(Photo: Margit Detweiler/ TueNight)
If you’re a writer — or a woman who loves writing — you might have heard about last weekend’s “BinderCon,” a conference for women writers, spawned from a similarly-intentioned, semi-secret women writer’s group on Facebook. The name? Reclaimed from the Mitt Romney comment during the 2012 election, “they brought us whole binders full of women.”
Put together in only three months (unbelievable chutzpah) by Leigh Stein and Lux Alptraum, along with many volunteers, the conference included crush-worthy literary and journalistic luminaries like Anna Holmes, Dodai Stewart, Jenna Wortham, Jill Abramson, Leslie Jamison, and many more.
In multiple conversations and panels, I felt happily inundated by book, site and app suggestions, so I, of course, wanted to make a list. This is by no means complete, but a few great recommendations from an esteemed group of women.
Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay
If you’re reading this site, we probably don’t have to tell you about Gay’s collection of witty, insightful essays, but Gay’s name/ book was invoked in nearly every single talk during the weekend.
On iTunes (because you need to download ASAP)
On Immunity, Eula Biss
“Why do we fear vaccines? A provocative examination by Eula Biss, the author of Notes from No Man’s Land, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.” Recommended by keynote speaker Lisa Jamison (@lsjamison).
Cutting Teeth, Julia Fierro
Fierro was a speaker at BinderCon and our own Bethanne Patrick recommended this book in Front to Backlist, writing, “Good and bad can be wrapped up in the same friendship. Most women know that this is far more common than we’d like. It’s also the subject of one of this year’s most affecting debut novels….”
The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men, and The New York Times, Nan Robertson
The very publicly fired, first female Executive Editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson was a highlight of BinderCon. She spoke frankly about watching her own scandal unfold, noted that the masthead became half women under her leadership, stuck up for her friend Alessandra Stanley (to scant audience support) and told us she’s still a Times subscriber. This book, she says, was groundbreaking in its own way.
Bird of Paradise, Raquel Cepeda
Cepeda was a speaker at BinderCon, and I heard two women raving about her book in the ladies room. So you know, I had to share: “In 2009, when Raquel Cepeda almost lost her estranged father to heart disease, she was terrified she’d never know the truth about her ancestry…”
Our Andromeda, Brenda Shaughnessy
Recommended on Twitter by attendee @katieshermanink. “Brenda Shaughnessy’s heartrending third collection explores dark subjects — trauma, childbirth, loss of faith — and stark questions: What is the use of pain and grief?”
Book of Dahlia, Elisha Albert
“From the author of the critically acclaimed story collection How This Night Is Different comes a dark, arresting, fearlessly funny story of one young woman’s terminal illness.”
The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison
Jamison was a keynote speaker at BinderCon. “Beginning with her experience as a medical actor, paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about one another?”
On GrayWolf Press
Everything by Lisa Selin Davis
My absolute favorite session was a “Personal Essay” workshop by writer Lisa Selin Davis, who gave practical tips for writers, a handout filled with writerly advice and her own essay on how she got into Modern Love. She’s a great writer and we’re digging into all of her work!
Who Is Su
One of our own, Tamar Anitai, referenced this gut-wrenching piece about a woman who loses her memory and then regains it very, very slowly. Powerful.
Who Is Su, New York magazine
The Trans-Everything CEO
I’d read this already, Jill Abramson recommended it as a sign of how trans is becoming more and more mainstream. It’s one of the most fascinating, strangest profiles I’ve ever read.
The Trans-Everything CEO, New York magazine
Dear Dusty Old Book Store
Met Maria Smilios, this wonderful writer for Narrative.ly and other venues, who focuses on longform. This is one of her charmingly quirky essays.
Dear Dusty Old Bookstore, Narrative.ly
For those of us that already use this, we’re rabidly passionate about it. A beautiful interface where you can easily save articles to read later. A few of us had a long discussion about the wonders of this app.
Laura Shin, a freelance writer and Forbes contributor, gave a talk called “Financially Successful Freelancing: How To Earn, Save, Travel And Retire Without Working For The Man.” She recommended this app that helps track your time and finances, and will create spreadsheets and graphs.
Have any other great book, article or app tips? Share below!