Q & A with Richard Peabody,
Editor of Grace and Gravity
C.M. MAYO: How did you go about deciding which writers to include?
RICHARD PEABODY: There are a couple of websites devoted to local poetry and I've been toying with putting together a local fiction website. This would be a logical extension of the Literary Washington book I've been putting together (a la Ferlinghetti's Literary San Francisco) since 1979 or so. (Michele Slung had a piece on me in the Washington Post Book World way back then.) A couple of others have done similar books since then but nothing like what I envisioned which would include photos plus a history of local literary magazines and presses. So, in compiling a list of local women who had published novels or books of short stories, I developed a pretty good “who's who” of women writers in the area. Most of them I already know, but a lot of names were new to me. I sent out an invitation to 42 women and wound up with 32 who agreed to participate.
C.M.: Is there any one thing (or things) that you would say characterize writing by women in DC?
R.P.: Sass? But then that's what I was after. Something a little different. You can only read so many worker bee stories before you nod off. I think the work here does examine a lot of so-called "women's issues." And when given a choice I tended to go with shorter more dialogue-heavy, risky pieces. The work in the book runs the gamut covering everything from losing a child, suicide, murder, first love, caring for elderly parents, the works. This is serious writing about life and universal concerns though the delivery is not always traditional.
C.M.: Do you see writing in DC as being different from writing in other parts of the country?
R.P.: Not the actual writing per se, but both the
attention given to and promotion of the arts in general are different.
I always say that
C.M.: How do you see the DC writing scene today?
R.P.: I think the DC writing scene fiction-wise
is divided into a couple of separate worlds. I mean there are a lot
of genre writers and a huge pool of Mystery, Romance, and Sci Fi
writers. Outside of that you have the people who circle around the
PEN/Faulkner Awards and their reading series, and attend the MFA
Programs at Johns Hopkins,
See pictures from the launch .
The Women’s National Book Association and the National Women’s Party
to Host the Launch of
Grace and Gravity : Fiction by
it be true? Editor Richard Peabody says it’s so: an anthology
Thursday October 28 at 7:00 pm WNBA and the National Women’s
Party will be sponsoring the publication presentation of this path-breaking
anthology. The event, which will include a reading and a panel discussion
with the writers, will take place at the NWP’s historic Sewall-Belmont
House located at
An historic, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, the National Women’s Party promotes and educates the public about equality for women under the law. Its headquarters are on Capitol Hill in the Sewall-Belmont House, a National Historic Landmark which also serves as the NWP’s museum and a living monument to Alice Paul, author of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Richard Peabody is a long-time DC area fiction writer, poet, anthologist, editor of Gargoyle Magazine, and writing teacher. His own books include the novella Sugar Mountain, the poetry collections Last of the Red Hot Magnetos and I’m in Love with the Morton Salt Girl, and, co-edited with Lucinda Ebersole, the “Mondo” anthologies, among them, Mondo Barbie, Mondo Elvis, Mondo James Dean, and Mondo Marilyn.
Grace and Gravity is published by Paycock Press and will be available for sale for $14.95 at the event, as well as Amazon.com, the Writer's Center.
Sewall-Belmont House is located on Capitol Hill at
How to Get There:
From the “Union Station” Metro Station
(red line): At the intersection of Massachusetts Ave
NE and Second Street, walk up Second Street (to the right) for
about three blocks. Walk past the Senate parking lots and
From the “Capitol South” Metro Station
(blue and orange lines): Walk up First St NE in the direction
of the Capitol for about four blocks, past the Capitol, the Library
of Congress, and the Supreme Court, until you reach the Constitution
Avenue. Turn right and walk for a block, past the Dirksen and
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