Anthology of Women’s Stories Inspired By #METOO at Arts West Aug. 29

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ARTS/West is pleased to announce it will host Fearless: Women’s Journeys to Self-Empowerment, an anthology reading and open mic event on August 29, 2019, 6:30 p.m., curated by Athens Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour.

A brief reception will begin at 6 p.m. with music provided by Jeanie Thicken Creamer. Those who attend are invited to bring a #metoo poem to share with the audience during the open mic session at the end of the evening’s performance.

In seeking a way to provide women a platform on which to be heard, and inspired by the recent #MeToo movement, editor Cat Pleska, for Mountain State Press, collected essays, stories, and poems from 30 women throughout Appalachia, including Gunter-Seymour. Each write about her most challenging moment and how she learned to not just endure, but also to win.

Memoirist and author Sarah Einstein says of the book: Fearless: Women’s Journeys to Self-Empowerment explores the diverse experiences of women coming into their own with heart, humor, and nuance. These are personal stories, not polemic, and each evinces its own special kind of grace.”

“Whenever a movement swirls through our country, people often wish they could be heard in order to share their own journey, to have a voice stand out among the great cacophony that characterizes our society,” explained Pleska. “I reached out to these women knowing they would provide incredible personal stories, which would showcase quiet endurance through poverty, to surviving sexual assault, to recognizing their strength of place within families and relationships. They discovered it is okay to dream to be and do anything.” To further encourage women to share their voices, Pleska asked 30 more women to comment each on one piece in the anthology to provide a short commentary, thereby allowing for 60 women to speak.

Beautifully written pieces, together with a symbolic-laden book cover, help readers feel empathy for the challenges and triumphs of each writer, and they will stand up and cheer at the end of each story. “No one will finish Fearless without feeling deep respect for these writers and encouraged to begin their own journey to self-empowerment,” said author Natalie Sypolt.

Mountain State Press is a 41-year-old independent, nonprofit literary press operating in West Virginia. Dedicated to publishing West Virginians and Appalachians, Fearless is its 80th title. Fearless copies can be ordered through the press’s website:, many regional bookstores, through Amazon, and will be available for purchase the night of the event.

ARTS/West is located at 132 W State St, Athens, OH 45701. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.