As I took part in the workshops we held recently at the Greenwich and Boston Public School systems and listened to the teachers who were there to learn more about our Scribbling Women series and its applications in the classroom, my uppermost sensations were satisfaction and surprise. Satisfaction to know that the ten stories, dramatized over a period of five years, would have another life beyond brief broadcast; and surprise because when we first devised the series I never imagined that one day I would be sitting among a group of enthusiastic high school teachers eager to use our plays in their classrooms.
Our first thought, when developing the concept of dramatizing American women's literature for broadcast on National Public Radio, was to bring beautifully written but neglected women's literature to the general public in dramatic form. We believed this would encourage a fresh look at the author or even prompt some to read the story for the first time. Because almost all of the funding for dramatization and production came from six State Humanities Councils, humanities advisors worked with us on each story. After a while I discovered that many of these professors were using cassettes of our dramatizations in their classrooms as teaching aids. When Kari Winter, one of our advisors and Associate Professor of English at the University of Vermont, sent me seven pages of notes written by her students after listening to our dramatization of Harriet Jacobs' "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" I knew that there was life after NPR for our Scribbling Women!
The road that led to the Scribbling Women Multi-Media Education Kit and then the Scribbling Women web site has been an interesting one. Each dramatization and production has been a challenge. We have tried to remain true to the author's original intent while creating scripts that would work in the aural medium of radio. Over sixty actors, four directors, and seven playwrights have brought their skills to our project and their talent will be plain when the plays are heard. Now our goal is to produce a new collection of Scribbling Women plays and to continue working with school systems that want to use radio drama as a way of introducing American women's literature into their curricula.
We hope you will write to us with your thoughts on our project and with ideas on those American women writers who you think should be included in our next Scribbling Women series.