Greenwich Pen Women, a branch of the National League of American Pen Women, is a non-profit organization of women artists, writers, and musicians. We offer mutual support and exchange of ideas to encourage and inspire excellence in original creative work.

Ice Storm Petals by Catherine Stahl
Ice Storm Petals by Catherine Stahl


In the coldest February, as in every other month in every other year, the best thing to hold on to in this world is each other.

-- Linda Ellerbee, Move On: Adventures in the Real World, 1991.

Note from our President:

I’m writing this month’s note with snow falling outside the window. Winter has finally arrived. But indoors Greenwich Pen Women are busy writing, painting, and composing. Check out this month’s Member News to see what everyone has been up to.

Just a reminder, we’ve added a blog to the website and would love to feature your work.

Board Slate for 2020-2022 and voting link

Thank you to Deb Weir for chairing the Nominating Committee, assisted by Leigh Grant and Kathy DiGiovanna. They have come up with a fantastic slate for your Executive Board:

President: Lee Paine
Vice President: Leigh Grant
Recording Secretary: Barbara Ehrentreu
Corresponding Secretary: Kathy DiGiovanna
Membership Treasurer: Joyce French
Finance Treasurer: Doris Mady

The link to vote was sent out to all current members. Please email me if you would like me to send it to you again. It’s a simple Google form asking you to check yes or no and enter your name so we know which members have voted.

Coline Jenkins Challenge Committee

Following the holiday luncheon and the inspiring talk by Coline Jenkins, great-great-granddaughter of Suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an email was sent to all Greenwich Pen Women in order to form a volunteer committee to address the book challenge that Coline presented at the end of her speech. The following members volunteered: Barbara Ehrentreu, Alma Rutgers, Ellen Fagan, Catherine Stahl, Judy Crystal, Karen Heffner, Leigh Grant, and consulting, Joanne Dearcopp, Sarah Darer Littman, and Nancy Burke. We held a brainstorming meeting on January 9th that resulted in the GPW group effort being directed toward asking National to dedicate one quarterly, either Winter 2021 or Spring 2021 to commemorating women's right to vote, the 19th Amendment, and the Suffragettes. National was contacted, a proposal was written, and their board will vote on the proposal on January 18th. If they okay this effort, the door would be open to Pen Women nationwide to contribute submissions to this commemorative quarterly. There were three other projects thrown out by Coline that we categorized as one-on-one with Coline and therefore outside GPW. They were a children's book, the graphics for the program for the unveiling of the statue group, and contributions to a blog on the website of There were even ideas further outside these which included a proposed biography and a column in the newspaper. If anyone feels motivated to take one of these on, please contact Coline directly*. 


The next LETTERS meeting will be held at the Second Congregational Church (entrance on North Maple), Friday, February 7 from 10 to noon.


The next ARTS critique will be held at the Cos Cob Library Meeting Room, Wednesday, February 12 from 1 – 3 PM.


The open mic program was such a success that Cos Cob library is keen to welcome us back. Stay tuned for a date in late March/early April.

Diane is also looking into a program on How to Self-Publish Your Book with publishing expert Dr. Jan Yager.

Member news

Please give a warm Pen Women welcome to our new Letters member, Joni Marie Iraci. Be sure to read about her in this month’s Member Spotlight. We would love to feature more of you, so please don’t hide your light and talents under a bushel, email Doris so we can share how you shine!

Also, our Web Goddess, Doris Mady, has created a new feature on our blog: HINT OF THE MONTH. Please share your creative hints with your fellow artists, writers, and composers. 

~ ~ Sarah and Leigh

* Contact Leigh to be put in touch. 

GPW President Sarah Darer Littman

Spotlight: Joni Marie Iraci

In the 1970s, Joni Iraci worked as a staff and charge R.N. in a northern New Jersey hospital, before moving to New York City where she worked as a night nurse on the breast and bone oncology unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She subsequently made a life changing career move when she accepted an offer to work as a staff nurse on the EENT (eye, ear, nose, throat) and plastic surgery unit at Lenox Hill Hospital. It was there where she met her husband, who was a surgical intern at that time. They married and relocated to Pittsburgh for one year to do a critical care fellowship. Returning to New York, Joni helped her husband with his surgical practice and raised three children. Once the nest was semi-empty, Joni returned to school to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a writer.

In 2013, at the age of 60, she earned a BA in liberal studies with a concentration in writing and literature from Sarah Lawrence College; in 2017, she earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She is a fiction writer. After publishing several short stories in literary journals, her debut novel, ”Reinventing Jenna Rose,” was published in May 2019. It has received favorable reviews on Amazon, Kirkus, and Goodreads. She gave a talk to the Rotary Club in Rye, NY. where she discussed her journey as an adult returning to school and the trials and tribulations of publishing in your later years. She was invited to talk at The Strand bookstore in New York City. Along with Hollywood Historian and author, Tom Santopietro, she gave an in-conversation talk which can be found on She is a retired R.N. who has completed a novella, is working vehemently on her second novel, “Vatican Daughter,” and tending to her rescued animals.

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