By Dewou Gloria Minza & Nicole Marie Gervasio
In their one and only podcast episode, Nicole and Gloria test their voice acting skills as a menagerie of disgruntled beasts (and their keepers) in an unnamed zoo.
During Gloria’s first Girls Write Now Live reading this spring, she discovered a creative strength that had never been tapped into before: her penchant for hilarious voice acting. In a subsequent pair session, Nicole introduced Gloria to persona poetry because they both love standing in other people’s shoes to rethink the world around us. This session evolved into a fun idea for a multimedia pair project: to meld Gloria’s newfound talent for voice acting with writing from the perspective of animals in a zoo for an audible story. The “podcast” element wasn’t necessarily intentional; it was just the only platform we knew for easily editing and mounting a lot of audio takes together!
Born from the sandy beaches of Lomé, Togo, Dewou long lived a carefree life free from the contagion of deadlines and procrastination. Now a junior in high school, she spends her days daydreaming of the sandy beaches left behind and her nights staying up late to finish assignments. When she needs a break from the stress of everyday life, she finds solace by adding books to her “to be read” list and immersing herself in fictional situations.
Nicole Marie Gervasio, Ph.D. is a Lecturer-in-Discipline of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she teaches the flagship literature course for all first-year students. To date, she is the only instructor to have won Columbia's Core Meyerson Award for Teaching Excellence in Literature Humanities twice, in addition to the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student. Until recently, she worked at PEN America, where she curated New York's largest annual international literary festival and developed community-engaged writing programs for low-wage workers and recent migrants to the US. Prior to 2019, she served as a postdoctoral fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University and received her Ph.D. in postcolonial literature and feminist theory at Columbia University, where her dissertation focused on the politics of representing state violence in contemporary literature from around the world. At present, she is finishing her first novel, a dark satire and coming-of-age tale about a young terrorist who misperceives his white male privilege and questionable sanity as the incendiary potential America needs to start a cultural revolution. She has been a mentor in the Writing Mentoring Program at Girls Write Now on and off since 2015 and also volunteers at Word Up Community Bookshop / Librería Comunitaria in Washington Heights, which she encourages everyone to visit.