Literature Program

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.


Earth's Daughters presents

Gabrielle Burton

The Gray Hair Reading Series

Wine & cheese reception follows

Gabrielle Burton is a novelist, memoirist, playwright, and book reviewer who lived in the Buffalo area for many years. Her screenplay Manna from Heaven was filmed in Buffalo with an all-star cast, and is currently available on DVD from MGM/Sony. Now based in California, Gabrielle will be returning for this special evening to read from her new book, Impatient with Desire (Hyperion/Voice, 2010), a novel written from Tamsen Donner's point of view.

In the preface to her slightly earlier memoir, Searching for Tamsen Donner, (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), Burton writes, "In 1972 Tamsen Donner came unexpected to our family and took up permanent residence...In the decades since first discovering Tamsen Donner, I've written about numerous other subjects in non-fiction, fiction, and screenplay form. Yet, after every major project, I kept returning to Tamsen Donner." In addition to Burton's own personal recollections, Searching for Tamsen Donner includes all of Tamsen Donner's letters, published for the first time.

The pioneer spirit not only informs Burton's work on the Donner Party, but all of her writing, as well as her life. Gabrielle and her husband—jazz musician and psychology professor Roger Burton—took extraordinary trips with their five children on shoestring budgets, such as hitchhiking through Alaska and camping while painstakingly researching the exact Donner Party route from Nebraska to California.

Burton's books share a commitment to exploring women's lives. Her first novel, Heartbreak Hotel, originally published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1986, was reviewed by novelist Fay Weldon as "a wild, manic, committed, exhilarating, wonderful work." For Heartbreak Hotel, Burton received the Maxwell Perkins Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer's Award. In 2001, the novel was selected by Dalkey Archive Press for republication. Burton's non-fiction book, I'm Running Away From Home But I'm Not Allowed To Cross The Street, a comedic "Primer on Women's Liberation," was the first book published by Know (1972), and was subsequently picked up by Avon and Viking. It launched her into the national discussion as a mother of five girls struggling with the typical problems of balancing parenting with other pursuits, or, as Burton put it, "keeping seven lives afloat at the expense of none."

Burton has been a Member of the Ossabaw Island Project, a Yaddo fellow, a MacDowell Colony fellow, and the Bernard De Voto Fellow in Non-Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference. Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in national publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, Family Circle, and Ms. Magazine. Online, she is a blogger on The Huffington Post.

Earth's Daughters magazine—the oldest continuously published feminist literary arts periodical in the U.S.—is currently celebrating its 39th year. Publication of Earth's Daughters magazine and funding for this event are made possible by a Decentralization grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) through the Arts Council in Buffalo & Erie County.

The Gray Hair series is co-curated by ryki zuckerman and Jennifer Campbell.

Some publications related to this event:
April and May, 2010 - 2010