Cokie Roberts to appear at WV Book Faire in Martinsburg

April 10, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Journalist Cokie Roberts joins the line up of authors at the fourth annual WV Book Faire, set for Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17, throughout Martinsburg.

Book signings and other events are set for Saturday at Martinsburg Library.

Fans can dine with Roberts, who has written several books, during a ticketed lunch Friday at the Holiday Inn. Tickets were still available late Tuesday, as Lifestyle's Sunday section is pre-printed on Wednesdays.

Roberts, 66, of Bethesda, Md., is senior news analyst at National Public Radio and is also a political commentator for ABC News.

She writes a syndicated column with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, who is also a journalist. Roberts books include "Founding Mothers" and "Ladies of Liberty."


Roberts has also updated the paperback version of her first book "We Are Our Mothers' Daughters," which was released this month.

Roberts and her husband co-authored a book on marriage, "From This Day Forward" in 2000. She is working on another marriage book with her husband, though this time the topic is mixed religion marriages - Roberts is Catholic and her husband is Jewish.

Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs in New Orleans, Roberts comes from a political family. Both her parents served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

She said her life's path was obvious - write about politics.

"It was crazy for me not to," Roberts said. "I knew too much, why waste it?"

The Herald-Mail talked with Roberts prior to her gearing up for the WV Book Faire. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

HM: Tell me about what you've added to that book, '"We Are Our Mothers' Daughters."

CR: There was a lot that needed updating. There were sections on women as politicians, women as reporters, women as soldiers, women as scientists, women as athletes - all of that needed updating.

The Olympic cycles and women in professional sports, women moving into higher ranks in the military and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - women moving into anchor spots in broadcasting - it all needed updating. There will be sections on enterprises and women moving into presidencies of the Ivy league, which when this book first came out, there was one and now half the Ivy league presidents are women. The Fortune 500 CEOs, now I think there are 14. All of that, thank God, was changed and updated.

HM: That book was published back in 1998.

CR: Right.

HM: Lots has happened between now and then.

CR: Exactly. There's some new chapters, new profiles. There's a profile of Laura Bush, there's a profile of Michelle Rhee (chancellor of District of Columbia Public School Systems). The initial book combined profiles of women in various roles, as I've just gone through ... and personal things, sister, mother daughter friend aunt and wife. All that needed updating, too. Everybody's 12 years older. So I added some profiles and brought everything else up to date.

HM:One thing, this past presidential election you had Palin running and Hillary - I'm African-American and a woman. So people thought I should be torn when Obama was an official candidate. I had to pick a side if you will. I have my own feelings on that - that you go with who you think is the better candidate. But I'm just curious: How did you see this theme of pitting one identity over another when you were putting together "We Are Our Mothers' Daughters"? Did you see any of this come up?

CR: You know I really didn't touch on that in theme in this book because this book is about women and did not have that particular tug. But I certainly saw it in the campaign, there's no question. I even think that for non-African-Americans, that there was a certain tug among young people, young women. Or maybe not even a tug - a shrug, even - that what's the whole women thing? Why do you even care? And tremendous excitement around Obama and not around Hillary.

I even had a young man say to me - he was a twentysomething - that his friends kind of vilified him for cheering for Hillary. It was just so not done.

HM: Just looking at this election, part of me was thinking, have we not arrived at a point where we could just be? Do you think we're arrived or moving closer to arriving at this place?

CR: Yes, we're definitely moving closer - there's no question. We're definitely moving closer.

Look, I grew up in the segregated South and it is night and day there. I remember in 1984, which is now a long time ago, walking into a restaurant in Atlanta - where I was in the middle of doing some political story - and seeing all these integrated tables because the legislature was in session.

Well, there were lots of African Americans in the legislature and I looked in that room and thought, 20 years ago this would have been illegal for people to be sharing tables like this.

Has the world changed? Yes, thank God.

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