Friday, March 1
Laundry Line Divine presents:
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others
Hosted by Suzi Banks Baum and Gina Hyams with special guest Susan Engel, author and professor at Williams College
Featuring readings by Suzi Banks Baum, Alana Chernila, Nichole Dupont, Janet Reich Elsbach, Michelle Gillett, and Jenny Laird

Celebrating the book launch of An Anthology of Babes: Thirty-six Women Give Motherhood a Voice.

Dewey Hall, Sheffield, 7–9: 30 p.m. (see map below)
$5 suggested donation

Returning this year after a standing-room-only premiere at last year’s Festival, “Out of the Mouths of Babes” offers readings from six Berkshire women authors, ranging from a young single mother to a mother of adult children. Join us to be entertained, challenged, echoed, and encouraged. Favorite bedtime snacks will be served at intermission, and following the readings, special guest Susan Engel will join writer and editor Gina Hyams and Suzi Banks Baum in a discussion of motherhood and creativity.

Suzi Banks Baum, by Christina Lane Photography

Suzi Banks Baum, an artist, writer, and full-time mom, can be found creating community wherever she goes. While writing her first book, Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers, Suzi discovered the vital voices of mothers who make art while raising children. Suzi is a theater professional, group facilitator, mixed-media collage artist, and mother of two teens. She lives in Berkshire County.

Alana Chernila writes, cooks, sells fresh vegetables, and teaches kids to cook. She created the blog Eating from the Ground Up in 2008. Alana is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe and lives with her husband and two young daughters in Great Barrington, MA, where she is a selectman. Alana’s first book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, was published by Clarkson Potter in spring 2012.

Nichole Dupont i
s a freelance writer and editor based in Sheffield, MA. A native of the Berkshires and a fourth-generation logger, she has cultivated a passion for food, farming, and community. Her work has appeared in NewsdayBerkshire Magazine, the Advocate Weekly, and Rural Intelligence, where she is an associate editor. She also writes for the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Sometimes she reads poetry in public, fishes for stripers in the Atlantic, and roller-skates. A former literature teacher and observer of people, she has written short stories. She also maintains a blog about the snarkier side of rural feminism and single motherhood.

Janet Reich Elsbach is a mother of three. Her interests include: what to have for dinner tonight; what to have for dinner tomorrow; whether her children are rested, fed, and encouraged; getting out of the grocery store with as little plastic packaging material as possible; and saving the bees, the oceans, and the last vestiges of true democracy. With her husband, the artist Bart Elsbach, she is managed by a small sheep farm. She writes about all of this when she can stay awake long enough.

Michelle Gillett has been a regular op-ed columnist for the Berkshire Eagle for over twenty years. An award-winning poet, she was a longtime contributing editor to the former Women’s Times. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, OrionSanctuary, Art of the Times, and other publications. Her works include A Kitchen Gardener’s Cookbook; a collection of essays entitled In Celebration of Motherhood; and two collections of poetry, Rock & Spindle, a letterpress chapbook published by Mad River Press, and Blinding the Goldfinches, published in 2005 and chosen by Hayden Carruth as winner of the Backwaters Poetry Prize. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BS from Skidmore College. Michelle lives in Stockbridge, MA.

Gina Hyams is the author of eight books on various confounding subjects and creator of the “In a Box” cooking contest series of book-kits for pie, chili, and Christmas cookies. She lives in Housatonic with her family.

Jenny Laird
was a longtime Chicago Playwright and Arts Advocate before settling in the Berkshires. She is the author of several award-winning plays: Ballad Hunter (Chicago’s Cunningham Prize for Playwriting), Sky Girls (NEA Distinguished New Play Grant, Selma Melvoin New Play Award), and Only the Sound (Illinois Arts Council Grant, Chicago’s Jeff Award for Outstanding New Work, 2002). With her husband, composer Randy Courts, Jenny is currently adapting a series of musicals based on The Magic Tree House books for Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior Collection. When she is not writing plays, she is busy running an intensive home-based play therapy program for her wondrous son, Quinn. Ballad Hunter at Amazon

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