Banned Books Week
Info suppression, unheard voices focus of CPW panel
In recognition of Banned Books Week, Colorado Press Women will host the event “Book banning and information suppression: What the media needs to know,” the morning of Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Columbine Library in Littleton. Panelists include Alison McCombe of Jefferson County Public Library, State Sen. Lisa Cutter and attorney Rachael Johnson.
McCombe, collection service supervisor at JCPL, will open the program with an overview on the status of book banning, which will include American Library Association statements on the Freedom to Read and the Library Bill of Rights. Mccombe will also discuss JCPL’s mission and vision, including its criteria for the selection of materials for minors.
Cutter will speak about the bill she is working on for the next session to help address the repression of a minority viewpoint in libraries and bookstores around the state. Cutter was elected to the Senate in 2022 after serving in the Colorado House of Representatives, representing Jefferson County. She serves as a member of the Transportation & Energy Committee as well as the Health & Human Services Committee and is co-founder and co-chair of the Colorado Democratic Women’s Caucus.
She was born in Colorado and has a deep knowledge of the state. Jefferson County is her longtime home where she raised her family, started a business and began her career as an elected official. Since winning public office, she has worked to ensure every Jeffco family has the support and resources they need to thrive.
Johnson, local legal initiative attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, will talk about the case in Crested Butte that involves a request from the Crested Butte News for the name(s) of people who requested books be pulled from the local library and information suppression and its effect on the media. Johnson has a decade of experience working in both the legal and media fields and directed the federal communications team’s review of documents sought through Freedom of Information Act requests at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She served as a senior writer and creative communications advisor to the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and has worked as a reporter, editor and producer.
Before and during law school, she was a producer at the Starz channel in Englewood, Colo. She received her law degree from University of Denver Sturm College of Law, her master’s from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and bachelor’s in journalism from Hampton University.
“Book banning and information suppression” will be from 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, in the large meeting room at Columbine Library, 7706 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton (Clement Park). Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and pastries. The event is free, but for logistical reasons, guests should notify Gay Porter DeNileon at email@example.com if they plan to attend.
Attendance in person is preferred, but a Zoom option will be available. Those who cannot attend in person and can participate via Zoom, be sure to register at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Zoom link prior to the meeting.
Authors’ Lunch Nov. 11
Four writers, three books featured
CPW’s most popular event, the annual Authors’ Lunch, will be Saturday, Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Louisville Recreation & Senior Center, 900 Via Appia Way, Louisville.
Speakers include Jacqueline St. Joan, author of “Shawl of Midnight,” a companion to her book “My Sisters Made of Light,” which she spoke about at a previous author’s lunch; Barbara Nickless, whose “Dark of Night” is a Colorado Authors’ League winner; and co-authors J.v.L. Bell and Jan Gunia, who will present their book of essays, “Women of the Colorado Gold Rush Era.”
Jacqueline St. Joan writes fiction, nonfiction, scholarly articles, and poetry. She has won many writing awards and, like her previous novel, “My Sisters Made a Light” (a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in Literary Fiction), “The Shawl of Midnight” is set in Pakistan.
St. Joan’s work has been published in numerous periodicals including Ms., F magazine, Denver Post, Chrysalis Reader, Bloomsbury Review, Harvard Women’s Law Journal, The Denver Quarterly, Valley Voices, and The Missouri Review, and the “Northern Colorado Writers Anthology.” She has a law degree from the University of Denver and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, and she served as a Denver County Judge for ten years.
“Shawl of Midnight” takes place 18 years after “My Sisters Made of Light” and continues the story of Ujala, who is now living in India, and introduces her niece, Nafeesa, the teenage daughter of her martyred sister, Meena. Nafeesa goes to India to live with another sister, Faisah, and together they take a harrowing journey to rescue Ujala from her abusive husband. In her review of the book, Sandra Dallas writes the book “is a tale of family strength in an era of domestic terrorism. … St. Joan’s research is prodigious, especially her knowledge of women’s conditions in Pakistan, where a hint of impropriety can bring beatings, torture and even death. She writes knowingly about the strength of women living today under medieval laws and the networks they form to help each other. … ‘Shawl of Midnight’ (“if you give a woman a shawl, she is forever your sister”) is a graceful account of the sisterhood that allows oppressed women to survive.”
Barbara Nickless is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Sydney Parnell crime novels. Her new series features forensic semiotician Dr. Evan Wilding—a man whose gift for interpreting the words and symbols left behind by killers has led him to consult on some of the world’s grisliest cases. Winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Golden Quill Award, Nickless has been nominated for the Colorado Book Award five times and has won three. She lives in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where she loves to hike, cave, snowshoe, and drink single malt Scotch. Her most recent travels—while conducting research for a novel—involved taking cover from rocket fire and being grilled at military checkpoints.
“Dark of Night,” a novel about a sacred lost treasure and poisonous retribution, is the second in the Dr. Wilding series. When esteemed historian Elizabeth Lawrence is found in her car, killed by a cobra’s bite, only Dr. Wilding, a brilliant professor of semiotics, can see the signs around her strange death. As he helps homicide detective Addie Bisset decipher the scene, the puzzles left behind offer him a chilling passage into the mind of a killer.
The investigation merges with that of an Israeli agent, who claims Elizabeth was close to acquiring an invaluable artifact. She was also drawing the attention of unsavory treasure hunters, forgers, and thieves. Was someone desperate to expose the truth of Elizabeth’s astonishing discovery? The deeper Evan and Addie delve into the case, the darker it gets. A murderer’s archaic crimes are just the beginning. In a race where there can be only one winner, the final victim might be Evan.
Author J.v.L. Bell has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University and a Master of Science degree from Colorado School of Mines. She worked as a mechanical engineer for her entire career, including being an adjunct professor at Colorado School of Mines, but in 2015, she left engineering and sold her first Colorado historical mystery, ‘The Lucky Hat Mine.” In 2018, she published her first non-fiction book, a children’s biography about Elizabeth Byers. Her second Colorado historical mystery was published in 2019 and her third in 2021.” “The Lucky Hat Mine” and “Murder at Buckskin Joe,” are Will Rogers award winners.
Jan Gunia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado-Boulder and is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society for journalism and mass communication. Her passion for nineteenth century Colorado women’s history began in elementary school and continues to this day. Her extensive research of Colorado pioneers has taken her beyond Colorado to Maine and Kansas, where she visited Augusta Tabor’s former home and the Tabor land, respectively. While in those states, as well as in Colorado, she has conducted research at state archives, museums, local historical societies, and libraries.
“Women of the Colorado Gold Rush Era” explores the lives of ten unforgettable women who called Colorado home during the turbulent years of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. These unsung heroines whose perseverance, hard work, and wisdom helped lay the foundation for the state of Colorado include Amache Prowers, a successful Cheyenne businesswoman who negotiated life between two cultures; Mary Cozens, an early settler in Central City who later helped establish and run a ranch and stage stop in the Fraser Valley; Clara Brown, a former enslaved woman who became one of Colorado’s most beloved pioneers; and Albina Washburn, a radical reformer and suffragist who spent her life working for political, economic, and social change.
Cost for the talk and lunch is $27 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Reservations and payment can be made by PayPal online at the link below or by sending a check to CPW Treasurer Teresa Ford (email her for the address). Please RSVP by Friday, Nov. 3.
Ongoing CPW Events
The CPW Writers Group welcomes new members interested in stretching into creative writing, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry or scripts. We meet on the second Saturday of the month. For details, contact Ann Lockhart.