Greetings from Julie Taiwo Quarles

Hello, everybody!

My name is Julie, and I am honored and excited to introduce myself as one of the new contributors to the CultureTree blog. I am based in Los Angeles, California, where I have lived for about twenty years. I moved here for college from my hometown of Bakersfield, a mid-sized town about two hours north of LA. I am the daughter of a Nigerian father and American mother, and I am also an identical twin, as many can guess from my middle name. I am somewhat recently married, and my husband and I have a two-year-old son named Isaiah.

I like to describe myself as a playwright-professor. Playwriting is my most prominent creative outlet, a passion I stumbled upon as an undergraduate at Pepperdine University some years ago. I am inspired by the process of crafting a performance blueprint then putting up a show, working with actors who bring my words to life, a director’s keen sense of visual narrative, and the genius of designers like my husband, my favorite soundscape artist.

My plays tend to place Africa in conversation with the West, often including characters from both spaces, and they frequently aim to tackle intercultural misunderstanding. In addition to my creative writing, I am a professor at Pepperdine, where I teach English as a second language to students from around the world as well as American pop culture, composition, and creative writing. This role as a university professor engages with my interest in academic research, the area in which my current focus is casting and representation.

I am interested in who gets cast to play which roles for performance, whether live or on screen. In particular, when race and culture enter the picture, I aim to uncover who gets the opportunity to breathe life into certain characters (as performers, storytellers, etc.), who does not, and what that means and why.

As a contributor for CultureTree, I hope to share some reflections on current diaspora topics such as art and media, and a bit of my life as a first-born Yoruba twin in the States!

I look forward to joining this community.

See you soon.

Julie

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