Thursday, March 22, 2012

Women’s History Month - Week 4

Women’s History Month
Special Feature
Week 4

In honor of Women’s History Month we’ve asked authors and illustrators in our booking service to participate in our special questionnaire. Each week we will be posting different member’s responses to the three questions below. We hope you enjoy their answers as much as we did!

1. What women writers do you admire?
2. What women in history would you invite to a dinner party?
3. What advice do you have for young women today?

1.      Toni Morrison, Anita Desai, Margaret Atwood. Among those who write for children and young adults, Katherine Paterson, Jane Yolen, Marion Dane Bauer, Norma Fox Mazer, and a writer from India who has never compromised her work to pander to audiences, Shashi Deshpande. For lots of different reasons these women writers are heroes to me--for the quality of their writing, the clear eye they turn on the world, or for sheer staying power, nimble minds, or prolific work.
2.      Jane Austen, Hypatia, the Greek philosopher and mathematician, Several of the Buddhist nuns who lived and wrote poetry in India in the 6th century BC, Lili'uokalani, the last Hawaiian queen.
3.      Grow your minds as much as you honor your bodies. Pay attention to the planet. Don't forget the work your foremothers did to make you who you can be today.

1.      I admire any writer who also manages also to be a wife and a mother.
2.      Dorothy Parker, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Gertrude Stein, Wendy Cope, Fay Weldon, E. Nesbitt, Edna St. Vincent Millay. Skip that. A date with Edna St. Vincent Millay would suffice.
3.      As an old man, I have no advice for young women that wouldn't be considered (rightly) presumptuous and absurd.

1.      For "adult" writers: Alice Munro, Wislawa Szymborska, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickenson, Jane Austen and many more. I am leaving out my list of children's writers as it would be too long.
2.      Jane Austen, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jane Addams (my childhood hero), Eleanor Roosevelt, Ursula Nordstrom.
3.      Young women today are amazing so I don't think they need my advice! But I would offer: Find your passion and nurture it, treasure your connections to friends and family, hang onto your sense of humor, take risks.

1.      Three women authors leap to mind: the first, 19th century poet Emily Dickinson, whose short poems illuminated large truths with precision and grace; the second, early 20th century novelist Willa Cather, whose stories of pioneer life were as expansive as the Nebraska plains; and third, contemporary fiction writer Anne Tyler, whose finely-crafted novels communicate so beautifully the fine balance required of all relationships.
2.      I would invite writer Gertrude Stein, actress Mae West, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, artist Georgia O'Keefe, and 'salon hostess'/arts patron Mabel Dodge Luhan. Each one of these ladies expressed, in their areas of expertise, the right of women to be as creative, as professionally accomplished, as independent, as a man. The conversation around that table would sparkle with strength, courage and intellect.
3.      Follow in the footsteps of the women who came before your generation, the ones who fought for the rights women enjoy today. Through your choices and actions today, you may contribute to even greater lifestyle and work opportunities for your own daughters. Dream big.

1.      Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, Amy Sedaris, and Nora Ephron.
2.      Dorothy Parker, Lucille Ball, and Katharine Hepburn.
3.      Write funny stuff.

And as a special bonus, Kevin’s wife of 30 years contributed answers as well.
1.      Virginia Wolf, Isabel Allende, Eudora Welty
2.      Golda Mier
3.      Treat men fairly

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