Literary Cocktail Hour

The Literary Cocktail Hour is an fun, informal monthly event featuring a pair (or more) of speakers in an entertaining, illuminating virtual event that opens with cocktails!

Literary Cocktail Hour—The Lives They Have Lived

On Friday, September 10, The Brattleboro Literary Festival continues its 20th anniversary year with a very special Literary Cocktail Hour at 7:00 pm featuring four female memoirists and the books that tell their stories. Visual artist, writer and adoptee Megan Culhane Galbraith was born in a Catholic charity hospital in New York City to a teenaged resident of the Guild of the Infant Saviour, a home for unwed mothers and the title of her dizzyingly inventive hybrid memoir of one adoptee’s quest for her past. Galbraith pairs narrative with images from her art project, The Dollhouse, weaving a personal and cultural history of adoption as it relates to guilt, shame, grief, identity, and memory itself. Keema Waterfield’s book Inside Passage, is the story of her growing up chasing music with her twenty-year-old mother on the Alaskan folk festival circuit, two small siblings in tow. Summers they traveled by ferry and car, sharing the family tent with a guitar, cello, and fiddle, while Keema yearned for a place to call home; preferably with heat and flushing toilets. In Wait for God to Notice, Sari Fordham writes about her childhood in Uganda during and after the dictatorship of Idi Amin. The memoir centers on her Finnish mother who is increasingly conflicted about raising daughters in such dangerous circumstances. And Gina Troisi’s book, The Angle of Flickering Light is a memoir about parental deception and infidelity; it explores what it means for a girl to run recklessly into womanhood, clinging to any version of love, making temporary homes for herself again and again. These four writers will be in conversation with local author and activist Diana Whitney. Free and open to the public….register at the link below:

Megan Culhane Galbraith is a writer, visual artist, and an adoptee. She is the author of The Guild of the Infant Saviour: An Adopted Child’s Memory Book, a hybrid memoir-in-essays. Her work was Notable in Best American Essays 2017 and her writing and art has been published in HYPERALLERGIC! Severance Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Hobart, Longreads, Hotel Amerika, Catapult and Redivider, among others. She is a graduate and the Associate Director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, and the founding director of the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont Young Writers Institute.


Sari Fordham is a writer, teacher, and environmental activist. Her work has appeared in Chattahoochee Review, Brevity, Best of the Net, Booth, among others. She has received grants in nonfiction writing from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Djerassi Resident Artist Program. Sari is the author of the memoir Wait for God to Notice. She lives in Riverside, CA with her husband and daughter and you can find her at





Gina Troisi is the author of the memoir, The Angle of Flickering Light. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Fourth Genre, The Gettysburg Review, Fugue, Under the Sun, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, and elsewhere. Her stories and essays have been recognized as finalists in several national contests, including the 2020 Iron Horse Literary Review Trifecta Award in Fiction, the 2018 New Letters Publication Award in Fiction, American Literary Review’s Creative Nonfiction Contest, 2018, and others. She has taught classes and workshops in both traditional and nontraditional settings, including writing workshops for female adult survivors of sexual assault. She lives in coastal Maine.


Keema Waterfield was born in a trailer in Anchorage, Alaska the year John Lennon was shot, smallpox was officially eradicated, and the first Iran-Iraq War began. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Redivider, and Pithead Chapel, among others, and her Brevity essay “You Will Find Me In The Starred Sky” was a Best American Essays notable. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana. She now resides in Missoula, Montana, with her husband, two children, a bunch of extra instruments she doesn’t know how to play, and a revolving cast of quirky animals. She lives and writes on Séliš and Qlispé land. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @keemasaurusrex.



 Diana Whitney writes across genres with a focus on feminism, motherhood, and sexuality. Her first book, Wanting It, became an indie bestseller in poetry and her new edited collection, You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves, was a bestseller in poetry for teens and young adults. Her essays have appeared in the New York TimesGlamour, the Washington Post, and many more. A longtime poetry critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, Diana holds a B.A. from Dartmouth and a M.A. from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and she also attended the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.