Everything you need to know about #TLWBookChat

Always wanted to come to one of our book clubs but never quite managed to make it to University Gardens? Well, now you’ve got your chance! We’ll be hosting our first ever #TLWBookChat on Twitter next Wednesday, so you can get involved wherever you are! Continue reading “Everything you need to know about #TLWBookChat”

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Transatlantic Literary Women: Series 2 Launch

The launch night will be on Tuesday 19 September, from 5.15 – 7pm, at Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens.

As promised, we’re on our way back! We’ve been busy prepping events for the second season of the Transatlantic Literary Women series and very much hope you’ll join us.

In 2016/17 we held a total of eleven events, from bookclubs to talks, workshops, creative writing events and our summer symposium with speakers from both sides of the Atlantic. We teamed up with organisations across Glasgow, including the fabulous Scottish Writers’ Centre, Northlight Heritage and Glasgow Women’s Library. We even headed into the trenches for our Transatlantic Women and War Day at Pollok Park! Many thanks again to those who supported the first season. Details of our events are available on this website and via our Twitter account @atlantlitwomen, where you can also listen to podcasts of symposium talks, recorded by the brilliant Jamie Loggie and Mark Cunningham.

We’re all back (Laura, Marine, Louisa and Saskia), along with two new members of the team: Kari Sund and Sarah Thomson. Welcome! Read about Sarah and Kari here and here.

Here are the details for our first event:

TLW Season Two Launch and Talk. Tuesday 19 September 5-15-7. Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens.

Join us for this friendly, social event: our season two launch AND a great talk! Wine, soft drinks and snacks available, plus thirty free copies of our bookclub choice, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar to give away. And if this isn’t enough, we’re delighted to be welcoming Latinx expert Dr Eilidh Hall to give a talk ‘Spanglish as Resistance: Undoing Transatlantic Colonialism.’ We look forward to seeing you!

‘Spanglish as Resistance: Undoing Transatlantic Colonialism’ with Dr Eilidh A B Hall.

For many people in Latinx communities in the US, bi- or multilingualism is a part of everyday life. Simply put, Spanglish is a dynamic form of language made up of a conglomeration of Spanish and English dialects. And yet, to some, this is a threat to an ‘American’ culture that historically, and to this day, denies diversity and cultural complexity. This talk explores how, in an environment of intense hostility against people of Latinx heritage, Spanglish is used by activist women writers to resist the colonial erasure of their rich and diverse cultures.

Eilidh is a researcher interested in Latinx literatures and cultures. Her work focuses on Chicanx (Mexican American heritage) writings and the ways in which women negotiate their feminisms in patriarchal institutions. She is also co-jefa of The SALSA Collective, an online community for people interested in latinidades across the Americas.

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Sandra Cisneros, writer and artist
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Ana Castillo, a Mexican-American Chicana writer

For the diaries, our next two events are an Edith Wharton workshop on Wednesday 4 October 2-5pm, and our bookclub is on Tuesday 17 October at 5pm in the Gilchrist postgraduate club (entry open to all). Join us for an evening discussing Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

A Trenches Postscript and Still to Come…

Many thanks to everyone who turned out for our day in the trenches on Saturday! We were delighted to see you all at the talks, tours and workshops – and the sunshine! Huge thanks again to our speakers, Dr Hannah Tweed, Dr Alice Kelly, Anna Girling and to Dr Olivia Lelong with the amazing Digging In project. And on behalf of the whole Transatlantic Literary Women crew, we want to say a special, resounding transatlantic thank you to Marine, the TLW lead on Saturday’s event. Bravo Marine! Fantastic job!

We have three more events in the 2016-17 season of Transatlantic Literary Women and we hope you’ll join us:

There’s our final book club on Wednesday 26th April at 5.15 in 203, 4 University Gardens where the book under discussion is Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Come and discuss the adventures of Miss Lorelei Lee in a relaxed, informal, fun reading group over a glass of wine and snacks.

We’re very much looking forward to 23 May, when Dr Rachael Alexander (University of Strathclyde) will give a talk on Transatlantic Magazine Cultures (Tuesday 23 May in room 202, 4 University Gardens.) We hope you’ll join us for Rachael’s talk (refreshments available from 5; talk starts at 5.15). We’ve had a sneak preview of some of the magazine cover images Rachael will be showing from Vanity Fair and Vogue – they’re stunning! More information on the page of the event!

And, as our summer finale, we’re excited to be teaming up with the fabulous Glasgow Women’s Library for a day symposium on Saturday 3 June, with talks on Jazz Age women and advertising, Sylvia Plath, African American activists in Europe, Black Feminism across the Atlantic, a choice of workshops, and the chance to vote for your transatlantic literary woman. All this – AND a free lunch! What’s not to love? Take a look at the day’s line-up here, and find out more about the event and how to book here!

As ever, all events are free, open to all, and everyone is welcome. Please join us!

All best- Laura

February Book Club: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Americanah, 4th Estate Edition cover

We look forward to seeing you on Monday for our book club, where we’ll be discussing Adichie’s 2013 novel Americanah. Whether you’re a veteran of our launch, book club, and modernisms workshop, or if February’s book club will be the first time you’ve come to one of the events in the Transatlantic Literary Women Series, you’re very welcome! Look forward to seeing you there.

We’ll be meeting at 5.15 on Monday in the same venue as January’s book club – in room 203, on the first floor of 4 University Gardens. I know some of you will be coming straight from work (me too, after seminars on Zelda Fitzgerald and Alice James – incidentally, two other unheralded transatlantic literary women!), so we’ll provide refreshments and rustle up a few snacks. As always, we want the tone to be relaxed, informal, friendly – and fun.

The janitors do their rounds and lock the outside doors shortly after 5.15, so if you’re a bit late, don’t worry: ring the bell and we’ll come and let you in. We’ll also come down to the front door regularly in the first half hour to make sure no-one’s been left stranded.

You may have seen that votes have been cast for our third book club meeting on Monday 20 March and that the winner was Nella Larsen’s novel Passing. We’ve ordered copies from the campus bookstore. If they arrive by Monday, we’ll bring them with us to the book club to circulate (and bonus: the edition has BOTH of Larsen’s fabulous Harlem Renaissance novels – Passing and Quicksand.) If not, we’ll let everyone know when and how they can collect the free copies from the book shop. Either way, we’ll leave a few copies with the book shop for anyone unable to attend Monday’s club.

If you are unable to join us, or would like to share your impressions on Americanah, feel free to do so on the page of the event, on Twitter, or just contact us at transatlantic.women@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Look forward to seeing you soon. Happy reading!

All best- Laura

Ps: Today is the last day to send your submissions for our transatlantic student writing showcase! Please send submissions of no more than 1,500 words of prose or 3 poems (maximum reading time 5-7 minutes) to: info@scottishwriterscentre.org.uk, with Transatlantic Literary Women Series as the subject title. Please also include a brief bio.

Image: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20939933-americanah

Competition News

Thank you very much to everyone who entered our writing competition, linked to our first book club choice, Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country (1913), narrating the exploits of a certain Undine Spragg. We really enjoyed reading your entries, which – in true transatlantic literary women style—were received from both sides of the Atlantic.

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James Tissot, The Political Lady (1883 – 1885)

We asked you to write a dating profile for Undine Spragg or create one of Mrs Heeny’s newspaper clippings, writing a journalistic report on one of Undine’s parties.

There was no shortage of ideas, but we do have a winner. Congratulations to Deborah Molloy from Kent, who gives us a contemporary twist on a dating profile as Undine opts for the direct, targeted approach. Forget about being the Ambassador’s Wife!

Here’s Deborah’s winning entry. Enjoy!

I Mean To Have The Best

Dear Mr President

I am taking the unusual step of placing this personal ad as I realise that a terrifically busy man like you might not have time for niceties. I am currently between husbands, and really feel we were made for each other.  I really, truly admire the way you always get what you want, power is the biggliest thrill, don’t you think?  My daddy was a Wall Street man and I feel we speak the same language – alternative facts are the way forward.  I have always felt I belonged on Fifth Avenue; why we’re practically neighbours!  So, if you decide you want a First Lady who’s the home-made article my mamma will be happy to receive you at the Stentorian Hotel, 1 W 72nd St. Perhaps we can talk about lifting restrictions on pigeon-blood rubies.

With warmest regards,

Ms Undine Spragg-Marvell-de Chelles-Moffatt.

Many thanks to Deborah! We will be in touch with you about your customized prize. For all those interested in attending our next book club, we will be discussing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. You can pick up a copy at our Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop on Wednesday 8th February, or just email us at transatlantic.women@gmail.com to ask how to get your free book! More information can be found on the page of the event here.

See you all on Wednesday!

Laura.

PS: Feeling inspired? You can still submit your entries for our Student Creative Writing showcase until February 14th! Send your submissions of no more than 1,500 words of prose or 3 poems (maximum reading time 5-7 minutes) to: info@scottishwriterscentre.org.uk, with Transatlantic Literary Women Series as the subject title.

February Book Club: Decision Time

We’re looking forward to seeing you for our first book club meeting on Monday 30 January at 5.15 in room 203, 4 University Gardens to discuss Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country (1913). Please come and share your thoughts in a friendly, sociable group—and share a glass of wine or soft drink and nibbles. As always, everyone is welcome!

With such large numbers at our launch, we have booked an extra room in 4 University Gardens, so that we can have two groups if necessary and we will of course all join together at the beginning and the end for chat and refreshments. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

The TLW team chose the first text to kick things off, but future selections are all yours! So, now we need YOU to tell us which book we will all be reading for our second book club meeting, scheduled for Monday 20 February. Make sure your voice is heard! Thank you for the great feedback on the launch and the terrific book club suggestions for future meetings. We have taken three suggestions from the feedback forms for the shortlist for the Feb. book club. We will carry all suggestions forward, so if yours isn’t on the shortlist this time, it may well be on subsequent lists – and do please keep your suggestions coming via Twitter, Facebook or email.

Below are some information on February’s shortlist. How will this work? Louisa will be setting up Twitter and Facebook polls. If you’re not on Twitter you can email us instead: transatlantic.women@gmail.com. If you’re on none of those, then I am deeply envious and please just let us know in person.

So that we can make arrangements and order free copies of the book selected, we need you to cast your vote by Friday 27 January. We look forward to reading and discussing the book with the most votes!

Choice One: Nella Larsen, Quicksand

A writer of the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen published just two novels, and a handful of short stories. Quicksand, written in 1928, is her first novel, introducing us to Helga Crane, a mixed race woman caught between fulfilling her desires and gaining respectability. Critically acclaimed, Larsen’s work speaks powerfully of the contradictions and restrictions experienced by black women. She has been described as a trailblazer in writing about the conflicts of sexuality, race and the secret suffering of women in the early twentieth century. Alice Walker calls Larsen’s work “Absolutely absorbing, fascinating and indispensable”:

“Somewhere, within her, in a deep recess, crouched discontent. She began to lose confidence in the fullness of her life, the glow began to fade from her conception of it. As the days multiplied, her need of something, something vaguely familiar, but which she could not put a name to and hold for definite examination, became almost intolerable. She went through moments of overwhelming anguish. She felt shut in, trapped.” Quicksand

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Nella Larsen (1891 – 1963)

Choice Two: Zelda Fitzgerald, Save Me the Waltz

Zelda Fitzgerald? Just the mad wife of the famous author of The Great Gatsby right? Wrong. A writer and painter in her own right, Zelda Fitzgerald published a single novel, Save Me the Waltz. When Scott Fitzgerald read a draft, he was incandescent, accusing his wife of plagiarising material from the novel on which he was working, Tender is the Night. Save Me the Waltz was extensively rewritten and published in 1932 to lukewarm reviews. Subsequently described as “one of the great literary curios of the twentieth century” and almost always read biographically as a portrait of the Fitzgeralds’ marriage, Save Me the Waltz is set in the United States and Europe and tells the story of Southern girl Alabama Beggs, her marriage to painter David Knight and her struggle to achieve her own artistic success:

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”

“But I warn you, I am only really myself when I’m somebody else whom I have endowed with these wonderful qualities from my imagination.”

Choice Three: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Americanah (2013) is the award winning best seller by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who lived on both sides of the Atlantic: in Nigeria and the USA. The novel traces the story of Ifemelu, a young woman who moves from military occupied Lagos to the USA to study at University. The novel deals with contemporary politics, including 9/11, but it is also a ‘timeless’ (Wiki) love story. According to the Guardian, ‘Some novels tell a great story and others make you change the way you look at the world. Americanah does both.’

Here’s a quote from the book to give you a flavour of this particular offering: ‘her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out’. Americanah also offers a useful tip for reading groups!

‘If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.’

If you’ve already picked your favorite, you can cast your vote via Twitter, on our Facebook page, or just send us an email!

Saskia

It’s Happening: Post-launch Impressions and Book Club Updates

Hello!

How are you?

It was a pleasure to see you all last Monday! We definitely didn’t expect so many of you to join us, and even if there weren’t quite enough chairs, we had food and wine aplenty to make up for it! For those of you who missed it, highlights of the evening included a free book giveaway, and some speeches from the committee.

Laura introduced the guests to the TLW project and team, and went on to speak about Edith Wharton and The Custom of the Country. I spoke about Wharton and expatriation, and Louisa and Saskia presented our future events, including the book club sessions, workshop in February, and our future event in the trenches… Saskia read H.D.’s poem ‘Oread‘ to set the note of our student writing showcase. We also had the chance to speak to some of you about other future events, at the University, and elsewhere, including an upcoming discussion of Angela Carter! More about our March and April events in another post…

The launch was first and foremost a great opportunity to know your impressions and start taking the series to the next step with you. In the comments you left, you mentioned your desire for diversity, for cross-disciplinary events and debates, and for inspiring expat women writers. Many of you contributed their suggestions for the book club. We will present you with a selection of books to vote for on Twitter in a few days. If you don’t already, follow us on @atlantlitwomen to have your say. Suggestions included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nella Larsen and Zelda Fitzgerald. If you have any other idea, drop us a line! If you don’t already, follow us on @atlantlitwomen to have your say, as we will soon be voting to choose our next selection!

Finally, we hope that you’re enjoying reading The Custom of the Country. We have now updated our Facebook page, and created an event for our session on January 30th: you can find it here. To make this a collective experience, why not post about your first impressions, or, even better, think about entering our Wharton writing competition? There will be a prize and winning submissions will be posted here. We look forward to knowing what you make of Undine’s antics…

Marine.