by Hannah Bennett, WNBA-NYC Chapter President
The Women’s National Book Association’s strength and vitality has always depended on its extraordinary member volunteers. Nowhere is this more evident than at the annual National Meeting, where chapter representatives from across the country come together in support of our nationwide efforts in advocacy, education, and connection.
As the newly appointed President of the New York Chapter, this was my first opportunity to attend the National Board meeting, hosted in beautiful San Francisco by the WNBA-SF chapter. From the moment I walked through the doors of the Grant Plaza Hotel in Chinatown, I was greeted by welcoming, fascinating bookwomen with years of dedication to the WNBA. I knew this would be no ordinary board meeting.
During our first evening, we explored the literary heritage of San Francisco, with stops at the Beat Museum and City Lights Bookstore–literary hangout of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It was a stirring introduction to the Golden Gate City, and topped off with after-dinner drinks at the famous literary Vesuvio Cafe, where we drank “Jack Kerouacs” and “Bohemian Coffees.”
As the weekend progressed, we heard reports about our long-running national awards, including the popular Pannell Award, and from the committees on National Reading Group Month and the upcoming Centennial celebrations. We heard from brand new sister chapters (welcome, Greater Philadelphia chapter!), defined our mission statement, and voted in our new national board. In the evenings we dined with a view of the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf, climbed the steep hills with occasional breathers, and enjoyed the spectacular city.
We also created an official Women’s National Book Association drink—with the help of David Vileta, mixologist at The Keystone—called The Mission Statement. Ingredients are listed in the picture to the left and below in the slideshow.
A special congratulations to Jane Kinney-Denning on becoming the new National President, and a special thanks to Carin Siegfried, Immediate Past-President, for all you did during your term.
To thank everyone would take a novella, so I must end by congratulating the entire board for your passion, inclusivity, and dedication, without which this historic organization would cease to be. You truly represent the organization’s creed, as stated by Pauline C. Sherwood in 1927:
“[…] Believing that it is impossible to isolate any single instrumentality in the great arterial circulation of thought, this Association is created to include in a single working body, women writers, women booksellers, women critics, women editors, women librarians, and women advertisers, […] as a means of education to more consciousness in ourselves and as an organized power to further in every instance of which we can make use, the freer movement of life and truth.”
Hannah Bennett is the Managing Editor at RosettaBooks, where she co-manages the Editorial, Production, and Design department. She is a member of the Pace University M.S. in Publishing program advisory board, and was a speaker at Pace’s 4th Annual International Conference on the Publishing Industry in Wuhan, China in 2014. Hannah holds a B.A. in Communications and Dramatic Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University in New York City. In her spare time, Hannah is a writer and musician, and can occasionally be seen reading or performing in venues around New York City.