Doris Lessing: Teaching Us to Imagine

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In 1978, I went to England on sabbatical to finish writing a book. I shipped two boxes of books from California to Cambridge, heavy tomes about Shakespeare and the Renaissance.  The boxes remained unopened while I read and re-read a Bantam paperback of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, read it so voraciously that the cover […]

Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize, Now Go Read Her Books!

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It was announced yesterday that Canadian short-fiction writer Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Munro published her first collection of stories nearly half a century ago and has since published over a dozen books. Her latest, Dear Life, won the International Man Booker Prize and is to be her last book. The […]

Real Name of Slave Novelist Unearthed

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Nearly 150 years after one of the earliest known slave narratives was written, the real author’s identity has finally been unearthed. The discovery preserves writer Hannah Bond’s legacy and her distinct fictionalized account of life as a color-conscious fugitive slave in antebellum America. Previously known by her pseudonym, Hannah Crafts, Bond grew up on a […]

Fighting Violence with Joy: An Interview with Eve Ensler

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For decades, feminist revolutionary Eve Ensler has combined art, activism and her unrelenting passion to oppose the violence against women and girls that pervades our world. Widely known for her play The Vagina Monologues, her most recent written work—the memoir In the Body of the World—combines heartbreaking and inspiring stories of women from the Democratic […]

An Exquisite War on War

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In her previous novels, including Cost, Roxana Robinson more than earned her merit badge as explorer of the gnarly beast that is a family in crisis. Her stunning new novel, Sparta, covers this same turf through 26-year-old Marine Conrad Farrel’s return home. The novel opens with a simple line—“There was a change in the engine […]

A Firsthand Novel of Surreal Afghanistan

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Every once in a while, a book comes along that makes you want to wrest even your own work from readers’ hands and command that they instead read this. Masha Hamilton’s What Changes Everything is that kind of amazing. Hamilton has experience as a war correspondent, spouse and mother, and it is in part the […]

X-Women and the Power of Geek Girls

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In a groundbreaking step for the comic book world, X-Men has finally released its first all-women superhero team. Marvel‘s latest issue of X-Men #1, Vol. 4, brings together six female mutants—Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey and Psylocke—at the woman-named Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to form a mold-breaking ensemble, both for the 50-year-old X-Universe as […]

Surprising Similarities: Sandberg’s “Lean In” and Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique”

For six weeks in the spring of 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In topped the New York Times bestselling nonfiction list. About exactly 50 years before, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique accomplished the same feat. The timing may be a coincidence, but it is not accidental that Sandberg’s work resonates with Friedan’s book: According to Jodi […]

The Next Step In Fighting Street Harassment? A Comic Book.

HollabackPHILLY, a branch of the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback!, hasn’t taken many breaks in the last few months. They’ve placed campaign posters on Philly subway trains, have met with companies about removing pro-harassment messages from their advertising and, last Thursday, the group sent their newly finished anti-street harassment comic book to the printer. Hollaback! started in 2005 […]

The Feminist Writing Life of Marge Piercy

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A longtime favorite of feminists, author/poet/social activist Marge Piercy wrote a short story, “Saving Mother From Herself,” that we published in the last issue of Ms. magazine—it’s about a women who resists her family’s efforts to clean up what they consider her messy life. We talked to Piercy about the story, her writing and her […]