#AWP20 Featured Presenter Q&A with Donna Hemans
AWP | December 2019
Event Title: Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, and Ellen Meeropol in Conversation with Kristen Young, Sponsored by Red Hen Press
Description: Four powerful female authors read their work and discuss their shared themes of families torn apart by history and war. Each work quests to find lost siblings and daughters and sons, each story a heart-wrenching tale of the strength of family against life's cruel obstacles. These four women discuss the importance and necessity of telling these stories, and the impact these stories have on our lives right now, in the real world.
Participants: Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, Ellen Meeropol, and Kristen Young
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C3, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level
Date & Time: Thursday, March 5, 12:10 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.
Q: What are some of the conference events or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
Generally, I'm looking forward to discovering new journals and new writers and expanding the scope of writers and publications I read.
Q: What do you remember most about your first AWP? What advice would you give to an AWP first-timer?
I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of events. Now I know to plan in advance and have a backup session in mind if the room is full.
Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
I’m reading Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other and am blown away by her experimental hybrid poetry and prose style. I love when novelists play with language, form, structure. I loved Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and [Jesmyn Ward’s] Sing, Unburied, Sing for the same reasons, as well as the beauty of the language. Another favorite from this year is Fruit of the Drunken Tree [by Ingrid Rojas Contreras], which manages to tell the story of political persecution and violence through a beautiful story of a childhood friendship.
Donna Hemans is the author of the novel River Woman, winner of the 2003–2004 Towson University Prize for Literature. Tea by the Sea, for which she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature, is her second novel. Her short fiction has appeared in the Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, and the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and an MFA from American University.