“In any club, the objective is to bring people together to discuss something they are interested in, and Resource Center’s Women with Pride (WwP) Book Club is no exception. Women with Pride engages LGBTQ+ women age 18+ through programs, activities and outings designed to provide social engagement, including their monthly Book Club.
“For over 12 years, my partner Sherri Campbell and I have been the main facilitators for the WwP Book Club. Together, we choose the books and arrange author appearances. The Book Club focuses almost entirely on lesbian fiction. Here’s a little about the Book Club, how it started and what it aims to achieve in the future..
“In 2008 Carsen Taite, author and retired defense attorney in Dallas, and I used to meet for coffee to discuss lesbian literature. In 2009 we brought the idea to Resource Center to sponsor a Book Club devoted to women-loving-women books. To make our club a little different, we were determined to have the author attend the meeting for our discussion. Authors have met with us by speaker phone, Skype and Zoom, but mostly in person. The Book Club has met each month continuously since 2009. There are other lesbian book clubs in Dallas, but none of them are devoted to women-loving-women literature. We read all genres of books from Romance to Mystery/Thriller to Fantasy and Science Fiction.
“The WwP Book Club is a place for women who like to read to get together to talk about books and is another avenue for women to meet in a safe environment. As leaders of the Women with Pride Book Club, we have worked hard to always be welcoming to new people. We welcome diversity and let women find their own voice within the group. We promote authors to keep these stories coming so we can see ourselves in books.
“When we started the Book Club in 2009 it was one of the few programs for women at Resource Center, so it was a win-win for both of us. As a program of JEWEL (the precursor to WwP), we also encouraged a writing group that was successful for a period of time. The motivation for coming to the Center was the already established website to advertise our Book Club, a public place to meet, and the legitimacy of being sponsored by the Center.
“Because we have the author with us at each meeting a lot of planning goes into selecting the books and authors. I also try to make sure we are getting authors from multiple publishers. About a year in advance, I send out emails to authors who have new books coming out in the upcoming year. I do this one author at a time, once I get a commitment for a month then I go to the next. etc. There are some authors that are favorites of the group, and I get them if they have a new book. I try to mix in new authors with established authors. I also get input from the members. I look at books that have won awards such as Lambda Literary and Goldies from Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). We have had authors from all over the USA, Europe, and Canada. I know many authors personally from my years on the board at GCLS and attending other events such as Women’s Week in Provincetown.
“In the days before COVID, I would invite the author to stay with us and pick them up from the airport, etc. All but two authors have paid for their own airfare or mileage. We take them out to dinner prior to our meeting with about eight members who attend regularly. At our in-person meetings, we usually had 12 to 16 members attend. On Zoom we’ve had 6 to 12 attend. The most attendees we’ve had at one meeting was 42. We begin the meeting with announcements, I introduce the author and the conversation can go in all directions. The author may choose to do a reading; talk about upcoming works; author process. It is a casual atmosphere with interspersed questions from the members. Author process is often part of the conversation because we also have three to five published authors as members.
“I would love to have you join us! Learn more about our Women with Pride Book Club at www.myresourcecenter.org/womenwpride.”
* Photo provided by Resource Center