Who We Are
Persimmon Tree, an online magazine, is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over sixty. Too often older women's artistic work is ignored or disregarded,
and only those few who are already established receive the attention they deserve. Yet many women are at the height of their creative abilities in their later decades and have a
great deal to contribute. Persimmon Tree is committed to bringing this wealth of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to a broader audience, for the benefit of all.
Here is a way of finding out more about who we are: our summer reading lists.
Sue Leonard retired from teaching history at an independent girls’ school in 2004.
- Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases — novel set in the early years of the Dirty War in Argentina
- Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother? — her latest graphic novel
- Eduardo Galeano, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
- Oliver Sachs, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
- Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
- Pete Seeger, In His Own Words
Nan Gefen founded Persimmon Tree in 2007 and is its current publisher. Her novel, Back to Clear Lake, is forthcoming.
- Julie Orringer, The Invisible Bridge, a saga about three Hungarian brothers that spans before/after WWII
- Caroline Leavitt, Pictures of You — two families and the results of a car accident
- Caroline Moorehead, A Train in Winter — nonfiction France resistance during WWII
- Maggie O’Farrell, The Hand That First Held Mine — two mothers and their struggles
- Carol O’Connell, Mallory’s Oracle — a mystery with a quirky woman detective
Kitty Cunningham retired in 2004 from her position as Head Librarian from the same independent girls’ school at which Sue worked.
- She says the best book she read this summer is Quicksand and Passing by Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larson.
- She also recommends a mystery writer — Martin Walker. His detective, Bruno, lives in truffle country in France and he has a truffle dog. One to try: Black Diamond.
Natalie Levy describes her life in reverse: artist, legal recruiter, lawyer, mother, student, little kid.
Listening and reading:
- Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
- John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
- Several Donna Leon mysteries
- Fewer Laura King mysteries
- David Sedaris, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk
- Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin and Zoli
- Robinson Mistry, A Fine Balance
Elizabeth Zimmer writes about the arts, mostly dance, and teaches writing all over the place, most recently at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.
- Harry Belafonte, My Song
- Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists
- Alan Bennett, Smut
- Draw it with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment
- John Franceschina, Hermean: The Man Who Danced with Fred Astaire
- Varley O’Connor, The Master’s Muse
- David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
- Toni Bernhard, 10,000 Joys 10,000 Sorrows: Awaken Like a Buddha to Life as It Is
Jean Zorn teaches, despite having supposedly retired, at CUNY School of Law, and spent the summer researching the response of courts in the South Pacific to
gender violence. Given the gravity of that topic, her summer recreational reading list was even more frivolous than usual, consisting almost entirely of
mysteries, YA fiction, and the Daily Racing Form.
Gena Raps is a concert pianist whose new recording of the late piano works of Brahms will be released soon. She is on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music
Listening and reading:
- Shostakovich, Trio for violin, cello and piano
- Arensky, Trio for violin, cello and piano
- Stravinsky, Rite of Spring for piano, four hands
- Rachmaninov, Op. 11 for piano four hands
- Brahms, Sonata No. 3 in D minor for violin and piano
- Brahms, Trio in C major for violin, cello and piano
- John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
- Heinrich Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet
Wendy Barker has published five collections of poetry and three chapbooks, most recently, Nothing Between Us, a novel in prose poems. She is
Poet-in-Residence and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
- Sandra Steingraber’s terrific, deeply disturbing Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment
- Donovan Hohn’s delightful (though also disturbing) read, Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
- Daniel Rirdan’s forceful, convincing The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse
- Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk — an hilarious, brilliant novel
- Teju Cole, Open City
- Steve Stern, The Book of Mischief: New & Selected Stories
- Lots of poems and poems in journals, but especially focusing on Martha Collins, Blue Front and White Papers
Marcia Freedman is a member of the founding Editorial Board of Persimmon Tree. She has published a political memoir, Exile in the Promised Land, an account of the establishment of second-wave feminism in Israel and her experience as a Member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).
- Steve Sem-Sandberg and Sarah Death, Emperor of Lies about Chaim Romkovski, the Eldest of the Jews of the Lodz Ghetto, who did the Nazis’ bidding and became wealthy.
- Anouk Markovits, I Am Forbidden set against the background of what became infamous: a pre-state Zionist emissary to a Nazi ghetto who traded the deceptive and unopposed deportation of most of the Jews to extermination camps in exchange for the safe passage for a trainload of the chosen few.
Nan Fink Gefen
Ads and Outreach
Melanie Kaye Kantrowitz
Maxine Hong Kingston
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Zaki Consulting Inc. / Laura Laytham Zaki
We acknowledge with gratitude the help
and support of our many friends—and we remember our dear friend, Esther Broner, who inspired us as we created
the magazine and whose spirit continues to inspire.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
to contact the Persimmon Tree editorial staff.
with any problems you have with this website.
We prefer to communicate through email,
but if you need to snail mail us something,
our address is:
1534 Campus Drive, Berkeley, CA 94708.
Links to Friends and Associate Sites
The Adirondack Review
Apple Valley Review: A Journal of Contemporary Literature
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal
Mad Hatters' Review
Miranda Literary Magazine
Poets & Writers
Story Circle Network
Women Who Write
International Women's Writing Guild
WOW - Wise Older Women
National Resource Center, Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes
Women's Studies Librarian
Websites of Contributors, Editors, and Advisors
Sandra M. Gilbert
Maxine Hong Kingston
Flo Oy Wong
If you enjoy the magazine, consider making a donation.