As any book lover will testify, literature has a way of bringing people together. Coming together feels apt right now, at the end of our second year battling a pandemic, where millions of people are coming out of the thick of isolation with the help of a COVID vaccine and lifted travel restrictions.
That’s one of the things I think of as I announce our first ever Global Women’s Caucus Feminist Literature Festival, hosted by the Books Abroad feminist reading group.
It will be a month of celebrating literature— books, writers we love, and writing itself.
We will welcome some of the esteemed writers who are members of our Democrats Abroad family, screen a documentary of Toni Morrison’s life, celebrate Octavia Butler, take a webinar on Simone de Beauvoir, host weekly writing drop-ins, and finish off with cocktails and book recommendations. We hope it will be an unforgettable month.
The other thing I think of as I announce this festival is the transformative power of literature.
I joined Democrats Abroad and became involved with Books Abroad when I was seven months pregnant. It was the month I moved to France. Weeks later France went into its first COVID lockdown. In the next month, I had my son and became a mom for the first time. By the time my son was two months old, Books Abroad founders Connie Borde, Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, and Angela Fobbs had already lovingly wrapped their arms around me and recruited me to facilitate our book club meetings and lead the team.
Being a new mother in a pandemic meant a lot of solitude— witnessing milestones alone, having next to no childcare, not having family by my side through the hard times of infancy. Anyone will tell you that becoming a mother is a life altering event, but way before I became a mother, the only thing that ever consistently changed my life was literature. In fact, I often joke that every book I read changes my life. Leading Books Abroad as a new mother has been uniquely transformative because it ties together the already intense and transformative experiences of motherhood, reading great literature, and leadership.
Fall has always felt like a good time to read, as has summer, as has winter...but this fall feels as if there’s no better time to have our first ever Global Women’s Caucus Feminist Lit Fest to celebrate literature and its role in democracy, to let it bring us together, and to honor its transformative power.
We hope to see you there!
Read a bit more about the Lit Fest below and make sure to RSVP to attend events. All times CET.
- “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” film screening: Watch a screening of the seminal documentary of the Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning author, released the year of her death. *Opening Event* (Oct 3, 2:30-5:30pm)
- Writing Drop-Ins: Receive a writing prompt, then turn off your screen and write for 30 minutes. Sharing is optional. (Oct 1, 8, 15, and 22, 1-2:30pm)
- Writers on Writing Series: Angela Fobbs interviews author and media legend Audrey Edwards on her latest work, “American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the Trump Years” (Oct 5, 12-2pm)
- Writers on Writing Series: Journalist Anne Kraatz interviews Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, Muslim feminism expert Carla Power (Oct 6, 7-8:30pm)
- Simone de Beauvoir Webinar: translaters and scholars Connie Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier present the life and work of the feminist icon (Oct 11, 7-8:30pm)
- Octavia Butler Appreciation Evening: Learn about the work of the writer hailed as the mother of the Afro-futurism literary genre. Sci-fi/fantasy lovers, come one, come all! (Oct 14, 7-8:30pm)
- Writers on Writing: Former New York Times writer Alan Riding interviews author Diane Johnson on her latest work and life in the U.S and France (Oct 20, 7-8:30pm)
- Books & Cocktails Closing Event - Take on our cocktail recipes and bring your favorite book to recommend in a fun closing night event! (Oct 24, 7-8:30pm)