Sipping History with Christina Baker Klein: A Toast to Women’s Voices in Literature

This week, we’re sipping on Hemingway daiquiris and diving into the life of this remarkable novelist. Christina’s journey from the quiet streets of Bangor, Maine, to the bustling literary scene of New York City is nothing short of inspiring.

Christina Baker Klein isn’t just a storyteller; she’s a time traveler in her own right, bringing forgotten women’s voices from the past into our modern world with each page she writes. Her books do more than tell a story—they resurrect histories that might otherwise be lost, making the past relatable and immensely human. Her deep dives into history illuminate the struggles and victories of women who have paved the way for today’s discussions about gender and equality.

Christina’s approach to writing is personal and hands-on. She prefers writing her first drafts by hand.

“Writing a book, for me, it takes years, because there’s so much research involved and I’m just not the world’s fastest writer,” said Klein. “I write longhand, by the way – which means pen and paper. I write on perforated legal pads, basically that are college ruled. … My first draft is very propulsive – moving forward quickly because I’ve learned I need to capture lightning in a bottle.”

Research is integral to her work. Klein dives deep into her subject matter in order to draw the story out to its fullest potential. 

“I have to do the research to understand the world that I’m writing about,” she said. “‘The Exiles’ for example, which is my last published novels is set in the 1840s. That world, as you might iguess, it’s so different from the world we live in. It was a whole undertaking to make sure I understood the vocabulary and the way people talk to each other, the clash of cultures.”

Klein also passionately advocates the need for the arts in education, believing that creativity is essential for comprehensive learning. By blending the analytical with the creative, Christina champions a more holistic approach to understanding our world, suggesting that art and history are intertwined and equally important.

Hear all this an more as we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month on Cocktails with Friends.Great Christina Baker Klein’s story reminds us of women’s crucial role in shaping our understanding of both past and present. Her commitment to storytelling and supporting women in literature is a beacon for all aspiring writers and a call to recognize and value the contributions of women throughout history.

Reflecting on her impact, it’s clear that her legacy will inspire countless others, encouraging them to explore and tell the stories that need to be told. Cheers to Christina Baker Klein—may her dedication to bringing history to life motivate us all to appreciate the narratives that form the tapestry of our collective history. Let’s keep these stories alive, one page at a time.

So, whether you’re a whiskey enthusiast or a cocktail aficionado, we invite you to join us on our Cocktails with Friends podcast, where we share insider tips, secret recipes, and engaging conversations with fellow enthusiasts of fine food and drink. Cheers!