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LISTEN, WORLD!: A Conversation with Allison Gilbert and Liza Donnelly

November 16, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm

Join award-winning journalist Allison Gilbert and award-winning cartoonist and writer Liza Donnelly for a conversation about, LISTEN, WORLD!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America’s Most-Read Woman, the first biography of this remarkable pioneer co-authored by Allison Gilbert and Julia Scheeres.

This event is free with registration. An archive will be available to view online through the Digital Membership Platform (open to any Member of the Society) following the event. To become a Member of the Society, or to learn more about our many benefits, please go here. 

About the book:

100 years ago, a decade before Gloria Steinem was born and forty years before Betty Friedan identified “the problem that has no name,” American newspaper columnist Elsie Robinson pushed readers to rethink gender inequality. “I’m tired of hearing the differences of men and women emphasized and exploited,” she wrote in 1922. “It has built a wicked wall between the sexes and it’s time we knocked it down.” A writer who used her national platform to defy social mores, Robinson’s “Listen, World!” column reached more than 20 million readers, making her one of the most famous people in the country. But she’s been largely forgotten.

Now, New York Times best-selling author Julia Scheeres and award-winning journalist Allison Gilbert have written the first biography of this remarkable pioneer. Their cinematic narrative weaves meticulous research with Robinson’s own inspiring words, taken from her columns, interviews, books, and letters—most never digitized or previously available to today’s readers.

Born in the Victorian era to a poor family in Benicia, California, Robinson was expected to want nothing more than a husband and children. But she dreamed of a different life—one as a professional writer. 

At 35, desperately poor following a bitter divorce that made her the sole caretaker of her chronically ill son, she became the lone female mucker in a California gold mine, and spent her evenings typing up short stories and essays as she tried to break into the publishing industry. Her hard work paid off. In 1924, media powerhouse William Randolph Hearst hired Robinson and made her the highest-paid woman writer in his company. For more than 30 years, Robinson shared her blistering and unapologetic opinions in support of women’s rights and immigrants; deriding capital punishment, racism, and anti-Semitism; and urging women to realize bigger,

more fulfilling lives. She made history by being one of the first columnists in the country to also draw her own accompanying editorial cartoons.In LISTEN, WORLD!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America’s Most-Read Woman (Seal Press; September 27, 2022), Scheeres and Gilbert seek to rescue this heroine from obscurity, shining a light on her remarkable body of work and the heartbreaking paths she took to become one of the most prominent writers in America.

About the speakers:

Image by Elena Seibert

Allison Gilbert Allison Gilbert is an award-winning journalist and author of numerous books including Passed and Present and Parentless Parents. She is host “Women Journalists of 9/11: Their Stories,” a 20-part documentary series produced in collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. She interviewed such luminaries as Savannah Guthrie, Maggie Haberman, Dana Bash, and Linda Wertheimer. Allison is the official narrator of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s historical exhibition audio tour, the only female journalist to be so honored. She writes regularly for the New York Times and other publications. On her blog, she features Q & A’s with some of the most notable names in our culture today including, Arianna Huffington, Jon Stewart, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Dani Shapiro, Gretchen Rubin, and Susan Orlean. She lives outside New York City.

Liza Donnelly is an award-winning cartoonist and writer for The New Yorker Magazine and is a contributor to The NY Times, Washington Post, Medium, CNN, and CBS NewsAuthor of 18 books for adults and children, Women On Men was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and her most recent book is a history, Very Funny LadiesThe New Yorker’s Women Cartoonists, 1925-2021. Liza’s TED talk was translated into 40 languages, she served as a cultural envoy for the US State Department and has an honorary PhD from UCONN for peace and women’s studies. The innovator of digital visual journalism, she live-draws events such as the Oscars, debates and White House Press Conferences for major news outlets. Liza lives in New York.


November 16, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Event Category:
Free with registration:


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