Our Steering Committee 2015-2018

Who’s Who on the Boston Chapter Steering Committee, 2015-2018 (from most recent candidate statements)

Barbara Beckwith, Co-Chair: beckwithb@aol.com

As co-chair for the past several years, I’ve focused on connecting members with similar interests to each other and to the union’s many resources, and on activating members to plan or present programs that can advance their careers. A goal for the coming years is to encourage us to use our skills as wordsmiths to speak out on issues that affect us as writers. As a journalist and essayist, I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, and movement publications, and co-authored a book critiquing the SAT. My collection of personal essays: What Was I Thinking? Digging Deeper into Everyday Racism (2nd in a series), comes out this summer. BeckwithB@aol.com, 617-868-3143. My blog:www.barbarabeckwith.net.

Charles Coe, Co-Chair: charles52@comcast.net

 I work fulltime for the Massachusetts Cultural Council as grant program officer. Before coming to the council, I was an editor and writer for Northeastern University Publications. As a freelancer I write poetry, magazine feature articles, book and music reviews, and do various kinds of work for hire.

I’ve been a member of the NWU since the mid 80’s. I served for two years on the National Executive Board (since renamed the National Executive Committee). I’m one of the original three founders of the union’s National Diversity Committee. I’m the long-time moderator of the popular Writers Life series, which our chapter co-sponsors with the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. One of my goals for the next year would be to expand our chapter’s outreach to younger writers. And finally, I would like to continue helping mentor NWU members who want to become more active in the local. 

John L. Hodge: hodge.john@gmail.com

I have been a NWU member for about 25 years. My nonfiction writings address our roles in furthering or frustrating the growth of democracy, since our democracy is partial and unfulfilled. As a current member of the Steering Committee, I seek to help NWU more fully meet the needs of writers who are not adequately served by the troubled publishing industry. I have a particular interest in helping NWU provide services to those considering self-publishing and other ways of making their writings available to the public. To learn more about me, my blog and my writings, please visit my website at JohnLHodge.com.

James Kates: jkates@worldpath.net:

Doubly resident in Boston and New Hampshire, a poet, literary translator and independent publisher, I have been a member of the NWU since its founding. In addition to strengthening the union as it is, I am interested in broadening the NWU beyond local, English-language-only interests to serve the multicultural writers and readers of New England.

Christopher Kenneally: chris@kenneally.com

As a Steering Committee member serving since 2002, I want to make more effective and more efficient the local’s various activities. I believe that the National Writers Union and the Boston chapter can build for writers an important forum enabling open discussion with editors, agents and others from the media industry. I especially want to help writers of all genres address the many professional challenges facing us, and to work toward growing the value of professional writing in the minds of readers and publishers. My latest book, Massachusetts 101, a short history of our state — from Redcoats to Red Sox — was published by Beverly-based Commonwealth Editions (seewww.mass101.com). I have contributed to numerous publications including the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, and Mass. High Tech.

Barbara Mende: barbara@moosehill.com

I’ve been active in the Boston chapter since 1994, including a few terms on our outstanding Steering Committee. Recently I’ve served as financial secretary. Nationally I coordinate assignments for the Grievance and Contract Division — which, along with the chapters, I believe makes us great. I’m a longtime delegate and spent 12 years on the NEC, where I learned that the most effective work is done on the chapter level and we have one of the most active chapters. I hope I can help to keep it that way. I write about careers, business, computers, and other humorous topics.

Shannon O’Connor: shannonboconnor@gmail.com

I am a fiction writer, poet, blogger, and sometimes essayist, who has been a member of the National Writers Union since 2013. I strive to be active in the writing scene in Boston and beyond, and want to contribute to transforming conditions for writers. I try to bring social justice issues to my writing, and hope to help people understand the world beyond what they know.