Melanie Crowder on AUDACITY and Clara Lemlich

Melanie Crowder on AUDACITY and Clara LemlichAudacity by Melanie Crowder
Also by this author: Audacity
Published by Penguin on January 8th 2015
Genres: 20th Century, Girls & Women, Historical, Stories in Verse, United States, Young Adult
Pages: 400

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world. Praise for AUDACITY: *

YOU GUYS! I just read the most awesome, powerful book –†Audacity†by Melanie Crowder. It’s one of those books that I want to hand out to people during Women’s History Month and pretty much throughout the year. I got lucky enough to be able to ask Melanie to write a guest post exclusively for Good Books & Good Wine. You might be wondering why Crowder would choose someone who, at least to me, isn’t as well known as she should be to focus on for her book. So, today Melanie tells us why she picked Clara Lemlich to be the subject of Audacity. Thanks, Melanie!

When I went looking for a historical figure to write about, I automatically turned to the suffragists. I feel indebted to them. I am so very proud of them. Any one of them would make a fantastic subject for a novel. But as writers, we donít always choose our subjects; sometimes they choose us.

I was impressed by the suffragists who raised a house full of children while they were active in pursuing social justice. I was inspired by the suffragists who went to college at a time when few women were accepted into Universities, and then went back for law degrees so they could engage in the discourse of the opposition. I was humbled by the suffragists who were jailed and fined, and who never gave up the fight.

But when I discovered the group of immigrant suffragists who were living in abject poverty, who worked 10-12 hour days in filthy sweatshops and then went out in their precious moments of leisure to campaign for equal rights, I was astonished.

Before they could begin fighting for votes for women, however, they had to fight for safety and respect as workers. And so my attention shifted from suffrage to labor.

There is no shortage of potential protagonists in the labor movementóI could have chosen Rose Schneiderman or Pauline Newman or countless others who worked for change in that volatile period of our countryís history. But once I found Clara, I knew I had found my story.

Many people will have never heard of her when they pick up Audacity and begin to read. History books skim over her contribution, and that of many women. My hope, though, is that when readers put down Audacity after finishing the final page, they will never forget her; they will know how indebted we all are to Clara and those who stood beside her.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. So glad I read this post today! I think AUDACITY will be my Sunday read. I love verse novels and women’s history, so it’s a no brainer!
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  1. […] throughout the year” {read the rest of the review + guest post at Good Books and Good Wine¬†HERE}. “Free verse novels can look deceptively simple, and they are wonderful enticements for […]

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