Melissa Harris Perry of MSNBC interviewed Nancy L. Cohen, author of Breakthrough: The Making of America’s First Woman President, on women in politics and feminism in the 2016 election. View the full interview here.
Michele Filgate announced her new event series for women writers, Red Ink, which will debut on May 9th in New York City. The first event will feature Katherine Towler, author of the forthcoming book The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship, as well Angela Flournoy, Molly Crabapple, Leslie Jamison, and Valeria Luiselli. View the full announcement here.
The Chicago Review of Books reviewed Abby Geni‘s new book The Lightkeepers: A Novel, calling it “a haunting, brutal, rain- and blood-soaked story of humans at the mercy of nature.” Read the full review here.
Nancy L. Cohen is the author of Breakthrough: The Making of the First Woman President. We ask her five questions.
How did you get interested in writing about women in politics?
The day after the 2012 presidential election, I thought, women made the difference in this election, so where do we go from here? A few weeks later, it struck me. In 2016 the big question was almost certainly going to be, were we ready to elect a woman president?
What are you reading right now?
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, Carl Safina’s Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, and My Brilliant Friend, the first book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. But mostly obsessively binge-reading politics news and punditry.
What’s the one book that you recommend to people, over and over?
This year, it’s Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. Stunning, visceral writing about the urgent and age-old subject of American racism.
Who are some of your writer mentors? Do you find that’s changed over time as you evolve as a writer or do they remain the same?
My journey to becoming a writer ran through academia — the land where good prose goes to die. I was fortunate to have mentors, Barbara J. Fields and Eric Foner, who insisted by word and deed that history should be a literary art. So when I shifted to writing about politics in the present, I tried to hold onto that ideal. While I was writing Breakthrough, Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style came out. It’s profound, funny, instructive, and a bit revolutionary. For me, it was liberating. A must read for any nonfiction writer — and all copyeditors!
What is your most prized book possession? A first edition? A gift? Please describe.
A set of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz series, many of them first editions. They belonged to my father as a child, I consumed them as a child, and so did my daughters. The books sit together on a shelf, my dad’s photo in front, that I see every day. Politics, justice, a scrappy girl protoganist, and bloviating wizards… I guess things have come full circle.