1 May 2017

A Morning with Hanna Pearlstein Marcus

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Mitchell Maknis

Naugatuck Valley Community College held a Writers’ Conference on April 6, 2017, which featured a morning presentation and Q & A session by New England-based author Hanna Pearlstein Marcus. Marcus wrote the memoir Sidonia’s Thread—The Secrets of a Mother and Daughter Sewing a New Life in America which recounts the story of how she and her mother created a new beginning in the US after World War II. The author also spoke about the sequel, Surviving Remnant- Memories of the Jewish Greenhorns in 1950s America, published March 1, 2017. 

Marcus informed an attentive audience about the challenging life experiences that inspired her to tell her story. She said she felt her memoir is of interest to audiences because there are many stories about life during WWII, but not many that explain what happened to immigrants afterward. She recalled that although her mother didn’t smile much, Marcus was pleased to utilize pictures of her smiling mom on her book covers. She addressed the question of whether she had gone back to the areas of her youth to corroborate her recollections with others by responding candidly that’s just not how she wanted to write her story. She stressed the me in memoir, explaining the story was about her memories, so she felt it should be written solely from her perspective.

The author also offered listeners tips on techniques to craft and hone their own work. Marcus shared that she wrote her outline in four parts, which allowed her to focus on each subject and not become overwhelmed. She also advised writers not to get too attached to their titles, but to focus on crafting the story. Marcus’s titles changed frequently, with a title of the day during writing.

One way Marcus got her work noticed was by condensing the story into a two-minute presentation synopsis. This led to a national tour to support her first book. This was a good reminder that would-be writers should get used to speaking before an audience in order to hook prospective publishers and readers. To learn more about this fascinating author, visit her website: http://hannaperlsteinmarcus.com and look for her books, Sidonia’s Thread and Surviving Remnant, on Amazon.com.

Hanna Marcus kept her audience engaged whether with secrets from her past or details of her unique writing style. Her lecture was informative, fascinating and a great learning experience for writers. The time at the NVCC’s Writer’s Conference was well spent. 

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