Making Time: An Interview with Author Angela Belcher-Epps
by Beth Browne
Creative Nonfiction by
Angela Belcher-Epps, Colin Hickey, Frederick Fullerton, Katelyn Laird, Nancy Lammers, Robert Watts Lamon
Steve Abbott, John Amen, Joan Colby, Richard Dinges, Jr., Karen Douglass, Juan Pablo Duboue, Patrick Theron Erickson, Kathie Giorgio, Carol Hamilton, Justin Hyde, Len Krisak, Clara Link, Gary Metras, Stephen C. Middleton, Paul Nelson, Spencer Smith, Matthew J. Spireng, Kevin Sweeney, Charles Harper Webb, Marilyn Zelke-Windau, Jim Zola
Life in the Holocene Extinction by Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge by Ann Curran, Do in Dour by William Aarnes, Flicker by Mary B. Moore, Hardlines: Rough South Poetry edited by Daniel Cross Turner and William Wright, Wins and Losses by Peter Makuck, Shift by Marylen Grigas, Sure Things & Last Chances by Lou Gaglia
Terresa Haskew, Mike James, Anne Kaylor, Richard Allen Taylor, Eric Weil, Evan Williams, Lisa Zerkle.
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Issue Interviewee: Angela Belcher Epps
Angela Belcher Epps grew up in a family that bordered on communal. Although raised primarily in Brooklyn, New York, she spent a good deal of time in Plymouth, North Carolina. Because of travel between the two places and close bonds with elders, she experienced separation and loss early on. One of her earliest memories involves wailing at the station as her mother, grandmother, or aunts boarded the Trailways bus. These experiences influenced topics explored in her fiction and creative non-fiction. She delves into the unique circumstances that motivate individuals’ choices– including reactions to pain and loss, and approaches to suffering and healing.
These early dynamics continued to color Angela’s lifestyle and have trickled down to her only daughter, Vanessa, a millennial, who values and nurtures intimate intergenerational relationships. Angela and Vanessa converse often and feverishly about why people are the way they are and do the things they do.
Angela has had some trailblazing experiences along the way: She was in the first graduating class of women from the traditionally-male Brooklyn Technical High School, nationally-recognized for its competitive rigor in math and science. After college, she became the first of two women assigned as television technicians in AT&T Long Lines Communications division—providing television and radio service nationally and internationally. Thereafter, she became a grant writer within the New York City Department of Education. When she wrote, won, and implemented one of the first six U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, President Bill Clinton acknowledged the teams at the White House for developing replicable models to support underserved communities.
Through all these phases, Angela Belcher Epps continued to write. Her stories and essays have appeared in several journals, anthologies, and magazines—including When Women Awaken, moonShine review, Reflections, Essence, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Ladies Home Journal, and Pembroke Magazine. Her novella, Salt in the Sugar Bowl, was released in 2013 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. She was the recipient of a Resident Writer Award from Wildacres’ Owl’s Nest in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. She holds a B.A. degree from Hofstra University and an M.A. degree from New York University, both in English/Creative Writing.
Angela lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, Bernard. She teaches at a small, public alternative school for teens and young adults who are at multiple risk of school dropout. She is completing a collection of short stories and expanding her novella. When she isn’t writing, she gardens—rather haphazardly, with bare-handed fervor. She also cooks—slow and old-fashioned, involving strong spices and plenty of bones.