Dona Munker: Writing a Biography

~ Writing a Biography ~
    BOOKS and ARTICLES by Dona Munker



          SARA AND ERSKINE is the story of SARA BARD FIELD a Baptist minister's wife who, through an adulterous love affair with the liberal Oregon attorney, writer, and atheist CHARLES ERSKINE SCOTT WOOD, became a nationally-known suffrage orator, an admired California poet, and an "anarchist and free-lover" who risked everything to be with her remarkable soul-mate. It reconstructs their epic romance and Sara's transformation into a modern woman by correlating and interpreting information gleaned from thousands of letters, from oral history interviews, and from newspaper accounts.

          Click on the link above for more about Sara and how I came across her story. Click here for more about writing it.

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      DAUGHTER OF PERSIA: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem through the Islamic Revolution

            In DAUGHTER OF PERSIA: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem to the Islamic Revolution, American writer Dona Munker gives Western readers a riveting first-person account of the extraordinary life of Sattareh Farman Farmaian, an Iranian aristocrat who grew up in a prince's harem compound, studied in America, and brought social work and modern birth control to Iran, only to see everything she had fought for destroyed by the religious revolution that overthrew the Shah.

        The product of a unique cross-cultural literary collaboration, DAUGHTER OF PERSIA is at once a poignant memoir and a riveting piece of historical journalism that brings half a century of Iranian history alive for Western readers and offers them first-hand insight into how America "lost" Iran.

        "A phenomenal read....An important book, both for its history and its life-story."
                        — 500 Great Books by Women, by Erica Bauermeister, Jesse Larsen, and Holly Smith.

        ARTICLES, ETC.

        Links to articles and a podcast about DAUGHTER OF PERSIA

        A list of resources for writers, biographers, readers, students and teachers, and anyone else interested in how lives get researched and written.

        STALKING THE ELEPHANT is a blog about writing biography, the creative process of biography, and SARA AND ERSKINE, AN AMERICAN ROMANCE, a work in progress on the World War One-era minister's wife and suffragist Sara Bard Field and her extraordinary affair with the outspoken atheist and philosophical anarchist, Charles Erskine Scott Wood. Subscribable.

        Picture Credits:

        Detail from 1920 photograph of Sara Bard Field and C.E.S. Wood by W. E. Dassonville reproduced with permission of the Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley.

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        Notice of Copyright:

             All material on this website Copyright © 2005-2016 by Dona Munker except where expressly stated or contributed by others. Copying, altering, or reproducing this material in any form without written permission is prohibited by law and may be prosecuted regardless of the venue or purpose of the copying.

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                        IN PROGRESS
                          is about a search for love and self-realization that turned a Baptist minister's wife into a nationally known suffragist, a women's rights advocate, and a respected California poet—but also into "an anarchist and a free-lover" who had to risk everything to be united with her remarkable soul-mate. I am tracing this forgotten, dramatic Ragtime-era romance and reconstructing Sara's life and experiences through thousands of letters, her's oral autobiography, and other sources.
                                More about writing SARA AND ERSKINE.
                                is a riveting account of the life and work of an extraordinary Iranian aristocrat and social reformer, Sattareh Farman Farmaian, DAUGHTER OF PERSIA is at once a memoir and a work of historical journalism that is still relevant today, opening a personal window on Iran and America's involvement in the six tumultuous decades that laid the foundations of the present-day crisis now facing the United States and the West.
                                      The biographer's craft, what a story is, whether biography can ever be an art, and more.
                                      A list of resources for anyone interested in biography and writing lives.