The District may be known for politics, but it’s a vibrant city, full of young people hoping to change the world, José Andrés restaurants, and independent bookstores.
My hope is that, even in a short time, those attending were able to experience some of what the District has to offer. And the fact that our meeting took place in the heart of the PRIDE festival hopefully gave attendees a glimpse at how welcoming DC is (most of the time).
Though we worked hard during the meeting, we had opportunities for fun, too. Some highlights were the WNBA Award ceremony, held at the National Press Club, where we honored National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas. We also had a group dinner at DC’s famous Comet Ping Pong (and played ping pong…poorly) and toured the Library of Congress. Also, I don’t think anyone will forget walking through the Pride Parade after Saturday’s meeting.
Besides planning for the national meeting (which only caused a few stress dreams), the chapter has had a few fun opportunities recently.
In April, Miracle Creek author Angie Kim met with our chapter for a happy hour at Kramerbooks. It was wonderful to talk with Kim before she gets too famous — and she will, as Miracle Creek has gotten rave reviews. Kim talked about how her personal experiences informed her debut novel. She moved to the United States with her family from South Korea when she was a pre-teen, is a former trial lawyer, and personally understands what it’s like to take care of children with medical issues. If you read the book, you’ll see traces of Kim all over the pages.
The design of our meeting with Kim worked well. We were given a quiet space to meet, and because there was no formal presentation, we had a real conversation where everyone felt comfortable asking questions. Kim was very open about her writing process and the road to getting her book published.
Some of us in attendance were so excited by her book, that we met up in late May for an informal book club discussion of it.
More Fun Events
In early May, the chapter participated in the annual Literary Hill BookFest. It’s a small, neighborhood festival that takes place in Eastern Market and features local authors, bookstores and literary organizations.
The DC chapter also runs a monthly reading group meeting, in partnership with Kramerbooks. It’s open to the public, and generally about eight to ten people attend each month — many of them “regulars.” We only meet for one hour, so our discussions are very focused. And we try to choose books written by women from diverse backgrounds. Some recent selections have been The Mothers by Brit Bennett, The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie.
Looking forward, the chapter will continue to seek out new members and fill board vacancies. We also will work to expand partnerships with local bookstores and other literary organizations and will look at participating in more book festivals in the region.
Compiled by Tabitha Whissmore, WNBA-Washington DC chapter president.
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