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On Writing

Week of March 23, 2019

The Writing Life: An Evening with Author Elayne Clift

“It’s all in the art. You get no credit for living.” – V.S. Pritchett

Elayne Clift knew by the age of 13, when she received her first rejection from the Saturday Evening Post (for a poem she still thinks is publishable), that she wanted to be a writer.  “I went to Kresges Five and Dime, asked for the thickest table they had, and went home to write a book.”  Several decades later she sold her first story to a magazine, in 1991 her first book of essays was published, in 2012 her novel Hester’s Daughters appeared, and in 2014 she won First Prize/Fiction from Greyden Press for her third short story collection, Children of the Chalet: New and Selected Stories, published this year.  Now an internationally published writer and journalist, Clift has covered such major events as the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995); she has self-published many of her creative works, has conceived and edited three anthologies, and has served as a collaborating writer on a book about doulas in America.  Please join Elayne for a reading from her latest book followed by a lively discussion and Q&A about the challenges and rewards of the writing life!

Life Stories: Memories of Love, Action, and Thought
“We are all the same, that is human, [but] in such a way that nobody is ever the same as anyone else…”
Hannah Arendt

Inspired by the work and thinking of 20th century writer and philosopher Hannah Arendt, and by Diving for Pearls, a book about Arendt by Kathleen B. Jones, this workshop will guide participants as they write and share stories “to know precisely what the past was, to [explore] this knowledge and these memories, and then to wait and see what comes of knowing and [remembering],” as Arendt put it.  Arendt believed strongly in living life in a way that is thoughtful and moral, even if it means taking risks, so that we are not simply “a leaf blowing in the whirlwind of time.”  Through writing prompts and facilitated exercises, along with a look at Arendt’s wise words, we will celebrate what Goethe called “life’s labyrinthine, erring course,” as our narratives “recall significant events in our lives by telling one story among many, so that they can live on.” Come prepared to compose, share, laugh, ponder and discover your inner writer. While this workshop will take place over four days, participants are welcome on a daily basis.


Elayne CliftElayne Clift, M.A., a Vermont Humanities Council Scholar, is an award-winning writer and journalist, a popular writing workshop leader, and an adjunct lecturer in Literature and Gender Studies. Her work has been widely anthologized and appears in numerous publications internationally. A regular columnist for the Keene (NH) Sentinel and the Brattleboro (Vt.) Commons, and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, she has written for Women’s Media Center, Vermont Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe and others. Her novel, Hester’s Daughters, a contemporary, feminist retelling of The Scarlet Letter, appeared in 2012 and her latest short story collection, Children of the Chalet, won First Prize/Fiction 2014 by Greyden Press, which published the collection in 2015.  For more information, please visit elayne-clift.com.