Featuring Lalita Tademy

Twenty years of climbing the corporate ladder took its toll, and I began to yearn for something else, something different and more personally fulfilling

About Lalita

Lalita Tademy is the New York Times best-selling author of three historical novels. Her debut, Cane River, was Oprah’s summer Book Pick in 2001, was translated into eleven languages and became San Francisco’s One City One Book selection in 2007. In 2015, Stanford University selected Cane River as assigned reading for all incoming freshmen. She has written two other novels, each released to critical acclaim— Red River, published in 2007, and Citizens Creek, published in 2014.

We had the opportunity to interview author Lalita Tademy, whose essay “Willie Dee” appears in All the Women in My Family Sing. This is what we learned…

What inspired you to write your essay for this anthology?

My mother died 12 years ago, but my appreciation and understanding of her deepens with every passing year. This essay reflects my gratitude for everything she enabled me to become.

Give an example of women’s roles in today's social justice movement.

I found myself in Washington DC in January 2017 at the Women’s March on Washington, in my 60s and participating in my first protest rally ever, surrounded by thousands of women and like-minded men declaring resistance to the exclusionary and mean-spirited nature of the current administration. Being in the middle of that crowd filled me with the power we woman have to make a visual and impactful dam against the rising hate and inequity in US today.

What have your experiences been in leadership as a woman of color?

My leadership efforts have been more as an individual who models personal creativity and independence rather than as a defined leader of a movement or an organization. I produce the most impactful work I am able to that can stand on its own, in a voice that represents and reflects marginalized people. 

What do you most hope readers will take away from reading this book?

A deeper understanding of the inspirational diversity of women’s experiences, voices, creative responses and resilience in the face of social injustice. From us, for us.