Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
From the Editor: November/December 2019

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Debby Hudson

Photo by Debby Hudson. See more of Debby's work at

Here at Literary Mama, we pride ourselves on providing a home for the work of new and emerging writers. Many on our staff, myself included, had our first publication in these pages, and it fills our hearts with joy when we get a shout-out from an established writer thanking us for printing her early work. We know we're fulfilling our mission when we work with a first-time author to bring an essay or story to publication and when that author goes on to find success in the writing world.

We're overjoyed to share in the successes of three members of the Literary Mama community this issue. In the Reviews and Profiles departments, we explore recent book publications by former columnist Nicole Stellon O'Donnell and former editor Camille-Yvette Welsch. We are also delighted to share as an extra-special feature in Creative Nonfiction an excerpt from founding editor Andrea J. Buchanan's recent book, The Beginning of Everything, as well as an interview with Buchanan in Profiles.

Speaking of Literary Mama success stories, five of our current staff members have had books published in the last year. Poetry editorial assistant Allison Blevins published three poetry chapbooks, A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press), Letters to Joan (Lithic Press), and Susurration (Blue Lyra Press). Publisher Amanda Fields co-edited the essay collection My Caesarean: Twenty-One Mothers on the C-Section Experience and After, which was published by The Experiment in May. Senior Editor and Literary Reflections Editor Libby Maxey's first poetry chapbook, Kairos, winner of the 2018 New Women’s Voices prize, was released by Finishing Line Press in June. Colleen Kearney Rich's short story chapbook, Things You Won't Tell Your Therapist, was published by Finishing Line Press in January. Finally, Profiles editor Jamie Sumner had her debut middle grade novel, Roll With It, published in October, and it was named one of Amazon's best children's books of 2019 in the ages 9 to 12 category.

We couldn't be more proud of our writers and our staff, past and present, and we are eternally grateful to you, our readers, for coming back to enjoy the beautiful, complex, and entertaining writing about motherhood that we bring you in every issue. Please consider making a donation to help Literary Mama continue to bring the words of mother writers—both established and emerging—into the world.


Senior Editor 

P.S. Stay connected between issues by exploring our archives to discover more mothers' voices and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


In this month's issue:


Creative Nonfiction

The Accident by Andrea J. Buchanan

Silk and Stone by Louise Lynch

Cabin Fever by Marie O'Shea



Mama's Little Helper by LaToya Jordan

Powder Blue by Molly Kelash

Busy Being Born by Lynn Knight


Literary Reflections

The Last Bedtime Story by Ruth Dawkins

Haunted: The Gothic Motherhoods of Shirley Jackson and Diane Arbus by Eileen McGinnis

Writing from a Pile of Shoes: Chronic Illness, Kids, and Creation by Kathryn Trueblood

Essential Reading: Crime by Nerys Copelovitz



She Boards the Mothership by Raylyn Clacher

Soloing at Caley by Viv Ring

At Home (with young children) by Anne Saltzman Kurweg

Mama's Turn by Tara Mandarano

Birthday by Meghan Sterling

Putting a Crying Baby to Sleep by January Pearson



A Conversation with Camille-Yvette Welsch by Christina Consolino

A Conversation with Nicole Stellon ODonnell by Rhonda Havig

A Conversation with Andrea Buchanan by Amanda Jaros

A Conversation with Rebecca Hart Olander by Libby Maxey



A Review of The Four Ugliest Children in Christendom by Marjorie Maddox

A Review of You are No Longer in Trouble by Rhonda Havig


Images by Maddy Baker, Rene Böhmer, Anastasia Dulgier, Laura Fuhrman, Debby Hudson, Danielle MacInnes, Annie Spratt, and Kristina Tripkovic

Andrea Lani writes about the nexus of motherhood and the natural world. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Maine Review, SaltFront, and Brain, Child Magazine, among other publications. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program, a senior editor for Literary Mama, and a Maine Master Naturalist. She lives in central Maine with her husband and three sons.

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