Great Barrington, MA – What does it take to gestate a book about mothering? For Suzi Banks Baum, it took two teenagers, a fierce sense of longing, and a year of blogging while “tangled in kids, laundry, and work.” On March 1st, her book launch for An Anthology of Babes: Thirty-six Women Give Motherhood A Voice kicks off the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers with the second annual Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others. (For the full BFWW Calendar of Events, go to our earlier overview story here.)
At this evening’s event, a selection of the writers will read from their work, celebrating the creativity of even the most uncelebrated acts of parenting. Profits from book sales will support The Community Health Program of Great Barrington (CHP) and Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM Berkshires), which provide crucial services to women in need.
· Journalist Nichole Dupont, whose writing has appeared in Newsday and Advocate Weekly, and whose interests range from women’s media to agriculture to logging
· Poet, author, and op-ed columnist Michelle Gillett, whose accomplishments include awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, several collections of poetry, essays, and recipes, and two grown daughters
· Award-winning playwright Jenny Laird, who finds inspiration in child-rearing, epilepsy, developmental and learning disabilities, literature, and Buddhism
· Alana Chernila, a Great Barrington selectman, mother of two young daughters, and author of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making
· Janet Reich Elsbach, a sheep farmer and mother of three who writes about Tolstoy, pickles, gardening, and “assessing the real chances that we the people will come to our senses in time to save the bees, the oceans and the last vestiges of true democracy”
· Author, blogger, and producer Suzi Banks Baum, who writes at laundrylinedivine.com about seeing and celebrating the sacred in everyday life, and whose own forthcoming book recounts the “wild adventure” of raising herself as she raised her children.
Stephanie Campbell will open the evening with live music. Writer and editor Gina Hyams and Banks Baum will lead a discussion of motherhood and creativity after the reading, with a special guest, author and Williams College professor Susan Engel. Last year, this event was standing room only. Banks Baum hopes to follow the nerve it struck.
“My desire is to gather a community of parents who are available to each other, through this book, during their most mundane or trying moments,” she says. “Finding creativity in the details can keep the flickering candle of one’s individuality alive.”
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others presents as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on Friday, March 1, 2013 from 7:00 – 9:30pm. The location is Dewey Hall, 91 Main Street, Sheffield, MA, and admission is $5 at the door. Bedtime snacks will be served, and pajamas are welcome! For more information, please visit www.outofthemouthsofbabes.org or call Suzi Banks Baum at (413) 429-1799.
About Suzi Banks Baum
Suzi Banks Baum has been a full-time mom for the last 18 years. She leads the “Powder Keg Sessions: A Writing Workshop for Mothers and Others” at Simon’s Rock College, and blogs at laundrylinedivine.com. In addition to editing An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood A Voice, she is writing her own first book, Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers. She lives with her husband and two children in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
About the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers (BFWW) was created in honor of Women’s History Month. Full information at their website, berkshirewomenwriters.org Throughout the month of March, BFWW hosts events at local libraries, bookstores, theaters and schools throughout Berkshire County, all of which are open to the public. Major funding for the 2013 Berkshire Festival of Women Writers is made possible by grants from the Massachusetts Council on the Humanities, the Local Cultural Councils of many Berkshire towns, and generous support from many organizations, businesses and individuals.