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Residents and visitors to Cape Ann are in for a special literary treat this July. Best-selling and critically-acclaimed local authors Anita Diamant and Charlotte Gordon come together for an intimate dialogue about their work and ties to Cape Ann in a conversation guided by award-winning Gloucester writer JoeAnn Hart at the Rockport Community House, 58 Broadway on Thursday, July 19, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

All are invited, free of charge, to drop in and listen as these dynamic women discuss the process and journey that led them to write award-winning books that draw from their experiences, biblical stories, historic passages, as well as the richness of Cape Ann. Called Local Color, the event is sponsored by Literary Cape Ann, a group that celebrates the written word in its many forms. A book-signing will follow as well as a reception at the Emerson Inn by the Sea. The Bookstore of Gloucester will be selling the books.

Anita Diamant moved to Boston in 1975 and began a career in journalism, writing for the Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, and Boston Magazine, among other publications. In 1997, she published her first work of fiction, based on a few lines from Genesis, called The Red Tent, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller, thanks to independent bookstores, book groups, and reader recommendations. In 2001, it was named Booksense Best Fiction by the Independent Booksellers Alliance.


Anita Diamant, photo by Gretje Fergeson

After The Red Tent, Diamant drew inspiration from her time on Cape Ann, writing Good Harbor about women’s friendship through cancer and The Last Days of Dogtown about life in the rural, wooded setting of the early 1800s where widows and spinsters found community in Dogtown. The Boston Girlis the story about a girl born in 1900 to immigrant parents new to the experiences of America, and Day After Night follows women who lived through the Holocaust and faced time in a British internment camp in Palestine before the founding of Israel. Her latest books return to her Jewish roots with The Jewish Wedding NowChoosing a Jewish Life, and Saying Kaddish. Diamant lives in Newton and Rockport.

Gloucester’s Charlotte Gordon earned literary critical acclaim with her book, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley, a dual biography about the defiant, creative lives of a mother who was a pioneering feminist and her daughter who went on to publish Frankenstein at age 19. Wollstonecraft died in 1797, 10 days after giving birth to Mary, yet they both lived rule-breaking lives in their day, having scandalous love affairs, bearing children out of wedlock, and living in exile in their own countries. Romantic Outlaws won the National Book Critics Award for Biography and was selected for Editor’s Choice awards in the London Sunday Times and the New York Times; as a Notable Book of 2016 by the American Library Association; and a BBC Radio4 Book of the Week.

In The Woman Who Named God, Gordon explores the biblical saga of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar in a tale of three monotheistic faiths amid a troubled but famous family, shedding light on the present, ongoing conflicts in Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds. Her book, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet, chronicles Anne Bradstreet as a formative poet and powerful personality who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630 at age 18 and her evolution from educated woman to frontier wife, mother, and writer despite many extraordinary hardships. Gordon lives in Gloucester and is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Endicott College in Beverly.


Joe Ann Hart


Author JoeAnn Hart lives in Gloucester. She is the author of the novels Float and Addled. Her short fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Orion magazine, The HopperWinds of Change: Short Stories About Our Climate, and the anthology Black Lives Have Always Mattered. She presented her novel Float, a dark comedy about plastics in the ocean, at the International Literature Festival Berlin 2017 as part of Reading the Currents – Stories from the 21st Century Sea. She has a nonfiction book about a 1970s murder and police shooting coming out in 2019 from the University of Iowa Press.

Join Literary Cape Ann for a fascinating conversation among authors as they explore their own inspiration for writing and what it means for them to live on Cape Ann.