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Gehrman, Jody

Gehrman, Jody

(Jody Elizabeth Gehrman)

PERSONAL: Female. Education: Attended University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Southern California, M.A. (English), M.P.W. Hobbies and other interests: Acting, singing and songwriting.

ADDRESSES: Home—CA. Agent—Dorian Karchmar, William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Playwright, novelist, and educator. Worked variously as a massage therapist, waitress, editor, publicist, and travel writer. Women's Theater Ensemble, Bellingham, WA, founder, 1998; Mendocino College, Ukiah, CA, writing teacher.

AWARDS, HONORS: New Women Playwrights Award, 1996, for Tribal Life in America; Booksense notable selection, 2005, for Tart.

WRITINGS:

Summer in the Land of Skin (novel), Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

Tart (novel), Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

Author of numerous plays, including Tribal Life in America and Stone Sisters. Former contributing editor, San Francisco Review of Books.

SIDELIGHTS: Raised in northern California, writer Jody Gehrman studied playwriting and Japanese at the University of California, Santa Cruz, then later went on to complete a master's degree in English and a master's degree in professional writing, both from the University of Southern California. She credits her childhood weekend visits to her father, who lived on a commune in Berkeley, California, with instilling in her an appreciation for a bohemian lifestyle. She has worked numerous jobs over the course of her career, including as a massage therapist, cocktail waitress, publicist, travel writer, actress, and singer/songwriter, and has lived in such varied locations as California, Texas, Washington, Canada, Spain, and Japan. Combining her love of writing with her love of acting, Gehrman founded the Women's Theater Ensemble in Bellingham, Washington, in 1998, writing and performing the one-woman show Stone Sisters. A total of nine of Gehrman's plays have since been produced across the country, and Tribal Life in America won the New Women Playwrights Award in 1996. In addition to her writing, acting, and songwriting efforts, Gehrman teaches writing at Mendocino College in Ukiah, California.

Gehrman's first novel, Summer in the Land of Skin, tells the story of Anna Medina, a twenty-five-year old woman who is attempting to reconcile herself to her father's suicide and get to know more about him by contacting his old guitar-making partner. Kristine Huntley, in a review for Booklist, remarked that "Gehrman's writing is crisp, her observations astute, and her story utterly absorbing and affecting." A contributor for Publishers Weekly also praised Gehrman's writing, commenting that the novel's "characters are confused, believable and utterly human,… one of the main reasons the book strikes so many lonely, bewildered and true notes."

In Tart, Gehrman follows the adventures of twenty-nine-year old Claudia Bloom, who is doing her best to live her life according to a set of rules she drew up many years earlier: the Tart Manifesto. Her goal is to be tart—meaning not too sweet, sharp without cutting too deeply, and caustic yet not repellent—an attitude that has a direct effect on her relationships. A contributor to RomanceReader.com stated that "Gehrman deftly weaves the central theme of how dysfunctional families have long-reaching arms into the novel's many subplots," adding that "the tart writing stimulates the taste buds, so that long after we have bitten into it we recall the initial pleasure and hunger for more." Again reviewing for Booklist, Kristine Huntley remarked that "Gehrman's enjoyable novel is as sharp and observant as the title suggests."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Summer in the Land of Skin, p. 1909; July, 2005, Huntley, review of Tart, p. 1908.

Publishers Weekly, August 2, 2004, review of Summer in the Land of Skin, p. 54.

ONLINE

AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (November 20, 2005), review of Summer in the Land of Skin.

BookLoons.com, http://www.bookloons.com/ (November 20, 2005), Shannon Bigham, review of Tart.

Jody Gehrman Home Page, http://www.jodygehrman.com (May 10, 2006).

Powells.com, http://www.powells.com/ (November 20, 2005), Jody Elizabeth Gehrman, "The Glamour Factor."

RomanceReader.com, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (November 20, 2005), review of Tart.

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