In this unflinching debut novel, I was quickly swept into the lives of Bibike and Ariyike, twin sisters growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. The twins and their two brothers live a comfortable middle-class life until it is disrupted by the financial failings of their parents. Poverty stricken and abandoned, they are left in the reluctant care of their traditional grandmother. Writing with piercing intimacy, Abraham reveals how the four children’s lives unfold and the divergent pathways the twins choose after their shared childhood. With themes focusing on poverty, family, ambition, sex, love, and faith, I am certain you will find this a compelling read.
From the first page of this novel I was rooting for Adunni, the brave Nigerian girl who dreams of having a “louding voice”…..a chance to have a say in her own future. This coming of age story is written in Adunni’s voice and beautifully enriched by its cadence and prose. As this intelligent village girl struggles to reach her dream of becoming a teacher, a sad glimpse of contemporary Nigeria is revealed: a society that does not tolerate choice for young girls. You will enjoy the emotional ride and I guarantee you will not forget the characters you meet along the way.
Lyrical essays, translated letters, and remembrances of studying English literature and competitive hip-hop dancing may not sound like a page turner, but I took in this magnificent memoir in two large gulps. Eun Ji is a young girl of fifteen when her parents move to Korea without her. Left behind with her older brother in California, she learns to navigate her adolescence without a mother’s guidance. Meanwhile, some 6,000 miles away, her mother is writing letters: defending her choices, imploring her daughter for forgiveness, and telling stories of her family’s history. Years later Koh finds these letters, and this resulting memoir exposes the fierce yet delicate love between mothers and daughters.
In this beautifully written collection of essays, I found a meditative invitation to explore the important relationships that bind the natural and human worlds. Though written in poetic prose, each essay in this stunning collection can stand alone as a scholarly, scientific discussion. Yet surprisingly, this collection is particularly appropriate during our turbulent times. The essays offer a measure of tranquility and hope, and a timely observation about the adaptability of many species—including human—to strike a positive and hopeful note.
With the growing divisions in our country, we were both drawn to this book to deepen our understanding of America’s heartland. Marie Mutsaki Mockett embeds herself with a custom harvesting crew as it works its way from Texas to Idaho harvesting wheat. She is a city person who knows little about growing and harvesting wheat, but she has long been interested in the GMO vs. organic debate. Throughout her journey, Mockett asks questions about technology and farming, Christianity and the Evangelical church, intellectualism and belief, attitudes towards gays, and city people vs. farm people. We enjoyed her exploration of the range of beliefs and attitudes that make up this country.
We are writing to let you know there will not be a Literary Women Festival of Authors in 2021. We had great hope for a turn-around with the current health situation, but came to this decision with everyone’s wellbeing in mind. While all of us will miss the opportunity to greet friends, enjoy the author presentations and have a terrific time together….we, like you, have adapted.
We are actively doing the work of Literary Women: reading like crazy and sharing our top author picks with you on our website’s new feature, What We Are Reading.
We are collaborating with our Festival bookseller,Creating Conversations, to create virtual experiences with outstanding authors and hope you were able to join us for the animated conversations with Elizabeth Wetmore and Helen Macdonald.
We are optimistic for a more familiar future and have set a date for the next Festival, March 26, 2022, so mark your calendars now!
We wish you good reading and good health.
Literary Women Committee
HARRIET WILLIAMS EMERGING WRITER PROGRAM
In memory of our co-founder, Harriet Williams, an Emerging Writer Program was established in 2016 and named in her honor. This program is a fitting legacy for Harriet who, over 35 years ago formed The Literary Women Committee to ensure that the works of established women authors would be introduced to a greater reading public. It was to continue her vision that the Harriet Williams Emerging Writer Program was created.