GREAT BARRINGTON — Author and artist Suzi Banks Baum's essay, "Connect: Disconnect," has been awarded the 2022 Honeybee Literature Award for Nonfiction.
The award from The Good Life Review, an online literary journal based in Omaha, Neb., included a certificate and jar of Nebraskan honey. This is the second writing award Baum has won. In 2021, her essay, "Shoal," won third prize in the Hypertext Literary Magazine Doro Böhme Memorial Contest. Both are excerpts from her memoir-in-progress.
Her winning essay, "Connect: Disconnect," was inspired by the New York Times Magazine Dec. 2, 2021, cover article, "The Abortion I Didn't Have," by Merritt Tierce. Baum's essay, according to a release, delves into adolescent life, sexual exploration, sexual identity, confusion, and education or lack thereof in midwestern American culture in the 1970s, issues still highly relevant in today's world.
Honybee's nonfiction judge Jessica Hendry Nelson, author of the memoir "If Only You People Could Follow Directions," wrote of Baum's essay; “'Connect: Disconnect' strikes me with its unapologetic exploration of the power and pleasure of female sexuality. With fine attention to language and cadence, it combs memory to unpack a complicated legacy of want and wonder. This essay does not flinch, capitulate, or mitigate. In charting her voracities, the narrator reminds the reader of the vital power of her own.”
The full essay is available to read on the Good Life Review website: thegoodlifereview.com/issue-eight/connect-disconnect-by-suzi-banks-baum/.
Baum, who lives in Great Barrington, is a writer, book artist and teacher with with a distinctive women-centered focus for her signature teachings. She travels to Gyumri, Armenia, to teach the book arts to women artists. In 2013, she published "An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice," a collection of works by 36 artists mothers. Her writing has been published in Kerning literary magazine (2021), The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory by Anchala Studios and the Walloon Writers Review. Her mixed media work appears in Storey Publications 2022 release, "Collage Your Life!" by Melanie Mowinski and has been featured in The Guild of Book Workers Journal and Mingle Magazine.
Baum will host an open studio, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 9, at her garage studio, 39 Hollenbeck Ave., Great Barrington. For more information about Baum's writings and art, visit suzibanksbaum.com