Like most Chicago citizens, I love Rhythm and Blues, but as a writer, I focus on women and Jews. Every month, I write a regular column on Arts & Culture for the
JUF News (Chicago’s large Jewish monthly) and film reviews for
WomenArts (a San Francisco-based website). I also freelance, run the
FILMS FOR TWO website with my husband Rich, & post on my Blog
THE HOT PINK PEN. In the past few years, I’ve also had numerous speaking gigs all around Metro Chicago, and as far afield as Corpus Christi, TX and Lexington, KY.
This is my third “Silver Feather.” I received my first feather in 2005, and my WOMEN’S eNEWS submission
(“Works of 11 Female Artists Are Oscar
Nominees”) went on to win First Place in Category 33D (“Best Writing for the Web—News”) from IWPA’s parent organization, the
National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). I received my second feather in 2006, and my JUF NEWS submission
(“Israeli Films: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near
You”) went on to receive an Honorable Mention from NFPW in Category 33A (Best Writing for the Web—Features). This year, IWPA recognized thirteen of my submissions: 3 First Place, 4 Second Place, 2 Third Place, and 4 Honorable Mention. (Note that my three First Place wins have been forwarded up to NFPW as IWPA’s official submissions in these three categories.)
Every year, the IWPA judges have made thoughtful and sincere comments about my work & their feedback has helped me to become a better writer. And of course it’s always fascinating to see which submissions rise to the top. For example, this year in Category 32F (Commentary Written Specifically for the Web—Columns/Reviews/Editorials) I submitted reviews of the following films (two per submission):
RECORDS, THE HURT
BODY, JULIE &
CLEANING, and YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG (all films written &/or directed by women). The judges selected THE HURT LOCKER & LEMON TREE (Second Place) and JULIE & JULIA and YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG (Honorable Mention). That’s good to know!
Huge thanks to IWPA’s Mate E. Palmer Communication Contest Committee & all the judges for the enormous amount of hard work required to make this such a valuable opportunity for Chicago writers.
“It Takes a Village!”
Writing is a very solitary activity, so writers need people to listen, argue, read, & critique what they do. I am blessed by the wonderful folks I call “Team Jan.” First & foremost, “Team Jan” consists of my husband/partner Richard, my BFF Dorthea Juul, & my schvester Elisa Steinberg.
Much gratitude also to my JUF News editors Aaron Cohen & Cindy Sher, Martha Richards of WomenArts, & all the incredible artists, authors, & filmmakers I interviewed &/or otherwise interacted with in 2009.
My appreciation to members all the groups in which I actively participate, including: the American Association of University Women (Chicago President Lori Switzer & Illinois Past President Kim Bensiger); the Chicago Film Critics Association (President Dann Gire & Board Members Erik Childress & Jeanne Kaplan); Chicago YIVO (President Jacob Morowitz & Board Members Bev Chubat, Frieda Landau & Joan Levin); International Women Associates (President Sharon Barton, Film Group Chairs Kay Moody & Robin Winter Odem, & mentors D. Clancy & Sel Yackley); & Chicago ORT (President Linda Grossman).
Special local friends include Carol & Steve Cann, Lucy Knight, Grace Kaminkowitz, Roz Lettvin, Bonnie McGrath, & Mark & Linda Shapiro. Cyberspace buddies include Fran Gragg, Prairie Miller, Robert Samson, & Melissa Silverstein.
Last but not least, huge thanks to all the folks who help me
do battle daily with my “To Do List” monster: Jarrod Ayme (web support), Dan Flavin (tech support), Bonnie Kustner (writing coach), Daniel LaVallie (webmaster), Dawn Raftery (editorial support), Elisa Schoenberger (web support), & Dana Sinn
Without all of these people (and even more left unnamed), I simply could not be the writer (or the person) I am today.