Addoley Dzegede is a visual artist, aspiring vagabond, and avid world traveler who grew up mostly in Deerfield Beach, Florida. She received an MFA in Visual Art from Washington University in St Louis, and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been living in St. Louis with her husband, Lyndon Barrois Jr., since 2011.
My favorite book as a child: A family friend gave me a giant book about mammals that I used to read over and over again. I was fascinated with the incredible diversity in a class of animals that could include both the duck-billed platypus and me. I used to practice drawing from photos in that book.
Worst book I ever read: It’s hard to say which is the worst book I’ve ever read because I usually can’t bring myself to finish a book if it’s completely unenjoyable or annoying. Though I must say I hated Eleven Minutes (Onze Minutos) by Paulo Coelho. Maybe something was lost in translation, but I found the writing to be overly dramatic.
Do you prefer digital or paper books: I used to be adamantly against digital books. Though I’ve loosened up over the years (especially when it comes to travel guides!), I do prefer the feel and experience of ink on paper, including the smell of used books, using a physical bookmark, and when it comes to library books, the awareness of past readers.
The book people might be surprised to learn I love: Wuthering Heights. I’m amazed by Emily Brontë’s understanding of human nature given the limited experience she had in the world, though when I first read it in high school, I also had an acute understanding of longing, heartbreak, and mental and physical cruelty.
Books that have influenced my art/music/profession: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read it right around the time I was working on Outnumbered, an artist book that brought together literature, family and national history, and census data to talk about the construction of race.
What I'm reading now: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, though I’m struggling to get through it because the story is so heartbreaking.
If you'd like to check out any of the books/authors that Dzegede mentioned in her interview, see the selection below. Many thanks to Addoley Dzegede for the interview!