Literary Mama is a proud member of the following organizations:
The International Mothers Network
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses
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.
In 1928, Anne Morrow graduated from Smith, a women’s college in Massachusetts. With an introverted nature and a serious demeanor, Anne found great pleasure in writing. She was good at it, too. At the graduation ceremony, she was awarded the coveted Mary Augusta Jordan Prize for the most original literary piece and the Elizabeth Motagu Prize for the best essay on women of the eighteenth century. Still, she was hardly a bold personality. Two months later, when she married the most eligible bachelor of her day, the press continually misreported that Charles Lindbergh had married her older, prettier, and more outgoing sister Elizabeth. But he married the quiet Morrow, the introverted Anne.
The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley has brought together poets, prose writers and screenwriters for over 40 years. An alumni listing reads like a Who’s Who of American literature: Richard Ford, Michael Chabon, Mark Childress, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, and Jennifer Egan. The conference is a family affair. Novelist Oakley Hall was one of the founders, and his family continues to manage the conference with three generations coming together every year. Hall’s daughter, Brett Hall Jones, is the Executive Director and Brett’s sister, Sands Hall, author of Catching Heaven and Tools of the Writer's Craft, leads workshops at the conference. Writer Marianne Lonsdale spoke with Brett and Sands about their work, their lives, and the legacy of their family.