Local Writer and Artist wins Honeybee Creative Nonfiction Award
|Suzi Banks Baum|
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — An essay by local writer and artist Suzi Banks Baum has won the Honeybee Creative Nonfiction award from The Good Life Review.
Baum's winning essay, "Connect: Disconnect" was inspired by the New York Times Magazine cover article by Merritt Tierce entitled "The Abortion I Didn't Have." Baum's essay delves into adolescent life, sexual exploration, sexual identity, confusion, and education or lack thereof in midwestern American culture in the 1970s.
In addition to the award from the Nebraskan publication, Baum received a jar of Nebraskan honey. However the winning review from the award indicates the essay is more salty than sweet. Contest judge Jessica Hendry Nelson wrote:
"'Connect: Disconnect' strikes me with its unapologetic exploration of the power and pleasure of female sexuality. With fine attention to language and cadence, it combs memory to unpack a complicated legacy of want and wonder. This essay does not flinch, capitulate, or mitigate. In charting her voracities, the narrator reminds the reader of the vital power of her own."
This is the second award Baum has won, both for excerpts from her memoir in progress. She is a writer and book artist, and teacher with a distinctive women-centered focus for her signature teachings. She travels to Gyumri, Armenia to teach the book arts to women artists.
Her book, "An Anthology of Babes" gives voice to 36 artist mothers. Her work has been published in Kerning literary magazine (2021), "The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory" by Anchala Studios and the Walloon Writers Review. Her piece "Shoal" won third prize in the Hypertext Literary Magazine Doro Böhme Memorial Contest in 2021. Her mixed media work appears in Storey Publications 2022 release, "Collage Your Life!" by Melanie Mowinski. In addition to her winning essay from her memoir-in-progress, her artistic work has been featured in The Guild of Book Workers Journal and Mingle Magazine.
Over the past year, Baum has taught online and in person in her back yard in Great Barrington and at the Snowfarm Craft Program in Williamsburg. She will teach a two-day book art workshop at the Art School of Columbia County (New York) on Sept. 17-18. The coming year includes her signature offering of "Advent Dark Journal," a six-week immersion in creative practice that begins in late November and concludes in early January.
Berkshire residents will have the opportunity to see Suzi's work in person at her first open studio event in her garage studio at 39 Hollenbeck Avenue in Great Barrington, MA from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 9. The day includes a demonstration of eco-dyeing paper and other book art. Her artist books will be on view, along a selection of hand-bound books and her own decorative papers on sale. More information about Suzi's work, classes and workshops can be learned on her website, suzibanksbaum.com
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