Author Elizabeth Benedict on What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

What My Mother Gave MeAuthor Elizabeth Benedict edited these original pieces that look at the relationships between mothers and daughtersElizabeth Benedict through a new lens: a daughter’s story of a gift from her mother that has touched her to the bone and served as a model, a metaphor, or a touchstone in her own life. The contributors include Pulitzer Prize winners, perennial bestselling novelists, and well-known NPR commentators.

Joyce Carol Oates writes about quilts her mother sewed that were a comfort when her husband died; Rita Dove remembers a box of nail polish that taught her to paint her nails in stripes and polka dots; Lisa See, daughter of writer Carolyn See, writes about the gift of writing; Cecilia Muñoz remembers the wok her mother gave her and a lifetime of home-cooked family meals; Judith Hillman Paterson revisits the year of sobriety her mother bequeathed to her when Judith was nine years old, the year before her mother died of alcoholism.

Collectively, the pieces have a force that feels as elemental as the tides: outpourings of lightness and darkness; simple joy and devastating grief; mother love and daughter love; mother love and daughter rage. In these stirring words we find that every gift, no matter how modest, tells the story of a powerful bond.

Elizabeth Benedict is a graduate of Barnard College and the author of five novels, including the bestseller Almost and the National Book Award finalist Slow Dancing. She is the editor of the anthology Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives, and has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, and the Huffington Post. Two of her essays have been selected for Best American Essays collections.  

Co-sponsored with the Barnard Club of CT.

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