Farewell to a position: SSAWW VP for Publications

cropped-ssaww2I’ve been VP of Publications for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers since the summer of 2008, when Karen Kilcup told me about the new position and tapped me to serve.  This summer, as of July 31, 2016,  I’m leaving the position in the capable hands of Leslie Allison as the new officers take over under the excellent guidance of our new president, DoVeanna Fulton. (Please read her President’s Message in the new issue of the newsletter; it’s full of great ideas.)

I’ll miss working with SSAWW and with the stellar officers there–Karen, Deb Clarke, Dick Ellis, Kristin Jacobson, Heidi Hanrahan, Melissa Homestead, Karen Wyler, Rita Bode, Sarah Robbins, Maria Sanchez, Carolyn Sorisio, Koritha Mitchell, Beth Lueck, Miranda Green-Barteet, the late Karen Dandurand, Jordan von Cannon, and the board members, among others.

Except for the author society web pages and my 8-year stint as Regional Chapters Chair for the ASA, this is the longest-serving professional office I’ve had.  In the summer of 2008, I built the web site based on the originals from Dawn Keetley and Karen Kilcup and created a logo (above) similar to the original one.

In 2013, I moved the site to WordPress. Instead of a static repository, the site became more nimble and informational in nature as it pushed messages out to Twitter and Facebook; also, the news site is more collaborative, so that more of us could share in the posting. I chose the most minimal (and free) WordPress theme available to minimize the load time on mobile phones and modified it to suit our SSAWW needs.

So, for those playing along at home,  here are some numbers:

  • 13 newsletters
  • 2271 followers across Facebook, Twitter, and those following WordPress
  • 700 subscribers to ssaww-l
  • about 78,036 site views last year, up from 2014’s 47,586
  • number of new books announced, jobs, calls for papers, grants, fellowships: well, a lot, many posted by other SSAWW officers, especially Kristin Jacobson

I’ll be drawing back gradually as Leslie takes over and, I hope, that’ll give me more time to post to this neglected professional blog.  Thanks, SSAWW!



A little history on the SSAWW Newsletter

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.22.12 AMThe Fall 2015 SSAWW Newsletter is now available at the SSAWW site:


Since 2008 when I took over as SSAWW VP for Publications and newsletter editor, it has grown from 8 to 28 pages, largely because the members generously voted in 2010 to discontinue the paper version in favor of a web version.

Switching to the web had many benefits, as the members realized.

For one thing, all the money that used to go to printing now goes to the SSAWW Graduate Student Travel Fund. Eliminating printing meant eliminating a lot of paper waste, too, for a greener option.

The newsletter uses color now, which would have been too expensive pre-web, and the New Books pages added to the newsletter in 2011 are much more attractive in color.  The template is in Pages (an old version), and I chose the reddish header color so that it would align with the colors of Legacy (http://legacywomenwriters.org/).

If you want to see any of the back issues from 2008 on, they’re here: https://ssawwnew.wordpress.com/membership/newsletter/

Unfortunately, we don’t have any copies of issues prior to 2008, when the newsletter was edited by its founder and my wonderful predecessor, Karen Dandurand, for whom the SSAWW Lifetime Achievement Award is named: https://ssawwnew.wordpress.com/awards/  If you have copies, we’d like to scan them and put them on the site, so please contact me.

SSAWW-NW Meeting, October 18

Elizabeth_stuart_phelps_wardThe SSAWW-Pacific Northwest Study Group met at Whitworth University on October 18. Organized by LuElla D’Amico, the meeting was devoted to a discussion of Elizabeth Duquette and Cheryl Tevlin’s recent edition of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s stories, essays, and poems. Elizabeth Duquette was at the meeting and shared her insights with us. She explained that Phelps’s papers are scattered among several archives, making study of her work more difficult.

Phelps is an underrated writer (one of the topics of our conversation). Although she was famous and popular in her time, her reputation has revived with The Story of Avis, The Gates Ajar, and Doctor Zay, but not far enough. I’m especially interested because my first chapter of BItter Tastes discusses several of her works.phelps

SSAWW Newsletter Fall 2014 is available

The SSAWW Newsletter is available here: http://ssawwnew.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/ssaww15-2fall14.pdf

This newsletter has grown a lot since we moved it online after the members voted to do so in Spring 2010. It used to be 6-8 pages long, and now it is 27, since printing and mailing costs are not a factor.  The links in the online version are clickable, and there’s no paper to recycle.

Even better, the money that used to go to printing and mailing is now used to support graduate student travel to the SSAWW conferences.