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In Conversation: Ruth Ozeki and Carole DeSanti

DesantiOzeki

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
6:00-8:00 pm
Reflections Yoga Studio
250 West 49th St., 2nd floor

We open our program season with a provocative dialogue between two intriguing authors – both WNBA members – with topics ranging from their latest books, their inspirations, and how women authors fare in today’s publishing world.

Ruth Ozeki is the author of the recently Man Booker-nominated A Tale for the Time Being. She is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.  Carole DeSanti is the author of The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. As an editor at Penguin, she champions independent voices in women’s fiction.

Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP to: programs@wnba-nyc.org

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shenkmanHarriet Shenkman, Ph.D. is a Professor Emerita at City University of New York.  She serves on the Advisory Board of the Women’s National Book Association, NYC.  She was awarded second place in poetry in the Women’s National Book Association National Writing Contest, 2013.  She is proud to serve as Poet-in-Residence at Boomer Cafe and to have a poetry page on Verse Wrights.  Her poems have been published in a number of publications and she is working on a poetry collection, Sweet and Sour Soup.  She is also completing a novel entitled The Camel Tamer.  She lives in New York with her husband Jerry and they have three children.

How long have you been a member of the WNBA-NYC? How did you get involved with the organization?

I have been in the New York chapter of WNBA for several years.  Last year I became the Academic Liaison on the Board.  This was a suitable position as I am Professor Emerita at CUNY and was director of a literary arts center within my college.  I am excited about our new partnership with the NYU Creative Writing Program and we hope to launch our first joint event in March of 2014.

Congratulations on “Mirror, Mirror” placing in the First Annual WNBA Writing Contest! What was the experience like? Will you enter next year’s contest?

It is an honor to win a national award.  It’s very useful in building credibility as a serious writer. I am thrilled to have also just won second place in the 2013 Women Who Write contest for my poem “The Possibility of Teetering.”  It will appear in Calliope 2013: the 20th Anthology. I will also have the opportunity to read it in Louisville, Kentucky at their annual conference.

Where can our members find your other published works?

My latest poem “Fourth Date” will be published in August at Boomer Cafe. Previous poems have been published at When Women Waken, Verse Wrights, Jewish Mag, Jewish Renaissance Magazine, and The WNBA Bookwoman Anthology.  And forthcoming are poems in Third Wednesday, a quarterly journal of poetry, prose and art, and Jewish Currents, a quarterly journal.
Is your background in poetry, or have you written in other genres?

My background is not poetry.  I have written over thirty academic articles and my creative writing began with novel writing.  However, I find satisfaction in the briefer form of poetry to express what I want to say.  You work at getting at the essence of things

From where do you draw inspiration for your writing?

For my poetry, I may start with an image or an experience that is startling or exceptional in some way.  And then I explore it, what it means, and how to capture its essence in words. For my novel, I have characters in my head that I want to see interacting in a challenging context. I am also passionate about situations in the world I want to reveal and explore.

How different is the publishing process for poetry? More or less difficult?

Publishing poetry in the mainstream press is difficult. Agents and editors are more interested in novels and nonfiction.  But my poetry is very accessible and I hold the position of Poet-in-Residence at Boomer Cafe.   I want to put together a collection of verse called Sweet and Sour Soup for the Over Fifty Soul.  There is a huge market for readers in the baby boomer generation and older that has not be tapped.

Do you have any projects currently in the works?

I also have a novel in the works called The Camel Tamer.  I am working on revisions.  You could say it is a hunt for a terrorist narrative within a coming of age story.  I am striving for a tragic/comic effect and my two main characters, a hardened Mossad agent and an innocent American kid, are polar opposites.  Most of the story takes place in Jerusalem and other places in Israel.

What’s your favorite word and why?

I do not have a favorite word.  I love to put words together into unique constellations that convey feelings and meaning.  One reader of my poetry said it is provocative without being sentimental.  I like that description.

What are you currently reading? Any great recommendations for our members?

I am reading Ruth Ozeki’s new novel, A Tale for the Time Being, and I am looking forward to hearing her in conversation with Carole DeSanti at the WNBA event in September.  I love the new novel by A.M. Homes, May We Be Forgiven. She is a master at combining darkness and wit.  She won the Women’s Prize for Fiction over several respected women authors.  I would recommend both books.

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children readingThis fall, the WNBA-NYC is partnering with Kids Research Center to collect new and gently-used books for children.

Not sure what books to contribute? Here is a list of KRC likes to collect and what the Housing Authority stocks in their reading rooms:

  • Picture books
  • Early readers
  • Chapter books
  • Middle-grade books
  • Children’s reference books
  • “Who was…?” biographies
  • Magic Tree House, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter

Bring your donations or bookstore gift cards to all fall WNBA-NYC events.

The Book Drive will kick-off at our Networking party on September 11th.  All donations will go to a Reading Room for a spring 2014 opening.

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quillNow thru November 15, 2013, The WNBA is accepting submissions for the 2nd Annual National Writing Contest!

Guidelines:

  • Unpublished work only
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter
  • Short fiction only; 2500 word limit
  • No memoir or novel excerpts
  • 3-5 pages of poetry; 35 lines per page
  • Acceptable formats include RTF (Rich Text Format), Word 2007, 2003 or earlier versions
  • You may submit more than once. Each entry must be submitted and paid for separately

Upload your work to https://wnba.submittable.com/submit

Please upload each of your entries without identifying information. There is a separate form for personal data.

Each entry is $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

Winners will be announced March 2014, and will receive a $250 cash prize and appear in the Bookwoman, the official publication of the WNBA. Proceeds from the contest will go toward scholarships, professional development, and writing conferences.

Good luck to all entrants!

Questions about the contest? Email joan@joangelfand.com

Please visit http://wnba-books.org/contest for more information on this year’s contest, a list of last year’s winners, and this year’s judges.

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bookclub
Season Kick-Off and Networking Party

September 11, 2013
6:00 – 8:30pm
Location to be provided upon RSVP

Join us for a chance to network and catch up with your fellow WNBA-NYC members. Bring friends who may be interested in joining our organization. There will be book give-aways for all paid-up members and those who join that evening.

We’ll also be launching our fall community service project  – a book drive to benefit the Kids Research Center. So bring your new and/or gently used children’s books to donate to this cause.

For more information, keep your eye on the blog and our Facebook and Twitter pages. To RSVP, click here or send email to programs@wnba-nyc.org.

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wnbaNYC-150Summer is winding down, and the WNBA-NYC is gearing up for a season full of events and outings. Don’t miss out on our Neighborhood Lunches, author panels, and networking parties.  Click here for a partial list of upcoming events. And be sure to check the blog for more details on future member events as they approach.

Not yet a member? Now is the time to join the WNBA-NYC and be a part of our member exclusive events.

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deborahThis week’s featured member blog is Deborah Batterman’s The Things She Thinks About.

Deborah, who took 3rd place in this year’s WNBA Writing Contest, had this to say about blogging:

Blogging is something I do first and foremost because I like writing essay-type reflections on whatever it is that strikes my interest — a movie, a wedding, a day at a museum. It’s not so much about the event as it is about what it evokes. Blogging is also a way to maintain an ongoing online presence, and the approach that feels right for me is to put up a new post every two weeks.
Visit Deborah’s website/blog at deborahbatterman.com.

You can find out more about Deborah and her writing in her Member Monday interview.

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