National Reading Group Month

 

Blanche Wiesen Cook (historian and notably the author of the 3-volume Eleanor Roosevelt biography) and Clare Coss (playwright, librettist for Emmett Till, the Opera) highlighted WNBA-NOLA’s National Reading Group Month event on November 3.  The authors spoke on the many forms and aspects of biography at Xavier University Library.

                    

                                    

President’s Report on two memorable events

October 7, 2018

Dear all,

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks of great WNBA-NOLA programming!  A belated thank you to all who attended our very successful Banned Books Week event at my house last Saturday, September 29.  Despite the rain, we had a good turnout, enjoyed great food catered by Chez Nous, and connected with new and old friends at this, our first meeting of the year.  I was thrilled to see some new members and first-time guests.  Equally important is that we all shared some very special moments.  The highlight of the evening was sitting around the living room reading aloud passages from favorite books that have been banned through history.  But it was guest of honor and incomparable interviewer Gwen Thompkins who turned the conversation through and past the books and authors at hand and into unexpected territories to discuss our personal experiences reading banned books and whether we had ever wished a book were banned.  The result was a very intense, engaging and often hilarious discussion that I won’t soon forget.  It was one more example of why I love being a part of this extraordinary group of accomplished women.  As if that weren’t enough, we had a lot of fun with a silent auction that included a pair of banned book socks (yes, socks) and even a personal voicemail message recorded by Gwen with her inimitable voice, in addition to many other fantastic items.  We even raised a bit of funds for WNBA-NOLA programming in the process!  Many thanks to all who helped with set up and clean-up, to the generous donors who provided such great items for the auction, and to Pam Ebel and Serena Jones for donating champagne and prosecco which were thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated—and consumed.  I have only one regret from that evening:  I would have wished that every single member of WNBA-NOLA had been there to share in this truly memorable night.  It was truly special.  We missed you.

Then last night, we held the Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction award ceremony at The George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center.  This year, author Ellen Hart was awarded the prize for Distinguished Body of Work, and Marcie Rendon won for best Debut Novel.  Jean Redmann presented the prize to Ellen Hart, emphasizing the political importance of her work in paving the way for recognition of LGBTQ writers within mainstream publishing and by broader audiences.  Ellen Hart was not able to attend in person, but she spoke eloquently via Skype of her trajectory as a writer as well as her appreciation for this recognition.  Alison Fensterstock presented the award to Marcie Rendon and led a lively conversation with the author and the audience on matters that ranged from readers’ perceptions of her characters to her experiences as a Native American writer focusing on indigenous communities in the United States.  The program was bittersweet.  We not only celebrated the joys of writing with the two authors, but also paid tribute to the work of the late Sue Grafton, as commemorated by John Pope.  We were also honored to have with us the benefactors of the Pinckley Prizes, Anne and Bill Newton, who flew in from Atlanta as they do every year.  Anne had fond words for her lifelong friend, Diana Pinckley, and announced that she and Bill would endow the Pinckley Prizes.  This is a most generous gesture ensuring that the legacy of Diana Pinckley will live on in the form of these prestigious national awards for decades to come.  There was not a dry eye in the room.  Another special evening via WNBA-NOLA, this time spearheaded by Susan Larson.  Another testament to the collaborative and creative spirit that is our organization.

Nina Calvo, President

WNBA-NOLA

2018 Pinckley Prize Winners Celebrated!

Ellen Hart and Marcie Rendon received the 2018 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction on October 6 at The George and Joyce Wein New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Center in New Orleans.  The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.  http://pinckleyprizes.org/

 

Annual Chapter Recruitment Social and Silent Auction Fundraiser

Putting the Banned Back Together: Celebrating National Banned Book Week

Nearly 30 chapter members and friends joined together at our annual Chapter Recruitment Social and Silent Auction. The gathering was titled Putting the Banned Back Together in honor of Banned Books Week and was held on the last day of that week, Saturday, September 29, from 6 to 9 PM.  Our guest of honor was nationally acclaimed New Orleans journalist and host of WWNO’s Music Inside Out, Gwen Thompkins.

                                                                                                                                            

Arts & Letters Series Features WNBA-NOLA Members

         

Author and Literary Scholar Anne Boyd Rioux in Conversation with The Reading Life’s Susan Larson at the New Orleans Museum of Art on September 14.  They discussed Anne’s new book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters. The event was sponsored by the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.

2018 Pinckley Prize Winners Announced

Ellen Hart and Marcie Rendon are the recipients of the 2018 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley. The prizes will be presented October 6, 2018 at The George and Joyce Wein New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart St., New Orleans. The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.  http://pinckleyprizes.org/

Ellen HartEllen Hart is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. Hart is the author of 32 novels in two series, one begun in 1989 and featuring Jane Lawless, a lesbian restaurateur and her best friend, Cordelia Thorne. She is also the author of the Sophie Greenway series. Hart’s novels deal with LGBT issues and have received six prestigious Lambda Literary Awards. In 2017, she was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, its highest honor; she is the first LGBT writer to achieve this recognition. Hart lives in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Marcie RendonMinneapolis resident Marcie Rendon wins the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her book Murder on the Red River, published by Cinco Puntos Press. An enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, Rendon is a playwright, poet, and freelance writer. She has published four nonfiction children’s books; two are Pow Wow Summer and Farmer’s Market: Families Working Together. Rendon is a community arts activist who supports other native artists/writers/creators in pursuing their art.

June 2 Chapter Meeting Highlights

Many thanks to Chapter VP Nina Calvo for hosting us at her lovely home!  Stay tuned for more info on upcoming events and our September fundraiser!