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  • “We are a woman-owned publishing company and we are actively seeking diversity in terms of our authors and characters.” I'm honored to support the quite excellent Green Writers Press and thankful to The Brooklyn Rail for making this fab piece happen.

    Please do check out "Verdant Voices: The Women of Green Writers Press" at The Brooklyn Rail here, and please let me know if you would like to learn more about any of these books or any of these authors (or any other of the many terrific Green Writers Press books or authors) any further because we will so make that happen. Please also enjoy some excerpt below.
     

    Rail: Megan, I know it was critical to you to work with women as your poetry touches on some difficult subjects of mental illness and sexual assault. As female authors, how do you think working with the female leadership of the press and beside other female authors through this whole process has impacted your journey to authorship?

    Alice: Working beside other women has impacted me in the sense that I would not have written about the injustices of being a woman had I not been around and seen all of these injustices that other women face. Some of the stories in my book are not just from my personal experience, but also from my sister’s and my mom’s. Women, as a collective, have similar stories that are being told in the #MeToo Movement. These are stories that we universally connect with and feel the need to share because they are important. These are stories that must be told.

    I would not have wanted to publish my book through anything other than a female-centered company. It would not have felt right to me any other way because so much of my book is based on the experiences of women. I am a woman and half of my donations are going to Planned Parenthood, so of course I want to work with women through this whole process. My literary agent is a fantastic woman, and so is Dede, and my editor. I think women empowering other women is one of the things that this world really needs right now.

    Epstein: Working with a female editor at a women-owned press definitely impacted my writing process. In one of the chapters in my book, I discuss body-image and what it was like living with my father as an adolescent and teenager, as well as not having my mother present in my life to guide me through those challenging years.

    I think working with a female editor made it easier for me to come out of my comfort zone and write more explicitly and honestly about some very painful subjects that still affect me as an adult. I'm not sure I would have felt as comfortable working with a male editor. This is not to say that I think men lack the capacity or empathy to discuss these issues openly and honestly, or that men are not affected by body image issues—of course they are! However, I do think perhaps, that it is a more relatable subject for women then for men.

    Kunin: Well I don’t think gender always plays a huge role [in the editorial relationship], but in the case of my book, it made a difference that Dede understood what I was getting at. I think some men could capture that too; I don’t think you have to be a female person, but it helps.

    Watkins: I always find working with women such an enriching experience. I developed close relationships with Christine Eberle and two other women who haven’t published yet. We bounced ideas off each other, supported each other when we thought we couldn’t do this anymore, and have continued to support each other as we move through this process. At home, my writing group is primarily female and we support each other not just in our writing but in the real world as well. Women are just there for each other in ways that men are not.

  • "The novel takes an honest look at what it means to be an authentic person once all of the trappings of societal norms have been stripped away." Let's talk Victoria Falls by James Hornor. Reviews, interviews, think pieces and hype would be nice as well.

    As the universe inexplicably continues to chug along despite, or is it in spite, of the current state of the world, I'm really honored to support efforts to bring Victoria Falls by James Hornor out into the wider world. To quote his interview at The Rumpus:

    The Rumpus: One of your protagonists shares your name, so I’m assuming some of this story is autobiographical. How much of this story is based on your own experiences? Why then did you choose to write and publish this story in 2019, at this tumultuous point in America’s social and political climate?

    James Hornor: I went to Africa in 1994 as a consultant to the World Bank, so parts of this story are autobiographical. Like James Monroe, I had gone through a painful divorce and I was in somewhat of an identity crisis. Most men define their lives through their family and the accomplishments of their career, so in my early forties I began to look for my true identity as a man and as a human being as opposed to being defined by my “trophies” of accomplishment, power, and position.

    The novel takes an honest look at what it means to be an authentic person once all of the trappings of societal norms have been stripped away. James Monroe discovers a side of himself that had been suppressed or hidden. He discovers his capacity to be vulnerable and selfless. He essentially redefines manhood by allowing those previously dormant qualities of unconditional love and ongoing care for others to emerge as the new markers of manhood.

    This story is timely and relevant for 2019 since we are living in a political and societal culture where manhood is being defined by traditional role models in terms of wealth, power, and authority over others. Having these markers as the default definition of manhood is inculcating a message of confusion and doubt to an entire generation of young men who are the age of my fourteen-year-old son. By propagating the idea that self-worth is defined by power over others, today’s teens are made to believe that compassion and empathy are signs of weakness.

    So, it is our responsibility to introduce them to opposing narratives where power mongering and greed are revealed as gross insecurities and where authenticity and empathy are championed as the way of courage.

    I couldn't agree more. Further, I don't think this book could be more timely. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions and/or are interested in reviewing the book, interviewing the author, writing think pieces or generally engaging in the hype we're looking to generate for this most timely of books. For much more on all things Victoria Falls please do go here.