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Meet the Author: 7 Questions with Annie Coggan

June 10, 2021

“I really do believe in the power of a drawing to ignite the imagination.”

Annie Coggan teaches at Pratt Institute in the School of Design. A contributing editor to A Public Space, her piece “Scrapbook Houses” is featured in No. 27. She lives in Brooklyn, New York; and Belfast, Maine.


What is a book you have started multiple times but hope to one day finish?

Emma. I know sacrilege. Might not ever finish though.

What is a book that changed your view of a subject?

The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand. This book showed me what historical thinking can do to your imagination.

What is the first section you visit in a bookstore?

Design and architecture, then sneak to garden section and cookbooks. At Left Bank Books, here in Belfast, Maine, their history section is up front so there first and then the reverse order.

If you owned a bookstore what five titles would you make sure were never out of stock?

Well, if I owed a bookstore it would be a design book store so I would have any and all books designed by Irma Boom. She has recently designed the Eileen Gray Book for Bard, the Cooper Hewitt catalogue, Hella Jongerius's books, and the famous Sheila Hicks book (which I own!). She makes brilliant artifacts and I have secret stash of ones I have collected.

If you could take a tour of any famous figure's home, whose would it be and why?

So you are basically asking for my Historic House bucket list. Leonora Carrington’s house in Mexico City (I would go there after seeing Frida Kahlo’s houses). I would also like to go to Lee Miller and Roland Penrose’s house in Sussex. Both are houses of surrealist women artists to whom I look constantly in my practice. When APS Together read The Turn of the Screw, I felt that Henry James was describing Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill House, and now I’m dying to get there. English Gothic Revival—yes, please. My next England trip I will go to Vanessa Bell’s house, Charleston. I was scheduled for a trip there pre-pandemic, so must push through to get there.

What is a pairing of a favorite book and space?

The work of Eudora Welty and her house in Jackson, Mississippi, her garden in particular, paired with Carson McCullers's A Member of the Wedding, I think is a pretty true pairing. Looking at Bath again after reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion (another APS Together event) was interesting—social choreography as city.

What is something you learned about yourself while creating The Book of Errors?

How much I love to draw ideas. I really do believe in the power of a drawing to ignite the imagination.


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