Alumni Ink

Forgotten Prophet

By Samantha Perpignand 13C

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Had she been born a boy, Sarah Grimke might have been the “greatest jurist in the country,” according to her own father. In early 19th-century America, though, such careers were closed to women. Nevertheless, Grimke and her sister, Angelina, abandoned their comfortable lives among the elite of Southern society to speak out against slavery and for women’s rights. In the 1830s, Grimke published the first biblically based argument for women’s rights in her Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, inspiring the generation that won suffrage for women. Though the Grimkes faced abuse and ridicule, their testimony on the atrocities of slavery rocked the abolitionist movement. Archival records of Grimke’s diaries and letters are the source for the poems of Amy Benson Brown 95PhD in The Book of Sarah. Each poem illustrates an aspect of her life, whether a description of war-ravaged Charleston or commentary on a photo of the enslaved woman who bore three sons by Grimke’s brother. Brown explains, “With these poems, I wanted to figure out what propelled Sarah Grimke out of the path that seemed her destiny, and what history required as the price for her daring.”

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Teenage Advice: At age sixteen, Vanessa Van Petten 07C started her award-winning website RadicalParenting.com after facing friction with her parents. Today, Petten is a premier “youthologist” who works daily with teenagers to gain their insight on pressing issues and translate that into advice for parents. Her website has snowballed into an international enterprise that includes 120 teenage interns who offer an open and honest view into the mind of today’s youth. Her latest book Do I Get My Allowance before or after I’m Grounded? has been called “a rational approach to defuse hand-to-hand combat parenting” by Kirkus Reviews, and includes practical solutions to modern problems such as cyberbulling. Petten is also a CNN columnist and has appeared on The Today Show and Fox.

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High-Seas Hijinks: Twelve-year-old Kitto comes of age as he embarks on a cross-Atlantic lam after he was framed for the murder of his father in The Dagger Quick. But on these seventeenth-century seas, pirates abound, and Kitto must prepare for an adventure for which his apprenticeship as a cooper never trained him. His only guidance is his mysterious uncle whose sudden appearance provides more questions than answers, and Kitto must learn to stay true to his beliefs even while uncovering dark family secrets. In this well-researched novel, Brian Eames 96G, a Paideia schoolteacher for fifth and sixth graders, crafts an adventure tale with historical accuracy.

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Murder, Mutiny, and Misadventure: Caught between love and war, Captain Joe Harding’s downtime consists of romantic misadventures. But on the Wheelus Air Base, murder and mutiny place Captain Harding in a catch-22. The novel, set in 1967 Libya and focusing on the frolics of air base personnel in Captain Harding’s Six Day War, is based on the experiences of author Elliott Mackle 77PhD during his four years in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Mackle is a novelist and food critic, and has also been published in Food and Wine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Los Angeles Times. Mackle is the founding cochair of Emory’s Gay and Lesbian Alumni.

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