Literary Mama is a proud member of the following organizations:
The International Mothers Network
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses
Elizabeth McCracken’s new collection, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, is her first book of short stories since 1993. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is the author of a previous story collection, two novels (including The Giant’s House, which was a finalist for the National Book Award), and a memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. A former public librarian, McCracken has received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and many other organizations. McCracken is a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin, where she holds the James A. Michener Chair in Creative Writing. She is married to the novelist and illustrator Edward Carey.
Katrina Kittle is the author of four adult novels—Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, The Kindness of Strangers, and The Blessings of the Animals—as well as the young adult novel, Reasons to be Happy. In her former life, Kittle was a teacher at The Miami Valley School and Centerville High School, both located in Centerville, Ohio. She currently writes and teaches at multiple sites in the Dayton region, including Wright State University, Antioch University, and Word’s Worth Writing Center. In a conversation with profiles editor Christina Consolino, Kittle talks about her inspiration for book topics and characters, keeping creative energy alive, her mother’s influence on her writing, and how a diagnosis of breast cancer helped her find that elusive balance in life.
In the summer of 1996, I interviewed a famous Italian poet, Mirella Bentivoglio, then 74 years old. I had long admired Bentivoglio’s ability to match her creative career with tremendous amounts of critical work (mainly aimed at supporting women artists), all while a mother of three. I was curious about her strategies and about the source of her exceptional balance and strength. Most importantly, I wanted to explore the nature of her mothering choice, and I hoped that she would share her memories with me.
Jenn Crowell released her first novel, Necessary Madness, to wide critical acclaim at age eighteen. Just five years later, in 2002, she followed it with her second novel, Letting the Body Lead. Her third novel, Etched on Me, was recently released by Washington Square Press. In addition to writing, Jenn also serves as a mental health advocate: she is a survivor of sexual abuse in a psychiatric hospital setting and has advocated with health care agencies for more sensitive and safe treatment of women with mental illness. Jenn lives outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter. Writer Kristen Witucki spoke with Jenn about her choice of writing fiction, mothering while living with a mental illness, the value of teachers, and how motherhood has shaped her as a writer.
Suzanne Kamata, Literary Mama’s Fiction Co-Editor, resides and writes in Japan. She is the author of a new novel, Gadget Girl, among many other notable works, including Losing Kei, the forthcoming Screaming Divas, and anthologies focused on raising multicultural children and children with special needs. Kamata’s prolific, diverse writing has garnered many accolades, including several nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Gadget Girl was named the YA winner at the 2013 Paris Book Festival.
As we close the month that includes a celebration of Mother’s Day, we offer a profile of Andrea O’Reilly, advocate extraordinaire of mother-writers everywhere. Founder of The Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) and creator of Demeter Press, O’Reilly has facilitated dozens of conferences and publications devoted to issues of mothering and has been a visionary leader for mothers, writers, and scholars around the world. After the recent loss of a major grant for MIRCI and Demeter (due to their “narrow focus” on motherhood), O’Reilly launched a fundraising campaign, titled “Motherhood is NOT a Liability.” O’Reilly shares her story with Rachel Epp Buller, a Demeter author and Literary Mama profiles co-editor.