Women of Letters

Women of Letters Celebrates the Lost Art of Letter Writing

by Holly Trantham

What do a pack of cigarettes, an ex-husband, and the nation of Cuba have in common? According to last night’s Women of Letters, a literary salon, they’re all someone’s Greatest Teacher.

For those unfamiliar, Women of Letters is an Australian non-profit that celebrates women’s voices and the (nearly) lost art of letter writing while raising funds for various charities. Each night hosts six different women who come write letters on a common theme, which last night was “My Greatest Teacher.” The events take place in cities across Australia and in New York, with proceeds benefiting charities like the New York Women’s Foundation. 

I’d been to a Women of Letters event before, but I jumped at the opportunity to go again to last night’s event at Joe’s Pub. Not only because they’re taking a summer hiatus—though if you, like me, live in NYC and find yourself occasionally looking for a reason to get out, there will be a “holiday” show in Hudson come August—and it’ll be a while before I get to see it again, but because it always manages to introduce me to someone whose work I’d previously been unaware of and inevitably become obsessed with.

Last night’s was no exception. The insanely talented lineup included Katja Blichfeld, Alexis Okeowo, Isabel Rose, Carolyn Castiglia, Meline Toumani, and Jeannie Gaffigan, and I immediately went to follow them all on Twitter after the show. Hearing their letters reminded me of reading words from my dearest friends. They were hilarious, surprising (who knew you could learn so much about judgment from smoking cigarettes?), and more than once I had tears in my eyes, and not just as a result of the wine.  

Unlike a letter, Women of Letters can’t be preserved. There’s a strict no recording policy, so no evidence of its having taken place exists beyond memories, ticket stubs, and the pre-stamped postcards left at each seat (thoughtfully placed so audience members can craft their own letter should they be so inspired). 

Like a letter, it’s an incredibly personal experience. You go and you watch these badass women talk about their lives in an intimate setting—Joe’s Pub is no dive, but it’s also no MSG—and it almost feels like it’s just for you and the women you’re sharing it with. 

These are truly one-of-a-kind evenings, with the added bonus of allowing the money you spend to do some good. Afterwards, you’ll maybe even be inspired to write a letter. So go already!

Read more on BUST.com:

Rape Survivors’ Love Letters To Themselves Are A Powerful Message Of Hope

Girls Love Mail: Write Letters To Those Newly Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

Father’s Open Letter To His Daughter Is The Perfect Response To The Beauty Industry

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