What a Year! Apply to be a Debutante!

It feels like it was only last month that Lisa Braxton, author of THE TALKING DRUM, recommended applying to The Debutante Ball. I was immediately interested. Everything I’ve ever done in my life – writing a dissertation, raising kids, finding jobs, working to influence politics – has been richer and more satisfying when done in the company of other amazing women. So I was really excited about the prospect of joining a community of writers that would support one another through our debut year. And the more I learned about the history of The Debutante Ball, the more excited I got about contributing to the preservation and growth of a legacy that stretches back to that first class of 2007.

It’s been an incredible year! It’s been so wonderful getting to know Elizabeth, Greta, Denny, and Lyn. These are smart, funny, insightful women who have something to say and know how to tear up a page. Each of their books is amazing and it’s been such a treat to get to cheer them on through all the highs and lows of debuting during this strange pandemic year.

In addition to benefiting from the sense of community, I’ve also learned serious skills. I still feel like a social media newbie but I’ve learned so much from my Deb sisters who are all more tech savvy than I  and incredibly generous about sharing their knowledge and skills. This year, it was exciting to bump things up for the Debs by investing more time and energy in our Instagram page and adding things like IGTV interviews that had never been done before.

Another thing I really enjoyed was getting to interview guest authors about their debut novels, their new projects, and their lives away from writing. Folks had so many funny stories and tips to share. And I learned that almost every single author spent time as a child voraciously reading cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, and anything else they could get their hands on.

I’m incredibly grateful to my fellow 2021 Debutantes as well as those who came before.


Author: Ehsaneh

Ehsaneh Sadr is an Iranian-American novelist and activist with a PhD in International Relations. She has worked, in various capacities, on campaigns related to Palestinian human rights, Iranian sanctions, access to credit for rural villagers, and safe spaces for children in crisis. She currently works with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to create the cultural and infrastructure changes needed to support a shift away from carbon-based modes of transportation. Ehsaneh currently lives in Northern California with her husband and two children but also considers Washington DC, Salt Lake City, and Tehran to be home.

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