Hear about books written by your Westport neighbors in the Saugatuck Scribes series! This event presents two memoirs from Westport native Anya Liftig and Diane Lowman, the Town's former poet laureate, who will be in conversation with each other. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Anya Liftig grew up with a foot in two very different worlds: While her mother’s upbringing was so rural that the other kids called her “holler rat,” her father came from a comfortable, upper-middle-class Jewish family. Liftig spent school years in Westport in the '80s and '90s and summers in the holler. Shaped by the experience, she would go on to win a scholarship to Yale and become an acclaimed artist, using provocative performances to explore the contradictions and unanswered questions of her life. In Holler Rat, Liftig masterfully interweaves family lore from her Appalachian childhood with her performance art pieces and scenes of the yearlong period in which her life fell apart and plumbs the cathartic self-reckoning that followed. She takes us from her Mamaw’s porch to Yale, from the site of a violent family land feud to a pre-gentrified Bushwick loft, and from a devastating childhood leg injury to having 243 raw eggs pelted at her in the name of art. In visceral, beautiful prose that ranges from raunchy and outrageous to sobering and tragic, Holler Rat is the origin story of an unconventional artistic life and a captivating account of the stumbling blocks, sacrifices, and discoveries along the way.
In search of fulfillment and purpose, Diane embarks on a life-changing adventure: a senior year abroad studying her literary hero at the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford Upon Avon. With nothing to hold her back, she sells her belongings and enrolls in the M.A. program, ready to take on the challenge of being a “mature student” and expatriate. In this captivating memoir, The Undiscovered Country: Seeing Myself Through Shakespeare’s Eyes, Diane shares her transformative experiences, both personal and academic, as she immerses herself in the world of Shakespeare. Follow her on this exciting and sometimes tumultuous journey, as she learns as much about herself as she does about the works of the Bard. Award-winning essayist and author of Nothing But Blue, Diane Meyer Lowman invites you to join her on this physical, emotional, and mental voyage of discovery.
Diane Lowman is an award-winning essayist, memoirist, and poet, who served as Westport’s inaugural Poet Laureate from 2019-2022. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine; Brain, Child; and Brevity Blog, and she writes a regular column, Everything’s an Essay. Her first memoir, Nothing But Blue was published in 2018. Diane received her MA in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute and has explored other forms of literary expression in more than 2,500 haiku (link to LotusHaiku) and in essays on and reviews of Shakespeare’s plays in various academic publications. Diane teaches writing, Shakespeare, and yoga, and divides her time between her hometown of Westport, CT, and her home away from home in Stratford Upon Avon, England.
A writer and artist, Anya Liftig's work has been featured at TATE Modern, MOMA, CPR, Highways Performance Space, Lapsody4 Finland, Fado Toronto, Performance Art Institute, Queens Museum, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Performer Stammtisch Berlin, OVADA, Joyce Soho and many other venues. In “The Anxiety of Influence” she dressed exactly like Marina Abramovic and sat across from her all day during “The Artist is Present” exhibition. Her work has been published and written about in The New York Times Magazine, BOMB, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Italia, Next Magazine, Now and Then, Stay Thirsty, New York Magazine, Gothamist, Jezebel, Hyperallergic, Bad at Sports, The Other Journal, and many others. She is a graduate of Yale University and Georgia State University and has received grant and residency support from MacDowell, Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Franklin Furnace, KHN Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Museum, Mertz Gilmore, Flux Projects, University of Antioquia and Casa Tres Patios-Medellin, Colombia.
Westporters write books on a wide variety of subjects in all sorts of genres. Authors Gabi Coatsworth and Ted Aldrich will share their new books - a memoir and a history with our community. Saugatuck Scribes is a series that showcases Westport writers and their newest books.
If you missed the event, you may watch recording here.
In her memoir Love's Journey Home, Gabi Coatsworth never meant to fall for the handsome American. And after walking away because he was married, the British single mother thought she'd go forever without seeing him again. But her move to Chicago five years later for a career opportunity led to their reunion, a rekindled romance, and a wedding. Forging a thirty-year life together through ups and downs, Gabi finally gave up when her husband's alcoholism became more than she could bear. But not long after, he received a devastating medical diagnosis. Knowing she would regret it if she stayed away, she returned home to care for him. And unexpectedly learned it's never too late for a second chance…
The Partnership: George Marshall, Henry Stimson, and the Extraordinary Collaboration that Won World War II tells the story of how these two men worked together to win World War II and reshape not only the United States, but the world. The dual biography focuses on their sharply contrasting paths to power and how they transformed an outdated, poorly equipped army into a well-equipped modern fighting force of millions.
Award-winning writer Gabi Coatsworth was born in Britain and work brought her and her two children to America. She lives in Connecticut in a cottage that’s American on the outside, and English inside. If she’s not reading, writing, or traveling, she’ll be in her flower garden, wondering whether to weed, and holding a cup of her preferred beverage, strong English tea. The rest of the time she’s working on her next novel.
Edward “Ted” Aldrich’s love of history goes back to his early childhood in Rowayton, CT. After attending Colgate University and Boston College (MBA), he began a long career in banking working in New York, Zurich, and London (he currently works for Auramet Trading). The Partnership is his first book. Like Gabi Coatsworth, Aldrich is also an avid tea drinker and enthusiastic gardener.
Westport author Lisa Cloherty shares the journey of her two new picture books with fellow author Michaela MacColl. Find out who Katie Spector the Art Collector and Terrance the Hothead are and how they came to be. These two stories may inspire you to write our next Saugatuck Scribes book.
If you missed this event, you can watch the video recording here.
Lisa Cloherty is an author of children's books and a pediatric speech-language pathologist. While other kids were out playing soccer or acting in the school play, Lisa was dreaming up stories and poems. Her grandfather was never without a pencil and slip of paper. He fostered her love of books and writing. When he came as an honored author to Lisa's third grade class, her dream of becoming a writer was solidified. Most of Lisa's stories revolve around community, family and self-acceptance.
Michaela MacColl grew up in upstate New York. She studied Russian and Soviet history at Vassar College and Yale University. She lived in the south of France for several years before settling in Connecticut. Her first book, Prisoners in the Palace was published in 2010. View from Pagoda Hill is her 10th novel and the first about her family. She has two daughters and four enormous black cats who are very hard to tell apart from each other (the cats not the girls).