Authors Alice Hoffman (@ahoffmanwriter), Anita Diamant (@AnitaDiamant) and Ann Leary (@annleary) are a tour de force when it comes to fighting breast cancer. The three women have come together, along with four other female authors, for the Pink Pages benefit at the Hoffman Breast Center at Mount Auburn Hospital.
For Hoffman, Pink Pages is very near to her heart. “I think Mount Auburn is a great hospital, and I had my treatment there when I had breast cancer in 1998,” Hoffman said. “And ever since then, for 17 years, we’ve had writers events and have raised $2 million for the center, and it’s an incredible event.”
On May 16, the authors will come together for a night of readings and personal stories. All proceeds go towards benefiting the Hoffman research center (established in part by Alice Hoffman herself).
“It’s a great cause, but it’s also a tremendous line-up, as it is every year, but especially this year— I think it’s exciting, there are wonderful authors,” adds Leary.
But Pink Pages is more than a benefit—it’s also an opportunity to celebrate the many acclaimed women authors that call New England their home. “Boston is so filled with women writers, I mean it’s the city to live in if you’re a woman writer,” said Hoffman.
“The joke is that you can’t walk very far in Boston or Cambridge without bumping into someone who wants to show you their new book,” Diamant concedes.
Why exactly is New England such a hub for women authors? Is it the many colleges and universities, the mass of top-notch libraries and book stores, or something more?
“It’s the water,” Leary joked.
Whatever the case, it’s hard to argue with the long list of female writers who've come out of New England. Emily Dickinson, Katherine Lee Bates, Louisa May Alcott, Anne Sexton— for centuries, New England women have shaped the canon of American literature. Which is why it was hard for many to stomach when, earlier this spring at Boston University, writer Gay Talese couldn’t drum up an answer when asked which women writers inspired him.
“Well, my initial reaction was, ‘Oh come on,” and ‘That’s obnoxious,’” Diamant said. Diamant understands that Talese was maybe confused by the question, and that the viral sound bite did not capture the extent of the writer’s reply, but she remains disappointed. “It’s not excusable, it’s actually the opposite of that…he didn’t try too hard. And he could obviously think of people the next day or two days later, it wasn’t hard for him to come up with it.”
But these women aren't about to let naysayers get them down. All three came prepared for the Greater Boston interview with a copy of their new books: Faithfulby Alice Hoffman, The Boston Girlby Anita Diamant, andThe Children by Ann Leary.