Skyline College faculty, staff, and students welcomed writers and readers from throughout the Bay Area to the campus on Saturday, March 12 for WOW! Voices Now, an annual literary event showcasing the accomplishments of women writers in honor of women’s history month. Kathleen McClung, adjunct professor of English, served as creative director and event coordinator for the seventh year.
More than seventy audience members of all ages listened closely to keynote speakers Danusha Laméris and Ethel Rohan as they presented their award-winning work and engaged in thought-provoking Q & A. Danusha Laméris read from her book of poetry, The Moons of August, as well as new poems. Ethel Rohan read from her memoir, Out of Dublin, and from her short story collection, Goodnight Nobody. Both authors shared eloquently from their life experiences, offering wisdom and writing advice. After receiving sustained applause for their presentations, they signed books and spoke encouragingly with individual audience members.
WOW! founder Marijane Datson presented awards to outstanding Skyline College students Jacquie Espino and April M. Yee who each read well-crafted and moving pieces written in Prof. Rob Williams’ creative writing class. They both received enthusiastic ovations from the crowd, along with golden gift bags containing books and certificates. The ISA Awards honor the memory of Isabelle (Isa) Maynard, a featured author at the first WOW! Conference in 2003 whose creative accomplishments spanned many decades and art forms.
Fourteen writers of all ages read a rich assortment of poems, short stories and memoirs during the Open Reading. Participants came from as far away as Sebastopol and Santa Cruz to contribute their talents and connect with fellow writers.
One Skyline student said about the event, “I felt as if everyone in the audience was a family who may have gathered that morning for different reasons, but left the program feeling the same way: touched and inspired.”
Another student said, “The event was outstanding. Just listening to the women speak gave me a sense of women can do any and every thing that they want. I was so empowered by their marvelous readings it inspired me to do my best in class.”
Thanks to Mary Gutiérrez, Dean of Language Arts, and Kevin Chak, Skyline Bookstore Manager, as well as WOW! Ambassadors Ellen Woods, Valerie Malliett, Tom McAninley, and caterer John Alvergue.
Article by Kathleen McClung | Photos by Shizue Seigel