Andrea Scrima was born in New York City and studied fine arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Germany, where she lives and works as an artist, writer, and translator. Scrima’s first book, A Lesser Day, was published in a second edition in 2018 by Spuyten Duyvil Press to coincide with the German edition, published by Literaturverlag Droschl in Graz, Austria. Excerpts from an ongoing blog titled all about love, nearly are included in Wreckage of Reason II: Back to the Drawing Board (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014) and the forthcoming anthology Strange Attractors (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019; edited by Edie Meidav). Scrima is currently completing a second novel, titled Like Lips, Like Skins. An earlier version of this novel was awarded Second Prize in the Glimmer Train Fall 2010 Fiction Open.
Scrima was the recipient of a literature fellowship from the Berlin Council on Science, Research, and the Arts in Berlin, Germany (Senatsverwaltung für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur, 2004) and won a 2007 National Hackney Literary Award for Sisters, a short story from an ongoing collection. In the spring of 2011 she took part in a writing fellowship at the Ledig House / Art Omi residency program in Ghent, New York. Her literary criticism appears regularly in The Brooklyn Rail, Music & Literature, and The Quarterly Conversation (recent essays on Don DeLillo, Lydia Davis, and László Krasznahorkai). She is a contributing editor to the online literary magazine Statorec.
Prior to her decision to focus on literature, Scrima worked as a professional artist for many years, incorporating short fiction pieces into large-scale text installations. She has received numerous awards for her artistic work, including a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1989/1990) and the Lingen Art Prize (Kunstverein Lingen, Germany; 1996) and has been represented in exhibitions at Franklin Furnace in New York, the Contemporary Art Center in Moscow, Kunst Haus in Dresden, the Museum für Neue Kunst in Freiburg, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, and many other institutions and commercial galleries internationally.
An excerpt from A Lesser Day can be read on Scrima’s website, and in-depth interviews were featured in Music & Literature, The Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and The Brooklyn Rail. The excerpt below is taken from Scrima’s novel, A Lesser Day. The article we discussed in this interview is titled The Problem with Patriotism: A Critical Look at Collective Identity in the U.S. and Germany. Scrima is currently reading Esther Kinsky’s River; Agota Kristof’s The Notebook; and Ally Klein’s Carter.
We spoke to Andrea Scrima for Praxis Interview Magazine in 2016 about her novel-in-progress Like Lips, Like Skins.
My mind snapped shut like a box. I turn, perplexed: but wasn’t something there a moment ago? Waiting, waiting, looking on as though at a mute child, hoping to pry out a word, or a smile: patience is the essence. The child stands dumbly before me, and I kneel down with a friendly mien. What was that just now, what do you have in your hand, I ask gently. The child’s eyelashes veil its downcast eyes. I saw you putting something in your pocket a moment ago, wouldn’t you like to show me what you have in your pocket? But the child stares at its toes, suspended in a glistening bubble of impunity. Say something, I blurt out, growing agitated, and the child raises a grimy fist to brush the hair out of its eyes, gazing at me in sullen apathy. I hear the sharp edge in my voice, I know this tactic will lead me nowhere, yet I’m vexed, I want to drill the child with questions: what are you hiding, what have you stolen? And hardly an answer, a feeble shrug, and I, growing desperate, give it back, give it back, feeling the hand itching to slap the face of this stupid, torpid mind: will you come to your senses, will you give me back what’s mine?