Reading, Writing, and Research Make Women Authors Evening a Success Story
Research and creativity were key to WPI's hosting the Women Authors Evening, which supported the Central Mass. YWCA. The event raised funds for Daybreak, the YWCA’s domestic violence service program.
Thirteen years ago, Jean King, Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences at WPI, relied on art, research, and community to boost Daybreak, and take care of women in Worcester. “We wanted a signature event to recognize women in different ways,” she said. “And what better way to do that than through artists?”
Since then, the Women Authors Evening has become an annual occasion. The creativity began early afternoon of April 11 when Boston author Anita Diamant visited WPI’s “Travel Writing” class, taught by Kate McIntyre, assistant professor of creative writing. Diamant, known for her award-winning novel, The Red Tent, workshopped students’ travel writing essays and imparted advice for their future projects: Do your research while dipping into creative writing. “The more you know about something," she said, "the more you understand about the world, and the richer the experience you’ll have.”
Later that evening, Diamant joined a panel composed of New England authors Carrie Johnson (the Muriel Mabley mystery series), Margot Livesey (The Hidden Machine), and Hank Phillippi Ryan, mystery author and investigative reporter for 7News Boston.
Following the panel discussion, attendees were able to purchase the authors’ books and have them autographed; they also browsed and purchased some of the artwork on display.
The evening was a success with 150 attendees and over $6,000 raised for Daybreak through ticket and art sales, and sponsorships.
Kate McIntyre, left, assistant professor of creative writing, and author Anita Diamant.
Anita Diamant shares with students the different resources that are available for research before writing a creative piece. “You have the Internet, of course,” she said. “But there’s something about reading in the library that’s serendipitous. You have great access to things there.”
Anita Diamant workshops students’ travel writing essays, and shares the reasons why she writes. “I write to figure out what I’m thinking,” she said. “If there’s something happening in the world, I try to figure out what I want to say about it, how I can get people mad about it.”
Before the panel, guests mingled and viewed and purchased artwork created by artists Mary Keefe, Cynthia Woehrle, Sally Bowditch, and Susan Black.
Jean King, Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences, welcomed guests and authors in her opening remarks. She also closed out the evening by thanking all four authors for “inviting us to the living room” to talk about books and writing.
The Women Authors panel featured (left to right) Hank Philippi Ryan, award-winning mystery author and investigative reporter for 7News Boston, and who moderated the panel; Carrie Johnson, author of the Muriel Mabley mystery series; Margot Livesey, “Best Fiction” award winner and author of Mercury and The Hidden Machine; and Anita Diamant, author of the award-winning novel The Red Tent, and The Boston Girl.
Attendees responding to Hank Philippi Ryan’s question, “How many of you are writing a book?” While not all hands were raised, the evening brought in about 150 guests. Ticket sales and event sponsorships raised a total of $6,200 for Daybreak, the YWCA’s domestic violence service program.
Attendees purchased the authors’ books and had them signed after the panel.