Michelle Obama on Girls

"I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls." -Michelle Obama Michelle Obama is leaving the White House today. For the past eight years, she has served as first lady of our country with dignity and thoughtfulness. One of her main focuses has been on … Continue reading Michelle Obama on Girls

Mother's Day Writers

Happy Mother’s Day, Authors

Happy Mother’s Day, Authors All writers are mothers. Our story germinates in the womb of our imaginations. It starts as a tug and a pull of invisible words and actions and visions that tear us away from what we should be doing and turn us inward. The premise sucks from our life stream to grow … Continue reading Happy Mother’s Day, Authors

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Feminism as Baggage

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 … Continue reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Feminism as Baggage

Harriet Tubman on Slavery is the Next Thing to Hell

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was recognized as a hero in her own day. An escaped slave, she repeatedly went back to the south and led other slaves to freedom, saving thousands. Outspoken and fearless, she was a passionate and influential speaker in both the abolitionist movement and in the fight for women's rights. It is very … Continue reading Harriet Tubman on Slavery is the Next Thing to Hell

Maria Montessori on the Absorbent Mind

“I did not invent a method of education, I simply gave some little children a chance to live.”  Maria Montessori Born in 1870 in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy, Maria Montessori refused to follow the expected path for girls of her time. Defying the prejudice of the time, Montessori became the first woman to attend … Continue reading Maria Montessori on the Absorbent Mind

Susan Weidener: A Christmas Wish for Every Writer

"My Christmas wish for every writer: Give each other the gift of one nod or word of encouragement . . .  find someone who believes  . . . even if that person is you."   Susan G. Weidener Former Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Susan G. Weidener runs the Women's Writing Circle. She is the author of … Continue reading Susan Weidener: A Christmas Wish for Every 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, … Continue reading Sherley Anne Williams on A Careless Hug

Ann Patchett on Playing the Piano

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 in … Continue reading Ann Patchett on Playing the Piano

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 … Continue reading Beryl Markham on Flying

Augusta Evans Wilson on Facing Sin

Born in 1835 in Columbia, Georgia, Augusta Evans Wilson was the first American woman author to earn over $100,000 until Edith Wharton did so in the 1920s.  She wrote the first of nine novels, Inez: A Story of the Alamo, at the age of fifteen, and her second novel, Beulah, written at eighteen, sold 22,000 copies … Continue reading Augusta Evans Wilson on Facing Sin

Faye Kellerman on Cranky Because of PMS

Faye Kellerman is a best-selling writer of novels of mystery and suspense. Born in 1952 she has written over thirty novels. Trained as a mathematician and a dentist she choose instead to write, propelled she says, by "a desire for justice, a suspicious nature, an overactive imagination, and, of course, a penchant for the bizarre. " Her … Continue reading Faye Kellerman on Cranky Because of PMS

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 … Continue reading Frances Burney on What If Nobody Were Female

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 … Continue reading Maya Angelou on Being Aware of Being Aware

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, … Continue reading Caroline Lee Hentz on a Child’s Yearning

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 … Continue reading Anne Lamott on the Down Draft

Adah Issacs Menken on Working and Waiting

"Good women are rarely clever, and clever women are rarely good." Ada Issacs Menken Adah Issacs Menken (1835 to 1869) was a Civil War era actress, sex symbol, and pin-up girl.  She was also a dedicated writer publishing 20 essays, 100 poems, and many newspaper articles. Menken may have been born Adelaide McCord in Chartrain … Continue reading Adah Issacs Menken on Working and Waiting

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 … Continue reading Annie Dillard on the Written Word

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 … Continue reading Katherine Mansfield on Having Her Moment

Phillippa Yaa De Villiers on If Love Were Bread

"...writing is so much more than words on a page. Writing contains their [the writer's]concerns, their social context, and their history." Phillippa Yaa De Villiers An actress, a screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and poet Phillippa Yaa De Villiers grew up in South Africa. The daughter of an Australian woman and an Ghanian father  who was adopted by a white … Continue reading Phillippa Yaa De Villiers on If Love Were Bread

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 … Continue reading Willa Cather on the Essence of Writing