Writer in Residence Series: A Home in the World
Writer in Residence Series: A Home in the World
This reading features three authors writing in and through experiences of making and sustaining family at the intersections of personal, economic, and societal pressures. The seed of this event was planted earlier this year with the release of Karen Zilberstein’s Parents Under Pressure by the local small press, Leveller’s, out of Amherst. Zilberstein’s book chronicles six families in Western Massachusetts in close detail to both the lived experience and material circumstances that shape and often determine the capacity and potential for thriving when systems of care and support fail. I’ve been calling this reading A Home in the World for the way Zilberstein’s work emerges from a record of struggle to suggest ways of building resiliency in community, an ethic echoed in the work of Kathy Harrison and Cammie McGovern. Each author of this evening is engaged in efforts, on the page and off, to redefine tired narratives of lack and loss that can lead to shame, despondency, and overwhelm. In Harrison’s memoirs about her history as a foster parent, in McGovern’s work that centers the experiences of children and their loved ones as they find ways to meet each other’s needs fruitfully within destabilizing narratives of disability, there are opportunities for hope, repair, and sustenance for pushing back and beyond the inequities found in the everyday. Each author will read from their work and stay for a question and answer section at the end.
Cammie McGovern is the author of two books for young adults, Say What You Will and A Step Toward Falling, and two books for middle-grade readers, Just my Luck and Chester and Gus. All feature young people with a variety of disabilities at the center. She has been widely honored for her work advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and her books have been called “joyful, inspiring and unforgettable,” by Katherine Applegate. She has also written three adult novels and is one of the proud founders of Whole Children/Milestones, a resource center for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She lives in Amherst, MA with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.
Kathy Harrison is a former foster parent, adoptive parent and author of two books, Another Place At The Table and One Small Boa about her experiences caring for some of the state's most vulnerable children. She and her husband, Bruce, were Massachusetts Foster Parents of the Year in 1996. In 2002, they won the Goldie Rogers award for their work with children impacted by foster care. She has also won the People Magazine Heroes Among Us award and the Ellen Sedlis award for her work with children. Kathy is still active in the foster care community, leading MAPP groups and other trauma related trainings.
Karen Zilberstein, is a practicing psychotherapist and Clinical Director of the Northampton, MA chapter of A Home Within, a national nonprofit that provides pro bono psychotherapy for individuals who have experienced foster care. She worked as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Smith College School for Social Work for 12 years, where she taught and coordinated the Child Development Team. She is the author of the award winning book, Parents Under Pressure: Struggling to Raise Children in an Unequal America and co-author of a children’s book entitled Calming Stormy Feelings: A Child’s Introduction to Psychotherapy, as well as numerous, academic journal articles.
Our Work and Why We Do It is the Forbes Library’s Writer in Residence reading series. This series is interested in exploring the ways in which the written word may create and sustain social worlds through inquiry, practice, experimentation, story and lyric. The dynamic of the public library, open and variegated in its uses, is the ideal space for these questions, as it can so directly reflect the desires of a community that contributes to it's thriving, operating as an archive of those needs. Regardless of genre, this series believes in the potential for deliberation that writing may produce, a space within the information saturated world we share where we might consider possibilities and deeper questions just beyond what we know.
The series features writers of prose, poetry, nonfiction, and memoir, and beneath these broad categories, constellations of subgenres and forms. The series is motivated by an interest in understanding how writing relates to work, to a sense of a collective project that seeks to respond to the political and social forms that produce it. Against dithering, the series hopes to affirm the role of creative written work as a measure of response to the exigencies that shape our world.
Curated and moderated by Forbes writer in residence Art Middleton, the series meets in the Coolidge Museum.
- Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Show more dates
- 7:00pm - 8:30pm
- Coolidge Museum