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By Hedgebrook Guest

How I became a Radical Black Feminist

A day after the Oscars there is a media frenzy over the Patricia Arquette acceptance speech at the Oscars, where she called for an end to the wage disparity between men and women in the United States. I do not think that anyone can argue about whether that part of her speech was wrong in any way. However it seems her back stage comments resulted in a furor because she states that gays and people of color should join them in the fight for wage equality, the same way that they (white women presumably) fought for them.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Why Receiving a No from Hedgebrook Was a Yes

December 19, 2014:

Dear Katarina,

Thank you so much for applying for a 2015 Hedgebrook residency.

We received 1,466 applications for 2015 and are able to offer 40 residencies. Though your application did not advance into the final round this year, we want you to know that your work resonated with our reviewers.

Sending your work into the world is an act of bravery, and we appreciate the opportunity for our reviewers to experience your voice.

We’d like to share our selection process with you, so you know the thoughtful time and attention your work received. Two Hedgebrook alumnae, who take their role in this process to heart, read your application and collaborated to select applications to continue further into the adjudication process. All applications are anonymous, and any reviewer who recognizes an applicant will recuse herself. Applicants who advance are reviewed by a three-member committee of readers in cities across the country, and then by a five member selection committee in the final round.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Ghosts, Daughters, and Heartbreak: Some books to read in 2015

Here are some must-reads for me in 2015. Yes, they’re all books by Pacific Northwest women I know and admire. Lucky me. Lucky you if you decide to read these books, too.


The Ghosts Who Travel With Me, Ooligan Press, by Allison Green

Smitten as a young adolescent with Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, Allison Green explores her fascination with the book, the author, and the Sixties as she take us on a literary pilgrimage to the Idaho towns Brautigan visited, the streams he fished, and the woods he camped in during the summer of 1967. It’s a pilgrimage that leads her to reflect on her family history, her own identity as a lesbian and a writer, and the meaning of place.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

My Favorite Rejection Letter

I’ve been submitting my writing for publication for exactly fifteen years now. My first ever submission, to a small local journal, was mailed on January 10, 2000. On February 1, I submitted a short piece to a local contest. I never heard back from either.

On February 12, 2000, I mailed a submission to another local contest. I received a phone call shortly thereafter that I had won. I still remember playing the message back several times on the old answering machine. You know the kind that beeps and clicks and rewinds the miniature cassette tape, which ceaselessly fascinates the cat?

My 8th submission that year resulted in a Hedgebrook residency. My 14th resulted in being published by the esteemed journal Calyx.

Not bad for a first year. But consider that with three acceptances, I also collected eleven rejections.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Juxtapositions at Hedgebrook

Because I’m a fine-arts photographer as well as a poet, I frequently get asked if my photography somehow illustrates my poems. Do the images and the words come from the same place? For years now, I have known my “photographic” and “poetic” minds to run parallel and close, related but different in a way I can’t quite articulate. My latest chapbook, “Abraham’s Voices,” was my first attempt at marrying the two impulses–but the kudos go to my wonderful editor, friend, and fellow Hedgebrook alumna Lana Ayers, who saw the way for some scant pages of poetry to become a chapbook with the addition of photographs. Still, people tell me how “poetic” my photographs are, and how strikingly visual most of my poetry. Surely there is some connection?

As a photographer who persists in shooting film (and old-fashioned medium-format film at that), I have been dragged to the digital age grudgingly. It was through the film-like images I could get with my smartphone that I came around to digital photography. I now carry my cell phone at all times, not as a communications device but as an ubiquitous camera. So I had it with me every second at Hedgebrook this past October. As I walked through the grounds I took pictures of the trees, the mosses, wheelbarrows by the outbuildings. I took photos of the beach at Double Bluff, the white fences and the changing colors of the neighboring farms’ deciduous trees. I have lived 5 miles away from Hedgebrook for almost 20 years, but that didn’t stop me from photographing everything anew.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

Buy books. Give books. Read books. Share books.


What you read matters.

We at Hedgebrook want to wish all of our writers, readers and supporters Happy Holidays and some time this season to take the opportunity to curl up with a good book. Need a suggestion? Keep reading…

Want to make a difference in the life of a writer? Buy books. Give books. Read books. Share books. With more than 1,500 alumnae, we couldn’t possibly compile a comprehensive list of all of their amazing works. Beyond books, Hedgebrook writers author songs, films, plays, articles, poems, graphic novels, and more. The lists below are just a sampling of the amazing work coming from the Hedgebrook community. We’ll be sharing more book lists in the coming year, so stay connected and keep reading.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

A New Writing Retreat in Walla Walla

I feel oddly indebted to a less fortunate unnamed writer, without whose misfortune I wouldn’t have enjoyed one of the most satisfying experiences of my life: attending Claiming Your Truth, with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, last year. I’d applied when the class was already full and so I was waitlisted. And then the call came on Sunday afternoon, with the retreat already in progress: A writer had fallen and broken her leg. Would I be interested in taking her spot? My husband had invited nine of his colleagues over for dinner the following night, Monday—associates from all over the world. Cook or leave my husband in the lurch and go off and retreat? I was ready to beg and cook in advance. My wonderful husband quickly assented and lasagnas, appetizers and salads were hurriedly prepared. I was going to Hedgebrook for six days to write. Just to write. To give and receive feedback on writing. In the company of writers.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Holding Each Other Up Hedgebrook Style

“We’ll need to hold each other up.” That’s what Anita Gail Jones Roerick (Fir 94) wrote in an email when I informed her of my plan to launch a support group for women writing our first books. I hadn’t met her; all I knew was that she was a Hedgebrook alum (94).

In the fall of 2009, shortly after my first summer residency, Hedgebrook staff spearheaded the formation of leadership councils in a number of cities. I had the good fortune of attending a meeting and becoming part of the council in the Bay Area. The Hedgebrook Mothership, as we called it, was somewhat vague about what it wanted councils to do and gave us space to coordinate activities that grew organically out of the interests of local alums.

  Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

What You Read Matters

Who’s on your reading list?

On a daily basis we encounter various perspectives in the news we read online, our literary entertainment, the movies we see, and the songs we hear. Often, who we hear from is just as important as the message itself.

According to recent statistics, women make up the majority of those writing, reading and buying books, but are significantly less likely to be published or reviewed by major literary establishments. Only 17% of plays produced around the US are written by women. Women accounted for only 10% of the workforce of film writers in 2014.

We believe that storytellers shape our culture, and that who gets to tell the story is a critical question.

  Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

Bookshelves Full of Women Writers

When I was a little girl growing up in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, I was convinced that I would grow up to be president.

I was an only child and attracted to situations where I was in charge. While some might call it bossiness, I’d prefer to reframe it as early evidence of leadership skills.

Always eager to raise my hand with the correct answer, I was straight A student in school. I savored parent teacher conferences, as I would ask to sit in on them, so I could be showered with the praise of my teachers.   Read more

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