Tuesday, March 17, 2015

'Whom You are Shapes What You Make': Literary Women

(blog title attributed to Aimee Bender's interpretation of a Flannery O'Connor quote)

On Saturday, I attended my first Literary Women: The Long Beach Festival of Authors conference. Many more women than I anticipated were there, all bonded in their love for books, whether they are writers themselves or just bibliophiles who appreciate the written word and consume it voraciously like I do.

I happen to fall into both categories: a writer who is halfway finished editing her essay collection, Yes Girl, and a reader who sees new books as year-round Christmas presents and has a stack of at least five unread, pristine tomes at any given time on her nightstand.

Attendees of Literary Women at the Long Beach Convention Center

Esteemed authors there included Kate Christensen, whose latest work is scheduled for publication in the fall: How to Cook a Mouse; Cristina Henriquez, with a 2014 novel titled The Book of the Unknown Americans; Sloane Crosley, a witty essayist whose first novel, The Clasp, is scheduled to debut later this year; Jennifer Clement, whose latest novel, Prayers for the Stolen, is the culmination of 11 years of research on the widespread trafficking of girls, and short story extraordinaire Aimee Bender of The Color Master and others.