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This blog was featured on 08/03/2018
STEP Scholarship Winner Bobi Gentry Goodwin on Inspiration and Being Heard
Written by
She Writes
August 2018
Written by
She Writes
August 2018

Author Bobi Gentry Goodwin was recently awarded the She Writes Press Toward Equality in Publishing (STEP) scholarship. The program exists to promote diversity in the publishing industry by providing a broader representation of writers of color. Her winning submission earned her a full publishing package and a 500-book print run.  We had the chance to chat with Bobi after the announcement of her scholarship award.

SW: Why is it so important for women to share their stories?

BGG: I grew up in a culture that promoted that children were seen and not heard.  As a child I was surrounded by women telling stories around the kitchen table while they played card games. Children were not allowed to speak, but we were allowed to listen. And listen is exactly what I did.  I heard stories of triumph, courage, fear, anger, faith, and love. These stories impacted me so much that I can tell many by heart and have told many to my children. Similarly, I was also reared in a community that men were at the top of the hierarchy. I saw these very women filled with boisterous laughter hushed to quiet whispers as men entered their sacred space.  I saw their valuable narratives of wisdom, truth, and life reduced to simple chatter. As a child I came to know then, what I am adamant about now. Women stories laced with experience, humor, creativity, hold power and should be echoed freely without restraint. Their voices was and are uniquely sacred in the narrative of life.

SW: Which women writers inspire you most?

BGG: I love writers. Their ability to weave stories that evoke the reader’s connection to their work has always marveled me.  Like many, I have my favorites.  It started as a child. My favorite series Encyclopedia Brown was a mainstay in my backpack. I read every book. Decades later my passion for certain writers still remains. When I discovered the works of Maya Angelou, I was humbled by her life and power in the words of her testimony. When she wrote Letter to my Daughter, I simply sat with a cup of tea and did not move until I finished her labor of love. I will forever cherish that work. She inspired and continues to inspire me. Toni Morrison is also a woman writer of excellence that amazes me.  The way she crafts her stories is like a fine multi-layered quilt- simply a work of art. These women writers I will carry with me always as a strong denominator to the craft. However, different writers inspire me at different times of my life. At this season in my life I cannot get enough of Jodi Picoult and how she tells a story. The way she captures a feeling all while building the story keeps me in awe.

SW: What advice do you have for women trying to make their stories heard?

BGG: Keep telling them. Women voices are imperative, literary and otherwise, and they cannot be heard if we get stifled along the journey. I strongly believe there is a season for everything and as long as we persevere our stories will be heard.

SW: Tell us a little about your project that won the STEP scholarship

BGG: My project is entitled Emergency Break.  It is a work of fiction that delves into the frenzied life of a social worker. Emergency Break candidly examines the experiences of Angela Lovelace as she manages the lives of others while her personal life unravels. Her professional and private struggles take the forefront as a member of the Lovelace family as she unwittingly discovers eerie details in a client’s life that directly mirrors her own.

SW: Where do you go to get inspired?

Inspiration comes in many forms and places for me, however, the one constant is that I have to be quiet enough to hear my own voice. So I guess the place I go to get inspired is inside of me. I find stillness in me makes room for a clearer vision and the voice of creativity to speak.

Bobi Gentry Goodwin has had a passion for writing since age 8. She has written poetry, short stories, and her first unpublished novel, Emergency Break. Professionally, she is a licensed psychotherapist in the field of social work and has worked with families in crisis for over twenty-five years. Her novel, Emergency Break, was birthed out of being on the front lines of trauma-informed care and the resilience she has witnessed through the hearts of her clients. She is an active member of her church and her local community. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work and currently resides in Livermore, California, with her husband and two daughters.

(Photo provided by Bobi Gentry Goodwin and styled by She Writes)

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