Day 17 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Caroline Grant & Suzanna Kamata

by @thewritermama on May 17, 2011 · 21 comments

Today is Literary Mama Day, which means we are welcoming some of our friends from over at Literary Mama to participate—hooray! I’m very pleased to have Caroline Grant and Suzanna Kamata presenting their latest books. Comment to win and I’ll choose a winner for each book.

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Caroline M. Grant is the Editor-in-Chief and a movie columnist for Literary Mama. She is also co-editor, with Elrena Evans, of the anthology Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers University Press, 2008). She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught classes on film, women’s studies, American literature, and writing; she has also taught at Stanford University and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her essays have been published in a number of journals and anthologies. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons; she writes about family on her blog and, with Lisa Harper, about food at Learning to Eat. Visit her website for more information, including clips from her radio and television events.

Mama, PhD is a literary anthology of personal narratives by women both in and out of the academy, writing about their experiences attempting to reconcile bodies with brains. The anthology voices stories of academic women choosing to have, not have, or delay children. The essays in this anthology speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family, and make recommendations on how to make the academy a more family-friendly workplace.

1. How has writing (either just the act of writing or writing this book or both) impacted your self-confidence?

Writing my contributions to Mama, PhD and editing the collection confirmed that I made the right decision, when I became a mother, to leave higher education and pursue an independent writing life. Getting my first book published relatively easily was a great boost of self-confidence, but I know my experience was also an anomaly, so now I am relying on the confidence I developed and the knowledge I gained in that process as I shop my second book.

2. What are three words that describe your creative book-writing process?

Wide-ranging, detail-oriented, deadline-driven!

3. What good has your book created in the world?

We wanted Mama, PhD both to enlighten people about the challenges facing mothers who work in higher education, and to lobby for change. Since the book came out, we—both editors and contributors—have spoken at schools, conferences and bookstores and are continuing to develop a network of people working to improve the lives of parents working in higher education. The book has provoked great conversations that have motivated policy changes at schools around the country.

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Suzzana Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is most recently from Lexington, South Carolina, and now lives in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan with her husband and two children. Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications including New York Stories, Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, Pleiades, Kyoto Journal, The Utne Reader, The Japan Times, Brain, Child, Skirt!, Ladybug and Cicada. Her work also appears in the anthologies Yaponesia, The Beacon Best of 1999, It’s a Boy, It’s a Girl, Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined, Not What I Expected and Summer Shorts. Formerly fiction editor of Being A Broad, a magazine for foreign women living in Japan, she now serves as fiction editor for the popular e-zine Literary Mama, and edits and publishes the literary magazine Yomimono. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a special mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/​Wingspan Fiction Contest.

Previously published in literary magazines and journals, this collection of stories about expatriates in Cuba, Egypt, Australia, Japan, and France confront universal matters of the heart. “The Beautiful One Has Come” is about a young Japanese woman, who nurtures an obsession with Nefertiti—with tragic results. In “Polishing The Halo,” an American mother in Japan grapples with news of her daughter’s disability, while in “Mandala,” an eccentric Japanese doctor provides an unlikely haven for a newly divorced expat.

1. How has writing (either just the act of writing or writing this book or both) impacted your self-confidence?

Finishing a story always gives me a sense of accomplishment, even though there may be many more drafts down the road. In the writing of these stories, no one was holding me to a deadline, and as I was the mother of small children, there were many obstacles and distractions. I feel proud of myself for having written them in spite of everything.

2. What are three words that describe your creative book-writing process?

lengthy, messy, dreamy

3. What good has your book created in the world?

Hopefully the readers of these stories will come away with a greater understanding of people of other cultures. My goal is to increase the amount of empathy in the world.

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Suzanne said that her goal with her writing is, “to increase the amount of empathy in the world.” What is your goal with your writing? Either with an individual piece you are working on right now or with your writing career in general?

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! Have you told ten friends about the giveaway yet?

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