Dear Creative Woman,
In 2001, with the first of six $50,000 Gift of Freedom Awards, A Room of Her Own Foundation departed from existing prize models to provide access to women outside of the literary and artistic patriarchy who were in effect excluded from the recognition only these systems could offer. From 2003 to 2015, AROHO disrupted existing conference and residency models with a transformative program series bringing diverse women in the arts into collaboration with instrumental authors and professionals at the height of accomplishment, such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Rita Dove, Joy Harjo, Marilynne Robinson, Leigh Haber of O the Oprah Magazine, and Amy Berkower of Writers House.
The excellence of award winners’ creative projects and AROHO’s innovative model appeared in Poets & Writers, People, Elle, and O the Oprah Magazine; and new awards and fellowships sponsored by AROHO alone and in partnership with individual women and arts organizations, such as Hedgebrook and The Lark Play Development Center, inspired creative submissions from almost 50,000 women and named nearly one-hundred new female award-winners, including Mira Bartok, National Book Critics Circle Award recipient. Scores of women-authored works were published digitally and in print by Arktoi Books, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Beacon Press, Bloomsbury, Free Press, Harper Perennial, Random House, Red Hen Press, Simon & Schuster, Spiegel & Grau and others.
AROHO’s position on the frontier of women’s arts advocacy compels us to leave behind multiple finite models for one that is scalable, inclusive, and sustainable. Coupling the possibilities of open-access publication today and the movement towards digitization and wider global audiences, we are A Room of Her Own, elevating and gathering creative women worldwide at every level of achievement and economic, cultural experience. This intention is carried in Waves: A Confluence of Women’s Voices. The highly acclaimed author of The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston lends her decades-long history of advancing issues of gender and ethnicity and her fascination with Virginia Woolf to these pages. Editor Diane Gilliam, the author of the award-winning Kettle Bottom and Dreadful Wind & Rain, anchors this voluminous work with her soulful commitment to be “an ear to hear” women who so often go unheard. A poet, musician, translator, and Ph.D. candidate from Iran; an award-winning Singaporean writer who charts the heart; a late-emerging writer of German birth and Cherokee heritage from Iowa; an African-American LGBTQI facilitator of oral history and performance from Texas; students and professors, editors, activists, and mothers. For some, this anthology is their first published work. Others will add it to their long list of professional, artistic accomplishments. All contributors share this space in equality and in honor of so many others who have come before and those who have yet to come.
In time, these powerful pages and images will represent the last versions provided and appear in a format closest to the original as our digital platform allows. WAVES will unfold with its contributions of arts and letters in immersive digitization through our monthly WAVES publication and Mother Archive. Your understanding of the humanity and intention of this monumental project is appreciated. Our message to the anthology contributors can be found here.
With care, the women of AROHO
Waves: A Confluence of Women’s Voices