AWP Week February 28March 4
The annual Associated Writing Programs ( AWP ) conference will be taking place in Chicago this year. During this week, writers, publishers, editors, and academics will descend on Chicago to participate in hundreds of readings, panel discussions, and other literary events. In celebration of AWP, Women & Children First will host back-to-back readings featuring conference participants.
Tuesday, February 28, 7:30 p.m.
Margot Livesey: The Flight of Gemma Hardy
In her new novel, acclaimed writer Margot Livesey reimagines the story of Jane Eyre. Set in remote Scotland in the mid-twentieth century, The Flight of Gemma Hardy traces the misfortunes and misadventures of a strong-willed orphan girl who finally comes into her own. Livesey, author of six previous novels, including the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Awardwinning The House on Fortune Street, is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
"The fabulous Margot Livesey has written a book steeped in remote landscapes, secret histories, and great love. Orphan Gemma is a modern-day Jane Eyre, thoroughly engaging and bracingly unsentimental. The prose is meticulous, the tale transporting. Trust me, you will love this book."
Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
Wednesday, February 29, 7:00 p.m.
AWP Women's Caucus Poetry Reading
Featuring Martha Collins, Cynthia Hogue, Kathryn Kysar, Lois Roma-Deeley, Patricia Smith, and Keli Stewart
At tonight's event, poets from the AWP Women's Caucus will read from their work. Kathryn Kysar is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and editor of Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. Patricia Smith is author of six poetry volumes, including Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. Her latest book, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, debuts at AWP. Also author of six volumes of poetry, most recently, White Papers, and a book-length poem, Blue Font, Martha Collins has also published two collections of co-translated Vietnamese poetry. Cynthia Hogue has published seven volumes of poetry, most recently Or Consequence and When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina ( co-authored with photographer Rebecca Ross ) , both published in 2010. Lois Roma-Deeley's most recent book of poetry is High Notes, which was a finalist for the 2011 Paterson Poetry Prize. Keli Stewart's stories, plays, and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous literary journals. In 2010, she was awarded the first-place Gwendolyn Brooks poetry award . She has recently completed her debut poetry collection.
Thursday, March 1, 7:30 p.m.
Claire Bidwell Smith: The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir, Hudson Street Press
As a 14-year-old only child, Claire Bidwell Smith was hurtled toward loss when both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. Defying a conventional framework, The Rules of Inheritance is told in a non-linear fashion, using the five stages of grief as a window into Claire's experience. The result is a powerful, honest, and completely engaging journey, both eloquent and raw.
Friday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.
Engine Book Authors, Myfanwy Collins, Echolocation: A Novel, Patricia Henley, Other Heartbreaks: Stories
Patricia Henley's first novel, Hummingbird House, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1999, and her subsequent novel, In the River Sweet, was a BookSense pick and named one of the best books of 2002 by the Chicago Tribune. In her new collection of elegant, moving stories, Henley explores the many bonds and betrayals among women: mothers, daughters, lovers, and friends. Myfanwy Collins was born in Montreal but currently calls Boston home. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, AGNI, Cream City Review, and others. Her debut novel, Echolocations, will debut at AWP. A collection of short stories, I am Holding Your Hand, is forthcoming from PANK Little Books.
Sunday, March 4, 4:30 p.m.
Eleanor Henderson: Ten Thousand Saints, Ecco Press; Shannon Cain, The Necessity of Certain Behaviors
University of Pittsburgh Press
Eleanor Henderson's Ten Thousand Saints garnered tremendous praise in hardcover it was named a Top 10 Book of 2011 by theNew York Review of Books, a Notable Book of 2011 by the New York Times, and a Top 5 in Fiction by O Magazine. A remarkably accomplished novel that infiltrates underground culture in the late 1980s, it is also a rich cross-generational story that probes the gnarled relationships between a collection of rudderless teenagers and their equally adrift parents. Shannon Cain is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and an O. Henry Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Of her new story collection, The Necessity of Certain Behaviors, Publishers Weekly says, "Cain's debut collection of nine short stories adroitly navigates the tenuous waters of human relationships. Her quietly august characters struggle to come to terms with the unpredictable nuances of tradition, sexuality, and happiness."
Monday, March 5, 10:00 11:30 a.m.
A Conversation with the Chicago Teacher's Union Women's Rights Committee
This informal program is for teachers, families, and anyone else interested in public education to learn more about CTU and women's rights and the role of women in CTU's history. There will be a brief presentation by a member of CTU and plenty of time for Q&A. Children are welcome and there will be a story time for children ages 2-10. Refreshments will be served and there will be a special discount on books.
Carol Anshaw, Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m.
Carry the One, Simon & Schuster, Swedish American Museum Center, 5211 N. Clark St.
Join us as we celebrate the much-anticipated new release by one of our all-time favorite authors. Extending her already-proven gifts as a writer with a new breadth of vision, in her new novel, Carry the One, Carol Anshaw ( Aquamarine, Lucky in the Corner ) tells an emotionally fearless story spanning a quarter century but hinging on a single tragic moment. In a starred review, Booklist raved, " ( Anshaw's ) most compelling book yet, a wholly seductive tale of siblings, addiction, conviction, and genius." Refreshments will be served.
Wednesday, March 7, 7:30 p.m.
Jan Lisa Huttner: Penny's Picks: 50 Movies by Women Filmmakers 2002-2011, FF2 Media
Because most professional movie critics are men, are moviegoers getting the full story about what films are being made and shown? And is the creative output of women who make movies, and the myriad life experiences that these films explore, being marginalized in the process? Writing under the blog name, "Penny," Chicago film critic Jan Lisa Huttner has reviewed hundreds of movies by women filmmakers. In Penny's Picks, she puts the spotlight on fifty movies released during the past decade, demonstrating the wide range of creative vision of contemporary female filmmakers.
Thursday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.
Renée E. D'Aoust, Body of a Dancer, Etruscan Press
Told through interlocking essays, Renée E. D'Aoust's memoir explores the brutal and passionate world of modern dance in New York City. As a student of Martha Graham Dance, the author tells of muscle and desire, day jobs and defeat [ . Dance history is interwoven with the stories of contemporary dancers as she explores the ties that bind her. D'Aoust's essays were listed as notable essays in the Best American Essays collections of 2006, 2007, and 2009.
Friday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.
Eugene Cross: Fires of Our Choosing, Dzanc Books
A boy acts out the death of his father and abandonment by his brother through a savage playground beating; a young man confronts his own troubled history when asked to hire his girlfriend's strung-out brother; and a babysitter works through a scorching hot summer afternoon that will prove to alter her life forever. Praised by Jill McCorkle, who calls Eugene Cross "a wise and wonderful talent," and Dan Chaon, who called Fires of our Choosing "a memorable, beautiful, heartbreaking book," Cross's debut story collection is filled with dark humor and deep insight into the human condition. Cross is adjunct faculty in the Fiction Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago.
Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.
Jeanette Winterson: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Grove Atlantic
Swedish American Museum Center, 5211 N. Clark St.. Book purchase required
In her remarkable memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, acclaimed writer Jeanette Winterson ( The Passion,Lighthousekeeping ) delivers a shocking, heartbreaking, and often funny look back at a lifelong search for happiness in all its guises. It is the true story behind her breakthrough debut novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, exploring her life as a writer, lover, and daughter. This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free with the purchase of the new book. To order a copy of the book and reserve your place, call us at 773-769-9299 or stop by the store. This event is likely to sell out, so act soon.
Wednesday, March 14, 7:30
Editor Miryam Kabakov and contributors Goldie Goldbloom and Elaine Chapnik: Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires, North Atlantic Books
Reconciling queerness with religion has always been a challenge. When the religion is Orthodox Judaism, the task is even more daunting. In her groundbreaking anthology, editor Miryam Kabakov gives voice to genderqueer Jewish women who were once rendered invisible by their faith. For tonight's event, Kabakov will be joined by local contributors Goldie Goldbloom and Elaine Chapnik.
Thursday, March 15, 7:30 p.m.
Rod Stryker: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom
ParaYoga founder Rod Stryker is one of the country's leading yoga and meditation teachers. For more than three decades, he has taught yoga in the context of its deepest philosophy, making it relevant and accessible to students of all levels. In The Four Desires, he distills those teachings into a roadmap for achieving lasting fulfillment and becoming the person you were meant to beeven if you've never done a yoga pose.
Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.
Mary Romero: The Maid's Desire: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream, New York University Press
In her revealing new book, sociologist Mary Romero follows the life of Olivia, the daughter of a domestic worker for an affluent family. Olivia lives with her mother in the "maid's room" but is raised alongside the family's children. The result is a complex story about belonging, identity, and resistance, illustrating Olivia's challenge to establish her sense of identity and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion in her life. Through Olivia's story, Romero shows how the mythologies of meritocracy, the land of opportunity, and the American dream remain firmly in place while simultaneously obscuring injustices and the struggles of the working poor.
"A moving work that deconstructs the American dream at the fraught intersection of race, class, and gender." Kirkus Reviews
Saturday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.
Sappho's Salon Emerging Writers Showcase featuring Liz Baudler, M. Shelly Conner, Ames Hawkins, and Allison Wolcott, $7-$10 sliding admission includes food and wine
Tonight's installment of our popular salon night for lesbians and their friends presents four talented emerging literary voices. Liz Baudler is a fiction writing major at Columbia College Chicago whose work has appeared in Toasted Cheese and Half Nelson and is forthcoming in Feathertale and the Story Week Reader. Once a month you can also find her and her pal Dan taking your hard-earned money at the door of Sappho's Salon. M. Shelly Conner is a Ph.D. candidate and instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently completing her first novel. Her comedic stage sketches have been produced by the Second City Training Center and the Black Ensemble Theater. She recently completed a musical stage play, Jump at de Sun, based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston. Ames Hawkins is an associate professor in the English department of Columbia College Chicago. Her most recent work has been published in Water~Stone Review, Off the Rocks, and Q Review. Hawkins has engaged in drag/queer/story performance in Chicago with Genderfusions, Northern Lights, and Second Story. Allison Wolcott started writing seriously after giving up a ballet career to injury and sloth. Originally from the East Coast, she earned an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where she was a Walton Fellow. Her short fiction has appeared in The Beloit Fiction Journal, Shenandoah, The Jabberwock Review, and The Hogtown Creek Review. Door proceeds benefit the artists and the Women's Voices Fund.
Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.
Barbara Froman: Shadows and Ghosts Serving House Books
Froman's debut novel tells the story of Ida Mae Glick, a critically acclaimed filmmaker who suffers a near-fatal heart attack when she tries to live on the same meager rations as a group of homeless people she is filming. Confined to her hospital bed, she confronts a past of substance abuse and failed love affairs, along with an angry, estranged identical twin and the ghostly Jewish mother who wants to see the twins reconciled, in a tale that doubles as an homage to artistic passion and the redemptive power of cinema.
Thursday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.
Anne Laughlin, Runaway, Bold Strokes Books, Special Guest Kathie Bergquist
With her life as a private investigator in Chicago firmly established, Jan Roberts can often forget where she came froma backwoods survivalist camp run by her paranoid, dictatorial father. After risking her life at sixteen to escape the camp, she finds it hard to understand the runaway teenager she's been hired to find. She pursues the girl into the deep woods of Idaho, in a journey that becomes a personal heart of darkness, where her past can no longer be contained. Laughlin is the author of the Goldie Awardwinning mystery Veritas and is a 2008 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow. Joining her will be writer ( and Women & Children First publicist ) Kathie Bergquist, a sister 2008 Lambda fellow and adjunct faculty in the Fiction Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago.
Sunday, April 1, 4:30 p.m.
Tupelo Hassman: Girlchild, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Fierce and darkly funny, Girlchild tells the story of Rory Dawn Hendrix, the least likely of Girl Scouts, a smart survivor growing up in a Reno trailer park filled with lively and destructive fellow residents. Told in brief, hard-hitting chapters formed around various documents, including notes from the Welfare Department, newspaper clippings, personal letters, report cards, and a Supreme Court case summary,Girlchild is an indelible coming-of-age story praised by Publishers Weekly ( in a starred review ) for its "powerful writing and unflinching clarity."
"This amazing debut spills over with love but is still absolutely unflinching and real. That is no easy combo to pull off, and Tupelo Hassman does it repeatedly with precision and grace." Aimee Bender
Mark Your Calendars:
Tuesday, May 16
Are You My Mother?