The Boom Project: Voices of a Generation started with a grumble. Two Louisville baby boomers, Kimberly Garts Crum and Bonnie Omer Johnson, were frustrated that literary journals, anthologies, and writing contests wanted writing that was edgy, fresh, experimental, and modern. “We are not fresh, edgy, or experimental,” Crum writes in the book’s introduction. “And we are not modern, unless you consider the term ‘mid-century modern.’”
The women put out a call for submissions across the Ohio River Valley for a new kind of collection—one that celebrates baby boomer experiences and perspectives. The result is an extraordinary anthology, filled with writing that is provocative, lush, witty, and accessible.
Published by Butler Books and edited by Savvy Communication, The Boom Projectdebuts August 6 at the Presbyterian Union luncheon at Louisville’s Vincenzo’s restaurant. Other events this month include August 13, at Pittsburgh’s White Whale Bookstore, and August 17 at the Mason-Nordgauer Fine Arts Gallery in New Harmony, Indiana. On August 24, the book officially launches in Louisville at Captain’s Quarters, 11:30 to 2 p.m. Featured Louisville writers will read poetry, fiction and memoir; $16 for lunch. For more information or to RSVP, see The Boom Project on Facebook
When cozy mystery writer Daisy Pettles lost her book-loving mother earlier this year, she decided to honor her in a special way. Daisy established a writing retreat in her mother’s vintage 1920s’ arts-and crafts-bungalow in Bedford, Indiana. She is offering two month-long retreats in 2020, plus $1,000 stipends.
Women ages (or individuals who identify as women) 40+ writing in a range of categories can apply. See details at https://daisypettleswritingcontest.com.
After almost six years of research and writing, I am thrilled to announce that University Press of Kentucky will be publishing my historical nonfiction book, Under the Vine and Fig Tree: Slavery, Freedom, and Ties That Bind.
Sixteen thousand black people—freeborn or freed from slavery—left the United States in the 1800s and sailed for Liberia, Africa. They were escaping America’s oppression and bigotry and seeking freedom, peace, and security in a new land. It was the largest out-migration in American history. The so-called colonization movement was highly controversial. Some black people supported it; others vehemently opposed it. Some white people, including slave owners, supported it; others opposed it. The land where these colonists settled was home to numerous indigenous groups, some of whom welcomed the newcomers and others who battled with them.
On the day after Independence Day 1836, two families from Kentucky, the Majors and Harlans, set sail aboard the Luna. They landed in Bassa Cove, Liberia, several weeks later. Though of African descent, they were not African and were ill-prepared for the disease, dangers, and disasters that awaited them. Their former owner had taught them to read and write, and for fifteen years, they maintained a correspondence with him. Their surviving letters form the heart of Under the Vine and Fig Tree.
The book will be in the University Press of Kentucky spring 2020 catalog.