March is Women’s History Month, so we’re celebrating a few of the great women authors we’ve had the pleasure of working with at Santa Fe Writer’s Project, many of whom have tackled significant feminist themes. Check out the fantastic variety of work below.
Our latest is A. A. Balaskovits, who won the SFWP Literary Awards Program grand prize in 2015 for her fantastical book, Magic for Unlucky Girls, which will be published April 1. The fourteen stories that shape this collection are new twists on old fairy tales, in which Balaskovits flips male roles to focus on girls and women, making strong, brave heroines central to each narrative. Booklist wrote, “This book is for every young girl and adult woman who have ever been told a story that intentionally left them out.”
Tara Laskowski’s darkly clever series of stories Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons takes on historically proper etiquette and makes cutting social commentary through characters that are somehow cynical and optimistic at the same time. The notion of “decent” human behavior comes under sharp critique as Laskowski shapes her own “how to”s with the real world in mind, focusing on issues like adultery, obesity, dementia, infertility, and arson.
The memoir Patagonian Road: A Year Alone Through Latin America charts author Kate McCahill’s solitary path through various towns, communities, and jobs, simultaneously exploring both exterior and interior terrain. As she moves through Quito, El Salvador, and Buenos Aires, McCahill takes the reader along on her meandering journey, experiencing the unique beauty, loneliness, joy, inspiration, and pain that only travel of this kind can provoke.
Charlotte Gullick’s By Way of Water tells a story of devotion and poverty through a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses in rural California in the 1970s. The parents strain against each other with opposing ideas of survival as they struggle to survive in the wake of lost logging jobs. Called “the current John Steinbeck” by Jody Pryor, Gullick deals with the same kind of hardships suffered by often forgotten people.
In the novel Dissonance by Lisa Lenard-Cook, a parallel narrative unfolds as the lives of two women become intertwined through the theme of music. The compositions and journals of a composer end up in the hands of a piano teacher in a mysterious bequest, and they open up a story line that moves back and forth between locations and characters, past and present, as Lenard-Cook “unfolds the story of a woman musician inheriting the ‘score’ of another woman’s life.”
Pagan Kennedy’s Living: A Handbook for Maturing Hipsters is a humorous assortment of advice for the aging on subjects ranging from dating and dumpster diving to eight-track collecting and tree planting. Kennedy, AKA “the Queen of Zines,” combines a tongue-in-cheek response to Martha Stewart’s Living, with her own format through funny cartoons and articles about the difficulties of staying hip for Generation X.
A Secret Woman by Rose Solari depicts an independent painter creating a life for herself unfettered by romance. She discovers, through a box of documents, photos, and journals left behind when her estranged mother dies, a different woman than she knew when growing up. By delving into the mystery of her mother’s past, the heroine uncovers surprising truths about herself and love.