Sunday, September 18, 2011

Julie Maloney: A Model of Giving to the Community of Writers

Julie Maloney
Back in 2003 Julie Maloney had a dream. It involved bringing women together to further their love of writing. She set about making that dream come true. The result was Women Reading Aloud, which Julie describes as "an organization dedicated to the power of the writer’s voice. WRA believes in providing space for artistic growth. Founded in New Jersey in 2003, it offers writing workshops modeled after the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, the Author Series and Work-in-Progress Series, Writing and Yoga Program, conferences and retreats where women writers can explore their 'authentic' voices. Founded on the 3-in-1 principle, Women Reading Aloud focuses on the equal value of the writer, the reader, and the listener. All genres are welcome. WRA encourages writers to cherish their own voices, as well as the voices of others, as they travel the writer’s journey."

Over the years Julie's dream has only grown. She now runs a variety of programs, all listed and described at the WRA Website. Most recently, she's added a summer retreat to a Greek island.

On Saturday, September 10, Julie hosted "Tea and Conversation," as part of her Author Series. This program is held in conjunction with the Bernardsville Public Library in Bernardsville, NJ. The program was free and open to the public. The room was filled with poetry lovers who'd come to hear Dorianne Laux talk about and read from her new book, The Book of Men, and her earlier books.

The program began with Julie asking Dorianne a series of questions. Dorianne did not have the questions ahead of time so the conversation was spontaneous and natural—and wonderful! Dorianne then read from her books. She did the reading almost entirely by audience requests—an approach I'd never seen before. It was fascinating to see which poems the audience would request and then how comfortably Dorianne read them. She ended with new work.

Then came an audience Q&A and finally a book signing. How nice it was to see people waiting in a long line, all anxious to buy the new book and get it signed. This was a wonderful program. I salute Dorianne for coming all the way from North Carolina. And I salute Julie Maloney for having a dream that involved bringing writing and reading into the wider community. I hope she will serve as inspiration to others.

Madeline English introduces the program
Julie and Dorianne
Dorianne reading


  1. This sounds lovely Diane. Would love the Greek, but we are going to Korea to visit my son who is teaching over there. I am hoping to add a few pieces to my journal about that trip.

    Hope you are doing good. Any poetry readings near Princeton? I am hosting an Open Mic 'Van' Session recording and performance next Saturday. Our jumpstarter to see how it works!

  2. Perhaps you could try one of the Jersey shore weekend retreats.

    I'll be reading this Sunday in Fairfield. Is that too far for you?


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