you had the opportunity to patent a brand new product, what might that be?
NW: A Hedgehog Anti-Poison Pill. I am a hedgehog carer, and folks bring me injured or needy hedgehogs in the autumn, and I try to keep them alive until I can release them in the spring. (Hedgehogs are protected in the UK and may not be kept as pets). But sometimes I am brought hedgehogs that have been poisoned by eating the snail pellets people use in their garden. Come to think of it, maybe a product to save the snails as well.
KLC: Which of the following is least likely to ever exist: bigfoot, elves, or government regulation on Wall Street?
NW: Government regulation on Wall Street will exist when it’s a people's revolution on Wall Street. And hedgehogs will be included as well.
KLC: Can you share something about yourself that no one has ever asked you about in an interview before? NW: No one has asked me about my life long love for critters. Especially raccoons. Off and on since I was a child (and when I'm in Kentucky) I've been raising them and then releasing them into the wild. They are brilliantly smart, affectionate, and play very rough and tumble when young. I'll play with one for twenty minutes and afterwards my arms are covered in bloody scratches. But it’s worth it every time. If you watch a raccoon eat a grape, after washing it in a bowl of water, you will be hooked on these animals for life.
Wallace is a playwright from Kentucky. Her plays—which have been produced in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States and the Middle East—include In the Heart of America, Slaughter City, One Flea Spare, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Things of Dry Hours, The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East, And I and Silence, The Hard Weather Boating Party, The Liquid Plain. Awards: Obie Award, Horton-Foote Award, MacArthur Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts development grant, and the Windham Campbell prize for drama.
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