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Female Authors Describe Life Trials, Successes of Writing

Contributing essayists from the books "The Secret to Their Success: How 33 Women Made Their Dreams Come True" and "The Long Way Around: How 34 Women Found the Lives They Love" met for a discussion initiated by the Carolina Women's Press, and co-sponsored by the Women's Center of Chapel Hill and the Carolina Women's Center.

Diane Kjervik, director of the Carolina Women's Center, said the purpose of the gathering was to listen to life advice from women who aspired and achieved great things in diverse areas.

"We also want to honor the women authors and hear what they have to say," she said.

Each speaker had a unique story to tell, including problems such as alcoholism and depression.

"The thing about depression is that you never know you are depressed," said Mirinda Kossoff, a freelance writer and director of communications at Duke University Law School.

"Writing became my outlet after I attended a writer's camp eight years ago. Now I feel transformed, and I am my own person."

Kossoff is not the only woman who has overcome battles to become a success story.

"My life has been made up of ignorance, good spunk and luck," said Anne Scott, a retired history professor from Duke University.

Scott told of being born during the Depression and growing up amid the women's movement.

Dorette Snover, a culinary writer and stylist, described her interest in cooking.

"I began to put the world together using a menu," Snover said.

"I explore the roles of cooking and food in our lives today, and I encourage everyone to work on their own processes and to explore that."

Other women, like Llana Dubester, co-founder and executive director of the Hispanic Liaison, described how she came to live in North Carolina, where she was able to feel accepted.

"Growing up in Brazil and being a Jewish Brazilian, and then moving to Israel and being a Brazilian Jew, I have always had the feeling of not belonging anywhere," Dubester said.

"North Carolina really comforted me because I was amazed by the increasing Latino population."

One of the women even described her past occupation as a 900-number spiritual adviser.

"(Psychic Friends) was a legitimate company, and it really opened my eyes to new things," said Diane Brandon, an intuitive counselor who teaches classes ranging from voice lessons to dream interpretation.

Children's author Clay Carmichael told of the impressions her father made on her life.

"My father never grew up, he never matured, and he has given me the gift to write and work with children today," Carmichael said.

"He was my best friend; I owe everything to my dad."

Kjervik said the discussion was important to fostering unity at UNC.

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She said, "We hope to bring out issues affecting women to the students, faculty and staff."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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