Cast Spotlight: Kerry Neville

by stephaniejankowski on March 18, 2016

How many Listen to Your Mother cities can boast two PhD’s in their cast?! Pittsburgh: the city of bridges and brains! Today’s cast spotlight is Kerry Neville.



Kerry Neville is the author of the short fiction collection, Necessary Lies, winner of the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize.  Her writing is periodically published in The Huffington Post and on her blog, Momma May Be Mad.   She has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature, was an Assistant Professor of English at Allegheny College, and is the facilitator of Recovery Writing Workshops.  She lives in Meadville, Pennsylvania with her two children, Sophia and Alexander, and her rescue dog, HoneyBea.


Photo with Kids



Q: How did you discover LTYM?
A: A former student of mine, who is now an amazing mom, was auditioning and she sent along the information.  I am so grateful that she thought of me because I love LTYM’s mission.


Q: What is the craziest thing you remember saying to your children? OR What is the craziest thing you remember your mother saying to you?
A: I say crazy things every day, but most recently, when my kids were at each other’s throats all day long, in the house, in the car, in the grocery store.  Before I drove out of the parking lot for home, I turned around and gave them my best scary Mom look, and said, “You know, when your father and I die, all you’ll have is each other.”  Yes, I went there, but it was extremely effective for twenty minutes.


Q: What is one of your favorite things you’ve ever written? (provide a link if applicable)
A: 10 Things No One Tells You About Divorce


Q: When did you first start thinking about your mother (parents) as an individual person (people) and not just “mom” (“mom and dad”)?
A: I started thinking of my mother as a woman who had a life and ambitions beyond me, beyond making meatloaf and checking my homework, beyond teaching me to play tennis and swim in the Atlantic Ocean when she went back to school for her PhD.  She was pregnant with my brother at the time, worked full-time as a professor of nursing, but she was dedicated to moving herself forward.  When I was in high school, I would find her working on her dissertation on a Brother Word Processor late at night even though she was tired, even though she had to teach a clinical at 6:30am, even though she was not only the mother of two teenage daughters, but a four-year old son.  She is an inspiration to me.  At an age when most people might retire, she directs a nursing program at a university.  She shows me that it is never too late to want and need more and to go for it.
Editor’s note: Kerry’s mom is a bad ass.


Q: What do you wish most for your children?
A: What I wish for my kids is that they always know that irregardless of what they do or accomplish, I love them as an a priori fact.  Also, that they will be able to follow their passions and have purposeful lives.  My kids are both very creative: my daughter, Sophia, is a gifted artist and wants to be a professional animator; my son, Alexander, is a dedicated writer, and at ten, has already written a 100+ page book.  They inspire me every day and I try to nurture their dreams in whatever way I can.  That’s my job—to believe in them.


Q: What do you love most about Pittsburgh?
A: I love the Strip District.  I live in a small rural town ninety minutes north of Pittsburgh where any specialty or ethnic foods are in short supply.  At Penn Mac, I can drop seventy-five dollars on cheese alone.  And a childhood friend is the daughter of Lidia Bastianich.  I grew up eating Lidia’s and Nonna’s Scungilli Fritti and Minestra.  So I always eat at Lidia’s Pittsburgh.  And at Reyna’s Tacos and Penn Ave Fish Company.


Q: What’s your Favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh?
A: For the past few years, I’ve been running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon with a few friends.  It’s a difficult but fun course: all the hills and hills and hills, but the bands at every mile, and the crowds in all the different neighborhoods.  I love running across the bridges, feeling how the city connects across rivers under my feet.  It’s hard to take time to sightsee when you’re the one behind the wheel, but criss-crossing the rivers and streets?  I’m my own tourist pedicab.

Kerry N_HS

Photograph courtesy of Ashley Mikula Photography

As approachable as she is brilliant, Kerry’s Listen to Your Mother performance is real and heartfelt and comes from a place of loving experience. We know you’ll totally dig her. Can’t wait for you to hold her word babies on May 6th!

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