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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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20130710_180553Wednesday evening , several members of the WNBA-NYC met up at the New York Public Library to take a trip through the history of children’s literature. From picture book classics, down Alice’s rabbit hole, through the Secret Garden, the Harlem Renaissance, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, we were treated to bright, colorful, and at times interactive displays that featured rare copies of books by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christen Andersen. Enjoy the pictures of our members and a slideshow of some of the books on display.

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Be sure to visit The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter exhibit, taking place now thru March 2014 at the NYPL Schwarzmann Building (5th Ave. and 42nd St.).

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Stop by our Facebook page to enjoy more than 150 pictures of the exhibit from members Heather Allen and Liberty Schauf.

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Gottesman Exhibition Hall
NYPL, Schwarzman Building (5th Ave. and 42nd St.)
Wednesday, July 10 2013, 6:00-6:45 pm
“The ABC of It draws on collections across the Library to present the literature for children and teens against a sweeping backdrop of history, the arts, popular culture, and technological change. The books and related objects on view reveal hidden historical contexts and connections and invite second looks and fresh discoveries. They suggest that books for young people have stories to tell us about ourselves, and are rarely as simple as they seem.”
If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to: programs@wnba-nyc.org. We are limited to 25 people and the chapter is paying per person for this tour, so an RSVP is a must!
All attendees need to arrive by 5:50pm. The Schwarzman Building and the tour are handicapped accessible.

 

 

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In the May Issue of The Bookwoman, the winners for the First Annual WNBA Writing Contest were announced and two of our chapter members were recognized!

Deborah Batterman – All Mine, Third Place, Fiction

deborahDeborah Batterman is a fiction writer, essayist, and teaching artist. A story from her debut collection, Shoes Hair Nails was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals, and a selection of her essays, Because My Name is Mother, is now available as an e-book. She recently finished a novel, Dancing into the Sun

Harriet Shenkman – Mirror, Mirror, Second Place, Poetry

shenkmanHarriet L. Shenkman is a Professor Emerita at City University of New York. She is on the Advisory Board of WNBA-NYC and the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association. She has published more than twenty educational articles. Several poems of hers have been published and she is currently writing a novel called The Camel Tamer.

Be sure to congratulate Deborah and Harriet and click the above links to read their entries.

Do you want to submit a piece for the WNBA Second Annual Writing Contest? Find out more information and view a complete list of this year’s winners here. Next year’s winners will be announced in March 2014.

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Photo: Annette Haley

As seen on Shelf Awareness:

Ann Patchett Presented with WNBA Award

“Even though I didn’t know I was applying for the job, I have somehow become the spokesperson for independent bookselling,” said Ann Patchett, calling books “my religion.”

The author and bookseller was speaking during a reception held at her store, Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., when she received the WNBA Award, given “every two years to a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books or the allied arts and has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession.”

The WNBA Award has been presented continuously since 1940. Previous recipients include Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl Buck, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Perri Klass and Kathi Kamen Goldmark.

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