Spotlight on La’Chris Jordan

La’Chris Jordan was born and raised in Oakland and San Diego, California, before moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, at the age of 14. Moving “down South was an eye-opening experience” for La’Chris – and one of the most “bittersweet” moments of her life. Yet, it was her passion and love for books that got her through the tough times – all of which she credits to her mother.

“My mother is the reason why I’m a writer today. She had me reading the classics as early as 10 years old.” Early literary influences were Madeleine L’Engle, Judy Blume, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, E.B. White, and Shakespeare. La’Chris was particularly fascinated by the ancient Greek myths and legends of Hercules, Athena, Medusa, Dionysus and others. But it was Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why theCaged Birds Sing” that changed La’Chris’ life and her awareness of poetic writing. “Her writing really touched me. I couldn’t get enough of her work.”

After high school, La’Chris moved to Seattle, Washington, to attend the University of Washington where she majored in broadcast journalism. After college, she worked various administrative jobs and studied acting. In 1999, she moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates where she lived for three years, working as a journalist for a weekly magazine while acting for the Dubai Drama Group. One of her plays, “Haram/Forbidden”, is based on her time in the UAE.

When she returned to the States in 2001, she immediately began work on her first novel “The Memories of Bellevue.”Then 9/11 happened. This made her take an even closer look at Thomas and Jeyne, the book’s central characters. “I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. There were so many emotions going on in me at that time. It made me reexamine the book, and it was clear it needed to go beyond the conventions of a traditional love story.”

But theatre was calling La’Chris’ name, and she returned to acting and then playwriting. A few years later she was named one of the “50 to Watch” by the Dramatists Guild of America. La’Chris’ plays have been produced and developed in theatres across the country including Urban Stages, Robey Theatre, Karamu House, ACT Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Ashland New Play Festival, the National Black Theatre Festival, and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. In addition to numerous awards and honors, La’Chris has received artist grants from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and Artist Trust, and was a semifinalist for Juilliard’s 2013 ​Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwriting Program.

La’Chris credits her years of playwriting in making “The Memories of Bellevue” a reality. “The novel kept getting pushed aside because I was so busy doing theatre. But it ended up being the best thing because now I’m a stronger writer.”

“The Memories of Bellevue” is the first book in the Bellevue Trilogy and will be released on May 15, 2014 on

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.