Local writer and artist wins Honeybee Creative Nonfiction Award / iBerkshires.com

Suzi Banks Baum

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — An essay by a local writer and artist Suzi Banks Baum won The Good Life Review’s Honeybee Creative Nonfiction Award.

Baum’s winning essay, “Connect: Disconnect,” was inspired by Merritt Tierce’s New York Times Magazine cover story titled “The Abortion I Didn’t Have.” Baum’s essay looks at teenage life, sexual exploration, gender identity, confusion, and nurturing or lack thereof in 1970s Midwestern American culture.

In addition to the Nebraska Publication Award, Baum received a Nebraska Honey Pot. However, the award-winning review says the essay is more salty than sweet. Contest judge Jessica Hendry Nelson wrote:

“‘Connect: Disconnect’ strikes me with its unapologetic exploration of the power and pleasure of female sexuality. With careful attention to language and pacing, it combs through memory to unpack a complicated legacy of desire and of wonder. This essay does not flinch, capitulate, or tone down. By tracing his voraciousness, the narrator reminds the reader of the vital power of his own.

This is the second award Baum has won, both for excerpts from his memoirs in progress. She is a book writer and artist, and a teacher with a distinctive female-centered focus for her signature teachings. She travels to Gyumri, Armenia, to teach book arts to women artists.

Her book “An Anthology of Babes” gives voice to 36 artist mothers. His work has been published in the literary magazine Kerning (2021), “The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory” by Anchala Studios and the Walloon Writers Review. His piece “Shoal” won third prize in Hypertext Literary Magazine’s Doro Böhme Memorial Competition in 2021. His mixed media work appears in Storey Publications’ 2022 release, “Collage Your Life!” by Melanie Mowinski. In addition to her winning essay from her ongoing memoir, her art work has been featured in The Guild of Book Workers Journal and Mingle Magazine.

For the past year, Baum has been teaching online and in person in his backyard in Great Barrington and at the Snowfarm Craft Program in Williamsburg. She will lead a two-day Book Art Workshop at the Columbia County School of Art (New York) September 17-18. The coming year includes its flagship offering of “Advent Dark Journal,” a six-week immersion in creative practice that begins in late November and ends in early January.

Berkshire residents will have the opportunity to view Suzi’s work in person at her first open studio event at her garage studio at 39 Hollenbeck Avenue in Great Barrington, MA from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on October 9th. The day includes a demonstration of eco-dye paper and other art books. His artist’s books will be on display, along with a selection of hand-bound books and his own decorative papers for sale. More information about Suzi’s work, classes and workshops can be learned on her website, suzibanksbaum.com


Key words: awards, local art,

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