Robert Gipe began writing his recently released debut novel, Trampoline, in a graduate school creative writing class. Small sections of the novel, which included his own illustrations, were then serialized by the online literary journal Still. The serializations caught the eye of Ohio University Press, who contacted Gipe and helped him turn Trampoline into an illustrated novel in both print and digital form. Gipe teaches Appalachian Studies at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. He is also involved in running community arts programs, most notably his series of “Higher Ground” plays, which focus on oral histories and the challenges faced by the greater community. Gipe has previously been involved in Appalshop, a documentary film organization, and its related radio station, both of which have helped him garner material for Trampoline.
Bloom Audio Production Intern Julia Mahony had a chance to chat with Rob Gipe on the phone about the origins of his characters, writing in Kentucky dialect, strip-mining activism, and his lifelong love of cartoons, among other subjects.
Click the player below to listen to the interview, along with Gipe’s reading of a short excerpt from Trampoline.
Click here to read an excerpt from Trampoline.
Author photo credit: Joseph Jones
Illustrations courtesy of Robert Gipe and Ohio University Press