Award-winning local author Julie Phillips will give a master class for us on Sunday, 16 October 2022 from 15:00 to 17:00 at Studio BloemDwars, Bloemgracht 167, 1016 KM Amsterdam (see map) with drinks and bites afterward.

Julie is an American biographer, book critic and author of a critically acclaimed biography of James Tiptree, Jr. (the pen name for Alice B. Sheldon). Julie’s newest book examines the relationship between motherhood and creativity through the lens of multiple female artists like Alice Walker, Doris Lessing and Audre Lorde. In The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem, Julie tackles pre-conceived notions about who is allowed to be an artist.

“Imagine Naomi Mitchison in a London park, writing on a board balanced on her pram. Think of Shirley Jackson making plot notes while dinner was on the stove; Toni Morrison driving to work with a pad of paper in the car so that she could write whenever the traffic slowed.”

Julie Phillips and teacher Karen Kao hope to engage you in a wide-ranging conversation about the creative process. How did artists in the past find the nooks and corners of the day to practice their art? How do we writers do this today? If you have ever struggled with finding the time for your writing – whether it is parenting, work or other obligations that stands in your way – this master class is for you.

You can purchase copies of The Baby on the Fire Escape in ebook and hardback formats from most major retailers. If you’re based in Amsterdam, check with Athenaeum Boekhandel (Spui location) and the American Book Center.



Julie Phillips is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Hugo Award and the Locus Awards for her biography James Triptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon. Her short form work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ms., The Village Voice and the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw. She is the recipient of a Writing Creative Nonfiction Grant and an alumna of residencies at Hedgebrook and Willapa Bay AIR.

Karen Kao is a teacher with the International Writers’ Collective. She is the author of the novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, a work of historical fiction set in 1930s Shanghai. Karen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, an Asian short story anthology A Tapestry of Colours, The Common, The Shanghai Literary Review, among others.



In this series, working writers talk tips, tricks and techniques with a focus on a single novel or collection. The classes are conducted in an interview format with plenty of room for questions. Check out our podcast archive to listen to recordings of previous Master Classes with writers such as A.M. Homes, winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction; Kristen Roupenian, author of the viral short story “Cat Person”; and Jennifer Clement, PEN International president.

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