Reading and discussion with writers Susie Dworkin, Christine Hobbie, Ellen Meeropol, and Jan Krause Greene
Hosted by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez
Whitney Center for The Arts, 42 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, 2 p.m.
Four fiction writers whose work deals with themes of environmental and social justice will read from their works and discuss the challenges of balancing commitment and craft in politically-themed fiction. How can fiction work to instill an urge to action and change in a reader? What are the major social and environmental issues that face us today, and how can fiction be a conduit for change?
Susan Dworkin has written half a dozen plays and published 14 books, among them the international bestseller The Nazi Officer’s Wife. Her play “The Farm Bill” was presented at the Becket Arts Center in August 2013; her play “The Old Mezzo” was staged by WAM Theatre in Pittsfield in October 2012. For ten years she was a contributing editor of Ms. Magazine. She is a leading audiobook producer and founder of the award-winning JCC Audiobooks, which publishes works by such authors as Cynthia Ozick, Edna Ferber, I.L. Peretz and I.B. Singer. All JCC titles are now available on Audible. Her new novel, The Commons, about an extraordinary alliance to save the food supply, will be published this year, both in print and on audio.
Jan Krause Greene is a former high school teacher and newspaper columnist who began writing poetry and fiction later in life. She uses both genres to examine life’s big questions from the perspective of characters, both young and old, who are struggling to understand their place in the world. She was delighted to have her first novel, I Call Myself Earth Girl ,published this year and is currently working on the sequel along with a few other projects. She lives in Marlborough, MA with her husband and mother.
Christine Hobbie, a licensed clinical psychologist, practiced for two decades in Manhattan and the Berkshires before beginning to write her first novel, Thealogy. Fascinated by mythological themes as a result both of her Jungian training and the years she spent in Greece working for Save the Children, Chris now divides her time between a farm in New Marlborough and a home in Nova Scotia. She is currently at work on her second novel.
Ellen Meeropol’s characters live on the fault lines of political turmoil and human connection. Publishers Weekly gave her debut novel, House Arrest (Red Hen, 2011) a starred review, calling it “thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums.” Her second novel, Hurricane Island, will be published in early 2015. Her short fiction and essays have been published in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, Beyond the Margins, Women’s Times, The Writers Chronicle and others. She is a founding board member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and author of their dramatic program “Carry it Forward.”
Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Media Studies at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and has edited two anthologies of contemporary women’s writing from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The founding director of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, she has also hosted an annual conference in observance of International Women’s Day for more than a decade. She blogs on social and environmental justice from a personal perspective at Transition Times and has just completed an environmental memoir.