New York Times bestselling author Julia Scheeres and award-winning journalist Allison Gilbert will be in conversation with Liam O'Donoghue (East Bay Yesterday podcast), discussing their new book Listen, World!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America's Most-Read Woman. They'll discuss the first biography of Elsie Robinson, the most influential newspaper columnist you've never heard of - unless you're an East Bay native who remembers the Oakland Tribune's Aunt Elsie column, which she originated right here in 1918.
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
Masks required; panelists will be unmasked during their discussion but will be 10 feet away from the audience.
Allison Gilbert is an award-winning journalist and author of numerous books including Passed and Present and Parentless Parents. She lives outside New York City.
Liam O’Donoghue is the host and producer of podcast East Bay Yesterday and co-creator of the Long Lost Oakland map.