So, so, so excited to share this event and its founders/curators with you today!
This coming weekend—on Saturday, October 27—I will have the honor of joining a spectacular lineup of women authors at the Women Read/Women Write event being held at the Galleria Mall in the South Hills of Pittsburgh (my hometown…whoop! whoop!).
If you’re not yet familiar with Women Read/Women Write, it’s a very cool forum designed to bring readers and writers together. And it’s the brain child of two very talented and funny Pittsburgh writers, Gwyn Cready and Meredith Mileti (whom, you may remember, was featured on Writerhead Wednesday in August 2011 when her novel Aftertaste was first published).
Gwyn and Meredith (and I and all the other marvelous writers who will be talking at this weekend’s Women Read/Women Write event) would love for all of you book-passionate people in Pittsburgh to head to the Galleria on Saturday.
Thought you might.
Here’s a Q&A with Gwyn and Meredith that will tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful forum.
Q: What is WRWW (Women Read/Women Write)?
Gwyn: Women Read/Women Write is a forum to bring readers and writers together to celebrate the books women love, but it is essentially our attempt to capture the magic of book clubs and blow it up into a book festival.
Q: Why (& when) did you create WRWW? What was missing from the reading/book culture in Pittsburgh? What niche do you hope to fill?
Meredith: We came up with the idea in early 2011. My debut, Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses, was on the verge of coming out. Gwyn and I live in the same community, and we met through a mutual friend. I was looking for the support of other writers, and so was she. We started talking about the sense of community and shared passion one seems to always find in book clubs. Gwyn is a Rita award-winning romance novelist, so we both do a lot of book club visits. Even when women gather for events that aren’t book-related, how long does it take for the topic to turn to books? Not very long. There’s just some special effervescence that happens when you mix books and women.
Gwyn: So we said, hey, we should turn that into a book fest. How hard could that be?
Gwyn: It was a considerably harder than we expected, but everyone we talked to as we were planning thought it was such a great idea. And then the turn-out at the first Women Read/Women Write astounded us. We had chairs set up for 30 people and over 150 showed up. It really made us see we’d hit upon something that hadn’t happened before, at least in Western Pennsylvania.
Q: How has the community responded to WRWW? Where have you found support and energy?
Gwyn: Women love the idea. So do the authors. It really feels like one big grown-up slumber party or something. And the media outlets here in Pittsburgh have really given us some great coverage. We are very, very appreciative.
Q: What plans do you have for the future? (big, global, pie-in-the-sky vision AND smaller events/schedule/etc.)
Meredith: We’d certainly like to continue to grow this festival into an even bigger gathering.
Gwyn: I’m thinking Super Bowl-esque.
Meredith: Whoa, that’s a lot of folding chairs.
Gwyn: We would like to begin to offer workshops during the festival next year. At last year’s event one of our most popular panels was the writing/publishing panel. There was so much energy and enthusiasm from the audience. People asked great questions. We definitely got the sense that there are other writers out there who are looking for support.
Meredith: For that reason, we’d love to do a writers retreat at another time during the year.
Gwyn: We just want women to feel like they have a place to get really get passionate about books and writing.
Meredith: And it would be like a slumber party.
Q: Please describe the upcoming October 27 event at the Galleria in the South Hills.
Meredith: It runs from 1 pm to 5 pm on the lower level of the Galleria. We’re offering a panel discussion every hour on the half hour with some of the best writers from Pittsburgh and beyond—Edgar nominees Kathleen George and Katherine Miller Haines. New York Times bestselling authors Madeline Hunter and Gaelen Foley. Sonia Taitz and Teri Coyne are coming in from New York, and Kristin, you’re coming in from Boston. We have Casey Daniels from Cleveland, and a whole bunch of others. The complete list is at womenreadwomenwrite.com.
Gwyn: The panel topics this year are great. In “Mining Your Life”—that’s the first panel, at 1:30—we’ll talk to authors about the risks and rewards of using tough personal experiences in your writing. In “Getting Published and Staying Published” at 2:30 we’ll talk about the shifting sands of the publishing world. So much new is happening. Then at 3:30 there’s “50 Shades of Blush” on the reverberations of the 50 Shades books. And we finish with a discussion of the modern heroine in “Lisbeth vs Hermoine” at 4:30.
Meredith: And the whole thing is free! If you’re anywhere near Pittsburgh on October 27, please consider joining us.
Gwyn: Keep that magic rockin’!
Thanks, Gwyn and Meredith! See you Saturday!
BIO: Gwyn Cready, a Pittsburgh native, is the author of six romance novels. Her latest, Timeless Desire, was released in July to high praise. Cready’s second book, Seducing Mr. Darcy, was awarded the RITA Award, the most prestigious award a romance novel can win. She has been featured in USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and Real Simple, among others. Visit her at cready.com.
BIO: Meredith Mileti is a long time Pittsburgh resident. Since its release last year, Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses has garnered glowing reviews. The New York Journal of Books called Aftertaste “a keenly observed novel that is…enough to make you want to hop on the next plane to Pittsburgh… Mileti’s debut novel is as thoughtful and poignant as it is wickedly funny…” Visit her at meredithmileti.com.