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CBAW Loves

A new book club podcast hosted by Seema Reza (CEO, CBAW/ author, When the World Breaks Open & A Constellation of Half Lives) and produced by Amelia Bane. Each episode Seema invites a rotating cast of fellow writers and authors to discuss a book of the month. Through the podcast, we will continue virtually building community and fostering genuine connection through reading. Available on Apple & Spotify Podcasts, or YouTube Video at the icons below.




Latest Episode

Women of the Post: Featuring discussion with author Joshunda Sanders & participants
from CBAW’s More Than One Story workshop for Women & Non-binary Military

Show Notes

Episode 9: Women of the Post – featuring discussion with author, Joshunda Sanders

In this episode, we welcome Women of the Post author, Joshunda Sanders for a conversation with Seema, Amelia and participants from CBAW’s More Than One Story program. Our discussion includes stories about the real-life women who inspired the characters in novel, what it means to exist in a place that was not designed for you, and what has (and has not) changed in the military since WWII.

Don’t forget: We want to hear from you! Read the book and send in your thoughts to or share them on social media using the #CBAWLOVES hashtag. We will read or play your comments on a future episode!

About Women of the Post

Inspired by true events, Women of the Post brings to life the heroines who proudly served in the all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps in WWII, finding purpose in their mission and lifelong friendship.

1944, New York City. Judy Washington is tired of having to work at the Bronx Slave Market, cleaning white women’s houses for next to nothing. She dreams of a bigger life, but with her husband fighting overseas, it’s up to her and her mother to earn enough for food and rent. When she’s recruited to join the Women’s Army Corps–offering a steady paycheck and the chance to see the world–Judy jumps at the opportunity.

During training, Judy becomes fast friends with the other women in her unit–Stacy, Bernadette and Mary Alyce–who all come from different cities and circumstances. Under Second Officer Charity Adams’s leadership, they receive orders to sort over one million pieces of mail in England, becoming the only unit of Black women to serve overseas during WWII.

The women work diligently, knowing that they’re reuniting soldiers with their loved ones through their letters. However, their work becomes personal when Mary Alyce discovers a backlogged letter addressed to Judy. Told through the alternating perspectives of Judy, Charity and Mary Alyce, Women of the Post is an unforgettable story of perseverance, female friendship and self-discovery.

Author Bio

Joshunda Sanders is an award-winning author, journalist and speechwriter. A former Obama Administration political appointee, her fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in dozens of anthologies. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships at Hedgebrook, Lambda Literary, The Key West Literary Seminars and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. Women of the Post is her first novel.

About More Than One Story

More Than One Story (MTOS) is a monthly online writing and creative arts workshop partially funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ SSG Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant. In these special workshops, artists and writers help participants connect across shared experiences of service as women and non-binary people by writing poems, stories, journaling, narratives, and creating visual arts such as paintings and meditative art. No experience with art making or poetry is necessary. Learn more.


Support CBAW Through Bookshop!

Remember, there’s always time to read along! When you purchase books through our affiliate storefront, 10% of each purchase is sent to CBAW and your shopping will help support our free programs for Veterans, Active Duty Military, Healthcare Providers, and Caregivers. Any book purchased from Bookshop counts toward the donation as long as you see our name at the top of your page while shopping.
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Upcoming & Current Book Club Selections

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Previous Episodes

Show Notes

Episode 8: Monstrilio- featuring discussion with poet Tarfia Faizullah

In this episode, we discuss Gerardo Sámano Córdova’s debut novel Monstrilio with poet and recurring CBAWLoves panelist, Tarfia Faizaullah.

Don’t forget: We want to hear from you! Read the book and send in your thoughts to or share them on social media using the #CBAWLOVES hashtag. We will read or play your comments on a future episode!

About “Monstrilio”

Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased eleven-year-old son Santiago’s lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family’s decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses–though curbed by his biological and chosen family’s communal care–threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life.

A thought-provoking meditation on grief, acceptance, and the monstrous sides of love and loyalty, Gerardo Sámano Córdova blends bold imagination and evocative prose with deep emotional rigor. Told in four acts that span the globe from Brooklyn to Berlin, Monstrilio offers, with uncanny clarity, a cathartic and precise portrait of being human.

Author Bio

Gerardo Sámano Córdova is a writer and artist from Mexico City, where he currently resides. He holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan. He has studied with Alexander Chee at Bread Loaf as a work/study scholar, and with Garth Greenwell at Tin House. His work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Passages North, and Chicago Quarterly Review, and is forthcoming in The Common.

About Our Guest

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (Graywolf, 2018) and SEAM (SIU, 2014). Tarfia’s writing appears widely in the U.S. and abroad in the Daily Star, Hindu Business Line, BuzzFeed, PBS News Hour, Huffington Post, Poetry Magazine, Ms. Magazine, the Academy of American Poets, Oxford American, the New Republic, the Nation, Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket, 2019), and has been displayed at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere.

The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, three Pushcart prizes, and other honors, Tarfia presents work at institutions and organizations worldwide, and has been featured at the the Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh, the Library of Congress, the Fulbright Conference, the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Radcliffe Seminars, NYU, Barnard, UC Berkeley, the Poetry Foundation, the Clinton School of Public Service, Brac University, and elsewhere.

Tarfia’s writing is translated into Bengali, Persian, Chinese, and Tamil, and is part of the theater production Birangona: Women of War. Tarfia’s collaborations include photographers, producers, composers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists, resulting in several interdisciplinary projects, including an EP, Eat More Mango. In 2016, Tarfia was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change, and is a 2019 USA Artists Fellow. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Bangladeshi immigrants and raised in Texas, Tarfia currently lives in Dallas.


Show Notes

Episode 7: In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World, featuring discussion with Amber Flame & Ben Weakley

In this episode our guests Amber Flame & Ben Weakley chat with us about Pádraig Ó Tuama’s ‘In The Shelter.’ Topics include faith, reconciling contradictions within the self, and finding shelter in one another.

Don’t forget: We want to hear from you! Read the book and send in your thoughts to or share them on social media using the #CBAWLOVES hashtag. We will read or play your comments on a future episode!

About “In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World”

From master storyteller and host of On Being’s Poetry Unbound, Pádraig Ó Tuama, comes an unforgettable memoir of peace and reconciliation, Celtic spirituality, belonging, and sexual identity.

“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Drawing on this Irish saying, Ó Tuama relates ideas of shelter and welcome to our journeys of life, using poetry, story, biblical reflection, and prose to open up gentle ways of living well in a troubled world.

In the Shelter introduces Corrymeela, the Northern Ireland peace and reconciliation community Ó Tuama led for many years, and throughout the book he reveals the power of storytelling in communities of conflict. From the heart of a poet comes a profound look at the landscapes we all try to inhabit even as we always search for shelter, a place we can call home.

An instant spiritual classic in Ireland and Britain, now brought to a US readership.

About Our Guests

Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary creative, activist and educator whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and more. A former church kid from the Southwest, Flame’s work is published widely and explores spirituality and sexuality, cross-woven with themes of grief and loss, motherhood and magic, and interstitial joy. A 2016 and 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and Jack Straw Writer Program alum, Amber Flame’s first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, was published in 2017 through Write Bloody Press. Flame was a recipient of the CityArtist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to write, produce and perform her one-person play, Hands Above the Covers. In early 2018, Flame co-curated the art installation Black Imagination at Core Gallery in Seattle. Her first solo exhibit debuted in 2019 with a project entitled ::intrigue:: 8, a multimedia installation, through Jack Straw Production’s Artist Support and New Media Gallery fellowships. Hugo House’s 2017-2019 Writer-in-Residence for Poetry, Flame’s second book of poetry, titled apocrifa, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Flame has created and implemented programming for more than 15 years, working in education equity, Black media, youth empowerment, and with women and youth impacted by incarceration. Recently named Program Director for Hedgebrook, she continues to work as a writing instructor while working on a third collection of poetry, remounting her full-length play, developing a few nonfiction anthologies, and raising her daughter. Amber Flame is a queer Black mama just one magic trick away from growing her unicorn horn.

Ben Weakley spent fourteen years in the U.S. Army, beginning with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and finishing at a desk inside the Pentagon. He writes poetry and prose about the enduring nature of war and the human experience for veterans, their families, and anyone who would help them bear witness to war and its aftermath.

A believer in the power of words to empower and heal, Ben leads writing workshops for Active Duty Military, Veterans, their families and caregivers, as well as Frontline Health Care Workers and other communities of ordinary people bearing witness to a difficult world.

Ben lives in the Tri-Cities of Northeast Tennessee with his wife, two children, and a well-meaning but poorly behaved hound-dog.

Join The Book Club!

Join our Book Club and be part of the conversation! Share your thoughts and comments on the books we’re reading, or the episodes that resonated with you. We value your input and may even feature your comments in future episodes! You can contribute by emailing us your text thoughts or sending audio/video clips to Alternatively, share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #CBAWLOVES.

United Against Silence

In our very first podcast series United Against Silence, Seema Reza (Poet, Essayist, CEO of Community Building Art Works) interviews some of the most incredible artists of our time. Below are a few fan-favorite interviews, and there are dozens more available on YouTube and other major audio podcast platforms using the buttons below.