Featured Writers and Poets

It’s Only Too Late If You Never Start

From The Pen Woman, Fall 2021

By Maxine Carlson

Jan Down stands by map holding a bookIowa City Branch member Jan Down celebrated the publication of her first book, “Wind in My Wheels: A Fifty State Odyssey,” a few weeks before her 82nd birthday.

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‘America at the Crossroads’ Back in the Spotlight

From The Pen Woman, Spring 2021

By Donna Puglisi

JoAnna O'Keefe“America at the Crossroads,” written by JoAnna O’Keefe, couldn’t come at a better time. Her lyrics plead with Americans to come together in this time of crisis—and country music artist Michael Peterson recorded her plea for unity as a song.

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The Incredible Audry Lynch and John Steinbeck Forever

From The Pen Woman, Summer 2019

By Luanna K. Leisure, Santa Clara County Branch

Audry-LynchIn May 2019, Audry Lynch Santa Clara County Branch member received the Delta Kappa Gamma Distinguished Service Award for Professional Service for her tireless work in the area of scholarly research on California author John Steinbeck. Her interest and fascination with Steinbeck began 50 years ago and continues today.

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Mary Lou Taylor, Poet Extraordinaire

From The Pen Woman, Fall 2018

By Luanna K. Leisure, Santa Clara County Branch

Mary Lou TaylorMary Lou Taylor, Santa Clara County Branch, was honored as a featured reader for the 40th anniversary celebration of Poetry Center San Jose (PCSJ). She was recognized for her contributions to the center as well as esteemed as a poet extraordinaire.

Taylor began writing poetry when she was 8 years old, inspired by her father, who always read to her. When asked, after a moment of thought, she said, “It’s just in me to write.”

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Billie Travalini: A Writer on a Mission

From The Pen Woman, Fall 2018

By Mary Lou Griffin, Diamond State Branch President

Billie Travalini has been an active letters member of the Diamond State Branch since 2008. She is a teacher and an internationally known writer and speaker.

“Life is good,” she says, and quickly adds that good does not always equate to easy.

At 12, Travalini was an abused child at the hands of her father. At 14, her father made good on his promise to put her “away,” in her words, “to keep family secrets secret.” 

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