Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumbgardner Reading at Powell’s Books in Portland

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Wed., October 8, 7:30pm--PORTLAND, OR--Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside
*Amy Richards, author of Opting In: Having a Child without Losing Yourself and Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Abortion & Life.
*Cosponsored by Literary Mama and Bitch Magazine.

In 2004, Jennifer Baumgardner created the "I Had an Abortion" campaign to encourage women (and men) to "come out" about their procedures, culminating in the award-winning documentary of the same name. Her experience with the campaign acts as the centerpiece of ABORTION & LIFE, a balanced and at times controversial study of the history of abortion rights activism and suppression in the United States. The book shares with the film a determination to openly discuss issues typically glossed over by the abortion rights movement (the role of men, multiple abortions, being pro-life, late-term abortions) and includes elucidating testimonials by a variety of women and men--speaking from a variety of perspectives--including Ani DiFranco, Barbara Ehrenreich and Gloria Steinem. The testimonials are accompanied by stunning portraits from photographer Tara Todras Whitehill. ABORTION & LIFE concludes with an indispensable resource guide serving all aspects of abortion.

In OPTING IN, Amy Richards addresses the anxiety over parenting that women face today, drawing on memoir, interviews, historical analysis, and feminist insight. Speaking from the vantage point of someone who is both a parent and one of our leading feminist activists, Richards cuts through the cacophony of voices intent on telling women the "appropriate" way to be a mother, and reveals instead how to confidently forge your own path while staying true to yourself and your ideals.

Together, these two books cover the gamut of issues related to a woman's personal decisions surrounding pregnancy, abortion, and parenting--and illuminate the degree to which society so often attempts to co-opt her decisions at every juncture. Attendees to this reading are certain to leave with a refreshed perspective on a feminist's relationship to her fertility in a culture that burdens the act of conception with its own biases and demands.

Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards are the cofounders of Soapbox, Inc., a feminist speakers' bureau representing outspoken authors and activists. In October 2000, their first cowritten book about the state of the women's movement, Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (FSG), was published. Following a national speaking tour, they coauthored a second book, Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism (FSG, 2005).

Shari MacDonald Strong is the editor of The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change and wrote the column Zen and the Art of Child Maintenance. Her essay, “On Wanting a Girl,” appears in the anthology, It’s a Girl, and she has been published in a number of publications, including Geez magazine. Shari worked as an editor and copywriter in the publishing industry for 15 years. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, photojournalist Craig Strong, and their children: grade-schooler Eugenia, born in Russia, and preschool sons Will and Mac, born via gestational surrogacy.

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