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Supporting Women Writers. Interview with Julie Maloney, Founder and Director of Women Reading Aloud.


If you're looking for a space to cultivate your writing among like-minded individuals, then you may want to check out Women Reading Aloud, an international organization "dedicated to the power of the writer's voice." Women Reading Aloud was founded in 2003 and offers a variety of events and resources that support women writers including writing workshops, literary salons, and annual retreats. This supportive community aims to empower women writers to take ownership of their own voices throughout their writing journey. This international organization welcomes writers and poets from all walks of life. Since its founding, Women Reading Aloud has welcomed and supported writers from throughout the U.S. and other countries, including Portugal, England, Greece, and more!

Founder and director of Women Reading Aloud, Julie Maloney, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Prior to starting Women Reading Aloud, Maloney was the artistic director, choreographer, and principal dancer of the Julie Maloney Dance Company. She received a Bachelor's in English from New Jersey City University and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina. She is also the author of Private Landscape, a book of poems published by Arseya Press. In 2018, she published her novel, A Matter of Chance. Maloney has a strong background in writing and creative work, and she looks to support the creativity of other women with Women Reading Aloud.

In an interview, Julie Maloney spoke with the Garden State Woman Education Foundation and shared her passion for writing and supporting women writers.

  • What made you start this organization?

Maloney thought it would be a good idea to have a community of women writers who want to be together because they love words, writing, and reading. She believes strongly in the importance of community. She says that "community and support are vital for any ideas and dreams that we hold dear." Thus, Maloney set out to create this space of support through Women Reading Aloud, which has now been encouraging women writers for 20 years. 

  • What do you love most about the Women Reading Aloud community?

"I love so many things," she began. Maloney loves that the Women Reading Aloud community is an international community. She loves that it began with just twelve women sitting around her dining room table and is now a 501c3 non-profit organization. She loves that Women Reading Aloud brings women writers from all different parts of the world. Women writers gather not just from New Jersey, but from other countries, including England, Germany, Canada, and Portugal. Remarkably, Women Reading Aloud has taken off simply through word of mouth. Maloney says that social media has played a part, but word of mouth is one of their strongest ways of spreading the word that Women Reading Aloud is a supportive community for women writers. She loves that Women Reading Aloud is open to all women writers, no matter what genre they're interested in or what level they're at in their creative journey. Maloney shared a story of how some women participate in a Women Reading Aloud workshop as closet writers, writers who don't want anyone to know that they're a writer. But after joining the community, they have learned that they can be proud of their voice. Maloney loves that Women Reading Aloud is a place that allows women to be proud of their work and honor their voices. 

  • How do you find your writing and creative inspiration?

Maloney finds her inspiration everywhere, every day. She says that as creative people, we are observers. Through observation, listening to how people speak, seeing how people move their bodies, inspiration is found. She mentioned that when she teaches, she says, "If you look at the world as if you're looking through a lens, in between the four corners, what is it that you see? It's not just what you see in the center, it's what you see in the corners." Maloney then shared her current observations during the interview. Sitting at her desk, she observes the snow falling outside her window. In this simple observation of the cold, white snow, she finds inspiration. Maloney says, "What inspires me is every single thing about life."

  • What can new participants expect from the various resources Women Reading Aloud provides?

When a women writer participates in a Women Reading Aloud workshop, literary event, or writing retreat they can expect a welcome with open arms. They can expect to be encouraged, valued, and supported. They can expect that their voice will be heard. Maloney explains that the mission of Women Reading Aloud is to acknowledge the power of one's own voice as well as the voices of others. "There is so much power in a voice," she says. Maloney believes that writers write to figure out what they didn't know they knew. And she wants women writers to be supported in this exciting process of discovering what is inside the deepest parts of their hearts, souls, and minds.

To learn more about Women Reading Aloud and for up-to-date events, visit womenreadingaloud.org. Visit Julie Maloney's website, juliemaloney.net. You can purchase her book, A Matter of Chance on Amazon.

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Tuesday, 26 September 2023
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