Wed, Nov 5


Cosponsored by: South Dakota Humanities Council and South Dakota Center for the Book

Dr. Michelle McClellan
Dr. Michelle McClellan
Angie Chuang
Angie Chuang

Laura Ingalls Wilder scholar Michelle McClellan, joined by professor Angie Chuang, will utilize the author’s work to speak on how family memories influence our sense of home. McClellan, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, is completing a nonfiction book on “Little House” sites across America that were used as a fictional base for literary themes and characters. Chuang’s book is: “The Four Words for Home.”

 “I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder
        Although she did not begin her writing career until she was 65 years old, revered American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (1857-1967) quickly made up for lost time. In 1932, she published her first book in the beloved eight book “Little House” series. Children were the intended audience for her work, but her family-oriented stories quickly became favorites among all age groups, and have been translated into 40 languages. A dramatic adaptation of her wildly popular work ran on American television from 1974-1989 starring Michael Landon.
        Wilder inspired scholar Dr. Michelle McClellan to become a historian. McClellan now serves as an assistant professor in the History Department at the University of Michigan. Joined by professor Angie Chuang, the women will speak on how family memories influence our sense of history.
        McClellan will speak on why the Ingalls family and the places they lived, continue to appeal to readers and tourists. She is just completing a book on heritage tourism associated with the many “Little House” sites across America. McClellan holds a doctorate degree in history from Stanford University.
        “People often want to go to the places that served as the setting for their favorite stories, even when those stories are fictional. There’s an impulse to explore, to feel a deeper connection with the literary characters and themes—by being in the physical places that inspired the author’s creativity.,” McClellan said.
        Chuang, a Stanford University graduate, is assistant professor of journalism at American University. She is an award-winning former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant and the Oregonian newspapers. Chuang’s new book, The Four Words for Home, focuses on the role of place (Afghanistan and Taiwan) in culture, identity, family and literature.
        Pioneer Girl, an autobiography Wilder wrote 80 years ago, which was rejected then by publishers, is expected to be be published this fall by the South Dakota Historical Society Press. The newly published Wilder work “contains stories omitted from her novels that, in 1930, Wilder thought would not be appropriate for children”, according to Pioneer Girl editor Pamela Smith Hill.
        “Wilder makes her readers see what is extraordinary and worth telling in the everyday lives of everyday people. This skill makes her one of the great storytellers of the pioneer saga in the United States", said Nancy Koupal, the publisher’s director.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine.

Wed, Oct 8


The “Girl” behind the American Girl books!

Valerie Tripp
Valerie Tripp

Valerie Tripp, multi award winning, acclaimed author of more than 31 books, including the mega-selling American Girl series featuring historical fiction characters Felicity, Elizabeth, Josephina, Samantha, Nellie, Kit, Ruthie, Emily and Molly, will discuss her work at noon Wed Oct 8 in the McLendon Room of the National Press Club.

In writing her mega-selling, wildly popular iconic American Girl book series, Valerie Tripp drew inspiration from the adventures of her own idyllic childhood in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. as one of five children, taught to read by two older sisters Kate and Rosemary when they played school in a house full of books, magazines and newspapers where their parents read aloud to them, emphasizing the pleasure of reading.
        “We were a noisy, ragtag, rambunctious bunch” she says---whose lives served as framework for Tripp’s beloved American Girl book series featuring historical fiction characters Felicity, Elizabeth, Josefina, Samantha, Nellie, Kit, Ruthie, Emily and Molly.
        “We went roller skating like Molly and Emily, or had picnics as Josefina and her sisters do. Like Kit we typed family newspapers and like Ruthie, we spent lots of time reading. When I was writing Nellie’s Promise, I remembered the feeling of New York City when we went to see a Broadway show, concert, ballet or museum. I knew just how Samantha and Nellie felt”, Tripp explains.
        Pleasant Rowland, American Girl founder, describes Tripp’s skill as “an ability to teach without preaching, and to touch the hearts of girls in a way that takes them very seriously as readers, thinkers and people”.
        Tripp also writes poems, songs, stories, skills book pages, and nonfiction essays for educational publishers, plus phonetically controlled stories at pre-K, kindergarten and first grade levels of The Superkids Reading Program.
        She founded and is Editorial Director of Boys Camp, a series of realistic fiction books for readers 7-12, as well as the Hopscotch Hill and Just One More series.
        Tripp is a 1973 magna cum laude graduate of Yale, in the first coeducational class. She earned a Masters of Education degree from Harvard. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Michael, a professor of American history, and their daughter Katherine.
        She says Oct 8 at AWWNM she will speak on ”the writing process, where the ideas for the American Girls books and Boys Camp books come from, and why it is important for children to read historical fiction and realistic fiction.
        “Everything you are thinking about is important. You must be especially observant and thoughtful...because your memories and imagination will be your best source of ideas”. she has told school groups .
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine.

Wed, Sept 17



Jane Barbara
Jane Barbara
Monica Lee Bellais
Maureen Stack Sappey

Screenwriters Jane Barbara, Monica Lee Bellais, Sabrina McCormick and Maureen Stack Sappey will participate in a noon panel Wed Sept. 17 in the McLendon Room of the National Press Club to discuss their craft and their work in progress.

Monica Lee Bellais
Monica Lee Bellais
Jane Barbara
Sabrina McCormick

Screenwriters Jane Barbara and Monica Lee Bellais will be among the panelists Wednesday Sept 17 at noon in the McLendon room, discussing their craft and their screenwriting work in progress. The D.C. chapter of Women in Film and Television was instrumental in arranging the program with AWWNM.
        Monica Lee Bellais has one feature film in production and another slated for 2015.
        She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Bellais works with the D.C. office of Motion Picture & Television Development and the Motion Picture Association of America.
        Jane Barbara studied theatre management with famous Rudolph Bing, legendary (now retired) manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Barbara has completed five screenplays and recently co-produced her first short feature based on her screenplay Suspicious Densities—working with Wonder Pictures.
        She graduated from Parsons School of Design which she attended on a full scholarship. She has studied theatre at Brooklyn College.
        Multitalented, her illustrations and graphic designs have appeared in The New York Times.
        Sociologist Dr. Sabrina McCormick is the producer of an Emmy-nominated film on climate change aired as a Showtime series. She holds a Phd from Brown University, and serves as a professor at the GWU School of Public Health.
        Maureen Sappey has worked in several genres, including film. Her novel Letters from Vonnie is being made into a documentary and mini-series.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota.


During June, July & August, AWWNM takes a recess. Exciting programs will resume in September.

Thur, May 22


“ALL THE CHANCES OF LIFE”:Katherine Anne Porter

Darlene Unrue
Darlene Unrue
Christine Grogan
Christine Grogan

Jerry Findley

President of the Katherine Anne Porter Society, Dr. Christine Grogan, joins four members of the KAPS Executive Committee at noon, Thursday May 22 to reveal the latest updates on the Texas born Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, poet and novelist who lived in D.C. periodically from 1944-1980.

Christine Hait

Beth Alvarez

American woman writer Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) born Callie Russell Porter in Indian Creek in west central Texas, lost her mother when she was two. Raised by her paternal grandmother in Kyle, Texas, she had scant formal education. She married at 16, became a friend of iconoclastic Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and in 1966 earned America’s highest literary honor: a Pulitzer Prize; as well as the National Book Award for her only novel Ship Of Fools.
        Frontiersman Daniel Boone is an ancestor. Famed short story writer O.Henry was her father’s second cousin.
        Her literary themes have been described variously as: isolation, justice, betrayal; the unforgiving nature of the human race, and investigating the dark side of the average person. “One is subject to all the chances of life”, is one of her famous observations.
        May 22 America’s top KAP scholars, will illuminate her work and reveal latest research on the woman described as “a major voice in 20th Century American literature.”
        Dr. Christine Grogan, president of the Katherine Anne Porter Society, will moderate a panel all of whom are members of the KAPS Executive Committee.Grogan is a visiting professor at University of South Florida. She has published articles about English literature and Women’s Studies.
        KAP’s 1944-1980 periodic residency in the D.C. area, including places she lived, people she knew, and work created or published during that period, will be covered by Dr. Beth Alvarez, former Curator of Literary Manuscripts the University of Maryland, College Park, where KAP’s papers are housed. Alvarez is a past president and newsletter editor of the KAP Society. Her work on KAP includes editions of KAP;s work, a bibliography, and book reviews.
        Dr. Christine Hait will discuss Ship of Fools which was made into a 1965 movie. In 1966 it was the best-selling book in America. Hait is professor of English at Columbia College, Columbia, S.C.
        Challenges of writing KAP’s biography will be discussed by Dr.Darlene Unrue, Distinguished Professor of English at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During past decades Unrue has published numerous articles and books on KAP, and is the recipient of many national and international awards and honors.
        Dr. Jerry Findley, a recently retired teacher from universities in the South and Southwest, will address KAP’s “political understanding”.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine.

Wed, Apr 16


AWWNM Celebrates National Poetry Month!

Ava Leavell Haymon, current Louisiana Poet Laureate, and Julie Kane, immediate past Poet Laureate, will read from and discuss their work at noon Wed April 16 in the McLendon Room of the National Press Club. Haymon’s work “combines the sensory and spiritual worlds in wild verbal fireworks.” Kane’s work uses “wickedly clever” humor. The duet is co-sponsored with the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana.

L-R -- Julie Kane, Louisiana 2011-2012 Poet Laureate, Janice Law, & Ava Leavell Haymon, 2013-2015 Poet Laureate, autograph their Louisiana listing on AWWNM’s May 2012 Honoree List Poster.

 AWWNM celebrates National Poetry Month with two Poet Laureates! Ava Leavell Haymon, current Louisiana Poet Laureate, and Julie Kane, immediate past Poet Laureate, will discuss their writing process and read from their work. The program is co-sponsored with AWWNM and the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana, Jim Davis, Director.
        Ava Leavell Haymon, “grew up in a household of words. My mother was a natural story teller from the Mississippi Delta, where telling stories at the dinner table was high art. Those stories were not limited by the truth, but were told and retold to amuse the audience,” Haymon said.
        Her father was a Baptist preacher who required her to “memorize 10 verses of scripture every week, and be able to recite it back perfectly before we could watch television,” Haymon remembers.
        A reviewer says Haymon: “combines sensory and spiritual worlds in wild verbal fireworks”.
        She is the winner of numerous major poetry awards. Her books are: Why the House is Made of Gingerbread, Kitchen Heat, The Strict Economy of Fire; and her latest book “Eldest Daughter.”
        Haymon earned a B.A. in English from Baylor University in 1965, an M.A. degree from Louisiana State University in 1968.
        Humor is the guiding star of Julie Kane, immediate past Poet Laureate of Louisiana.
        A reviewer describes Kane’s work as “wickedly clever. A 21st Century Dorothy Parker.”
        Her work includes “Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum” and “Reasons for Loving the Harmonica!”
        Kane describes her work as “the intersection of identify and place. The cold unforgiving North of my Irish Catholic girlhood, and the warm sensual South of my adult years”. She says she combines humor with wisdom.
        Kane’s work too has been honored with many prestigious awards. She is the author of 2003 Rhythm & Booze, and 2009 Jazz Funeral. Her newest work Paper Bullets, features mainly humorous poems.
        When you first start out, poetry feels like you have been stripped bare,” Kane explains.
        Kane holds a B.A. degree from Cornell University in 1974, an M.A. from Boston University in 1975, and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1999.
        Both women will sell and autograph their books at the event.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware.

Fri, Mar 28



Jennifer Cognard-Black
Marilyn Nelson
Jennifer Cognard-Black
Lavonda Kay Broadnax

Award-winning writers Marilyn Nelson and Lavonda Kay Broadnax will share the AWWNM stage with separate individual presentations noon Friday March 28, 2014. Nelson, poet laureate emeritus of Connecticut, will read from her work, including “The House on Moscow Street” which includes the phrase in the headline above. Nelson is a 3-time finalist for the National Book Award, and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Lavonda Kay Broadnax, an employee of the Library of Congress and winner of the 2013 Zora Neale Hurston Award, will discuss her project “Selected Work by Civil War Era African American Women”.

Poet Laureate Emeritus of Connecticut, Marilyn Nelson, who has won or been nominated for a plethora of poetry and writing awards, will share her thoughts on writing, and read from her work, noon Friday March 28.
        Lavonda Kay Broadnax will discuss women’s writing voices from the Civil War era, and her bibliographic project “Selected Literature Published by the Civil War Soul Sisters”.
        Marilyn Nelson grew up moving from Air Force base to Air Force base with her parents, and her sister, playwright Jennifer Nelson whose June 5, 2013 AWWNM program video may be viewed under the YouTube icon on AWWNM’s Home page. Jennifer Nelson is Director of Special Programming at Ford’s Theatre. The sisters are the daughters of one of the last Tuskegee Airmen. Their mother was a teacher.
        One reviewer wrote of Marilyn Nelson’s work: “a poet of stunning power, able to bring alive the most rarified and subtle of experiences”.
        Her book “The Fields of Praise" was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award and the Pen Winship Award. She has also published collections of verse for children, including “Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World; "The Cat Walked through the Casserole", and other works.
        Her additional honors include a Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. She holds the BA from University of California at Davis, an M.A. degree from University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota.
        Broadnax, a digital project coordinator at the Library of Congress won the 2013 Zora Neale Hurston Award presented by the Reference and Users Association of the American Library Association. The award honors librarians who have demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature. Broadnax holds a B.A degree from Oberlin College, and a Master of Science in Library Science degree from Case Western Reserve University.
        Broadnax’s project showcases the writings of Black women who lived during the Civil War, at a time when it was illegal for the vast majority of African Americans to learn to read or write.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona and Arkansas.

Wed, Feb 12



Jennifer Cognard-Black
Patricia Krider
Jennifer Cognard-Black
Anita McBride

In celebration of AWWNM’s second year anniversary; at noon Wednesday February 12, distinguished experts will discuss how America’s Presidential spouses dealt with the media. Patricia Krider, executive director of First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio; and Anita McBride, Chief of Staff for former First Lady Laura Bush, will speak in the McLendon Room of the National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20045. Traditionally, in American culture, second anniversaries are marked by cotton “gifts”—thus the pun in the above headline.

AWWNM celebrates its joyous second anniversary year by featuring two experts on America’s First Ladies: presidential spouses—and how First ladies, historical and contemporary, dealt with media.
        Traditionally, in American culture, second anniversaries are marked by cotton “gifts”—thus the pun in the above headline.
        Patricia Krider, executive director of First Ladies Library and Education Center in Canton, Ohio—which is “devoted to education about the contributions of First Ladies and other notable women in history,” --- will favor AWWNM with a return visit.
        Krider starred in AWWNM’s 2013 panel celebrating AWWNM’s debut program year. “I’m pleased and honored to join in kudos to AWWNM and to America’s women writers, by joining AWWNM’s second year of achievement!” Krider said.
        Anita McBride, a surprise guest at AWWNM’s 2013 first anniversary fete, graciously agreed to join in AWWNM’s February 12, 2014 event. McBride, who served as Chief of Staff for former First Lady Laura Bush, has firsthand knowledge of the interaction between First Ladies and the media, historically, and in the internet age.
        In her remarks at AWWNM’s first anniversary event, McBride said of First Ladies: “They are truly partners to the presidency, not just First Ladies. They are women leaders, and a bellwether to changes in our society throughout history. (Each) left a lasting legacy on the imprint of our country,” McBride said.
        “It is important to keep telling the stories of these women (First Ladies) to each new generation,” McBride added. She served three White Houses and three first ladies: Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush--- which included dealing with interaction between First Ladies and the media: pre internet, and post internet—very different challenges.
        McBride holds a B.A. degree in international studies from the University of Connecticut. She currently serves as Executive in Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, School of Public Affairs at American University, Washington, D.C.
        The Ohio-based Library Krider directs, which established an on line bibliography of America’s First Ladies, is also a National Historic Site in partnership with the National Park Service. It was founded by 1995 by Mary Regula.
        Krider is a magna cum laude graduate of Ashland University, and also holds degrees from Walsh University and Stark State College.
        Because AWWNM’s grand opening was on Valentine’s Day 2011, anniversary events feature Valentine- themed decorations. No reservations are required. All AWWNM programs are free and open to the public.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Wed, Jan 15



Jennifer Cognard-Black
Nancy Dorman Hickson
Jennifer Cognard-Black
Amanda Rooker

Joyce Winslow

Charlotte Reather

Nancy Dorman Hickson and Amanda Rooker, who specialize in assisting aspiring authors; Joyce Winslow who helps presenters shape their writing, and Charlotte Reather who likes to add a comedic touch to her scriptwriting, will reveal the gamet of ghostwriters’ eclectic projects at a noon Wednesday January 15, 2014 panel at the National Press Club. Speech ghostwriter Sarah Gray will also participate.

The panel program will be noon-1 p.m. Wed Jan 15, in the McLendon Room of the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20045.

 All those speeches, all those books, all those presentations. Sometimes they are written by the people whose names are on them. Or, sometimes, they are written by others: Ghostwriters. Or just Ghosts. The craft has even become a verb: ghosted.
        Ghostwriter panelists, experienced in a variety of ghostwriting fields, will describe their craft and answer questions in AWWNM’s 2014 Opening Program at noon Wednesday January 15.
        Nancy Dorman Hickson, traveling from Birmingham Alabama to participate as a panelist, ghostwrote and co-authored “Diplomacy and Diamonds”, an Amazon best-selling memoir of socialite and TV personality Joanne King Herring, portrayed by actress Julia Roberts in the film “Charlie Wilson’s War.” A former Associate Living Editor of Southern Living magazine, Hickson holds a B.A. in Communications from Mississippi State University, and a M.S. degree in Speech from Southern Illinois University.
        Amanda Rooker specializes in authors who want to write a book, but need some help. She helps would-be authors “learn about their publishing options and what kinds of partners are needed to help you share your message with the world.”
        She also helps authors with “how to find printing and distribution suppliers the big publishers use. She works as a writing coach, “mostly in the subject areas of business, motivational, inspirational and how-to books”.
        Rooker earned a B,A. degree in English from the College of William and Mary, and a Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School.
        Joyce Winslow ghostwrites with her firm Winslow & Mayfair. She describes herself as a “speechwriter and media strategist for the administration of Medicare, health departments and agencies”. Her corporate clients include Amtrack.
        Winslow served as Vice President of Corporate Communications for two nonprofits and a Gannett TV station.
        She is a former travel editor at Redbook and Mademoiselle, and served as editor of an AARP magazine. She has taught at the University of Pittsburg and at Temple University.
        Charotte Reather ghostwrites scripts for TV, radio and film—with a comedic touch. She has had a TV sketch show, three sitcoms and a feature film optioned—all with script commissions.
        Reather, who describes herself as a “comedy writer and performer”, has a fictional alter ego named Henrietta Arden-Bibby.
        Her work-in-progress is ghostwriting Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing Adventures to accompany his channel 5 show. She said the work is scheduled for publication by Simon Schuster.
        Speech ghostwriter Sarah Gray will also join the panel. Ghostwriters Unite! is a just-formed national organization.
        *50-state Project honors women writers in Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Virgin Islands.

American Women Writers National Museum
National Press Club Building
529 14th Street NW, Suite 960-C
Washington, D.C. 20045

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