Pauline Dempers on Nama Skin is Proud

Pauline Dempers Peace Activist Nambia

The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice is the sponsor of The Peace Writer project which documents the lives and stories of woman working for peace all over the world. Women are paired with professional writers and videographers and enabled to tell their stories. The following excerpt is the story of Pauline Dempers …

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Feminism as Baggage

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Women Words Wisdom

I think of myself as a storyteller, but I would not mind at all if someone were to think of me as a feminist writer... I'm very feminist in the way I look at the world, and that world view must somehow be part of my work." Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian born writer …

Sherley Anne Williams on A Careless Hug

  Sherley Anne Williams (American, 1944-1999) was a multi-talented writer who sought to bring the black experience to literature. Born into a poor family that lived by picking cotton and fruit, she became the first African American literature professor at the University of California, San Diego. She is known for her works of literary criticism, children's books, …

Ann Patchett on Playing the Piano

Ann Patchett

  What would you do if you were named one of Time's 100 most influential people?  For Ann Patchett the choice is to keep writing and run a bookstore - Parnassos Books in Nashville, Tennessee. "I'm never lonely around books," she has said about bookstores. "It's the world of endless possibility and opportunity to be …

Beryl Markham on Flying

What if you wrote a book, and then people said you didn't write it, and then people said you did, and then people said it doesn't really matter anyway. Meet Beryl Markham (1902-1986). Beryl Markham grew up on her father's horse farm in Kenya. She became the first licensed woman horse trainer in Kenya and …

Frances Burney on What If Nobody Were Female

At the age of fifteen Frances Burney (17752-1840), despite the tears of her younger sister, tossed the plays, poems and first novel she had written on to a bonfire. Why? She was consumed with guilt. In 1767 women were not supposed to spend their time writing anything but private letters. Better they perform useful household …

Maya Angelou on Being Aware of Being Aware

  "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Maya Angelou Maya Angelou passed away on May 28th. A teacher, writer, poet, activist, and dancer she is best known for her series of autobiographical works detailing what life …

Caroline Lee Hentz on a Child’s Yearning

Caroline Lee Hentz (1800-1856), one of America's most popular writers in the 1850s, sold over 93,000 copies of her more than fifteen novels and a multitude of short stories and poems. The Boston Library named her one of the top three writers of her day. Born in Massachusetts, she married a dashing French artist, writer, …

Anne Lamott on the Down Draft

"Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can't--and, in fact, you're not supposed to--know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it's finished developing. First you just point at what has your attention and take the picture. " Anne Lamont   Bestselling author, Anne Lamont, has …

Annie Dillard on the Written Word

"[If] you want to live, you have to die;"  Annie Dillard American author Annie Dillard has been called a mystic, a visionary, a naturalist and a modern Thoreau.  Her writing is  characterized as literary collage of the lyrical, the metaphoric and the richly descriptive. She has written over eleven books including poetry, novels, essays, memoirs, and books on …

Katherine Mansfield on Having Her Moment

Risk, risk, everything. Katherine Mansfield Katherine Mansfield is best known for her short fiction. Born in 1888 in New Zealand, she died young at age 34. During her short life she wrote several volumes of short stories and critical literary essays. A free-spirited Bohemian, her personality as well as her writing, influenced the major writers …

Willa Cather on the Essence of Writing

“I had left even their spirits behind me. The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not where. … Between that earth and sky I felt erased, blotted out.” Willa Cather "My Antonia" Although Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in Virginia, she was a child of the prairies. Her parents moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska …

Sonia Nieto on Culture as Transmutation

My identity is always changing everyday. The person who I was when I was a child is different from the person I was as a young adult and the person who I am now. And those shifting identities have to do with your own individual experiences and the sociopolitical context in which you live. Sonia …

Ning Lao T’ai-t’ai on the Life of a Beggar

In the 1930s Ida Pruitt, an American living in Peking, recorded the oral life history of Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai, the elderly mother of a man working for her husband. Ning lived in the city of Penglai in Shedong Province of China in second half of the 1800s and the early 1900s. Married to a man who was an opium …

Rosa Parks on Being a Regular Person

The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.   Rosa Parks Christened "The First Lady of Civil Rights" Rosa Parks made history on a February day in 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Because this was against the segregation laws of Alabama, Rosa Parks was …

Pearl S. Buck on Making Meaning Out of Meaningless

If the American way of life fails the child, it fails us more. Pearl S. Buck (1982-1973) spent all her childhood and a good part of her adult life living in China. Most of her over thirty novels are based on this experience and were instrumental in shaping American views of life in China.  In 1938 …

Julia Cameron on the Language of Art

If you do anything in the arts, then you most probably have heard of Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way. Written in 1992, her book about inspiring personal creativity and empowering the artist within has become a mainstay of artists, writers, and others engaged in artistic pursuits as it continues to grow in popularity. The Artist's …

Isabel Allende on the End of Childhood

Did you once believe in Santa Claus? When you were a child were fairies and dragons and ghosts real? There is something special about the world of young children and their ability to simply believe. In the following excerpt from The House of Spirits, Chilean author Isabel Allende takes us into that magical time. Clara's …

Helen Keller on I Hesitate to Write

"I am only one, but still I am one." I cannot do everything, but I can still do something;  and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do." Helen Keller Perhaps you have seen the movie The Miracle Worker. Perhaps as a child you read a book about the …