About the Editor

    Kerry Holjes, Managing Editor, When Women Waken

    Kerry Holjes 2012 x250

    Kerry Holjes on a visit to Pinehurst NC to see a quilt show.

    Effective January 2014, Kerry Holjes accepted the volunteer position of managing editor of When Women Waken. Kerry is a talented editor and a fine poet. Raised in the US South, in a highly educated family, Kerry has had a successful career in business and accounting, writing and editing. She edits half a dozen books or more a year, and now leads the team of readers and handling all the communications and final decisions. Kerry is based in Cary, North Carolina and is on Facebook.


    About the Founding Editor Anora McGaha

    Anora McGaha was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a family of three generations of lawyers. Her great grandfather was a judge in New York State; her grandfather taught Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and her father did a double major in Law and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard before joining the US Foreign Service. Her mother was raised in a diplomatic family as her Italian father was an Italian diplomat, stationed in the US in Boston and later in New Orleans, among other international posts. Her mother’s mother was an American from the South, raised in the Panama Canal Zone.

    The eldest of four, Anora lived in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel and Italy before she was 12 and returned to the US in 1970. Four of her grade school years were in French schools. She had studied Italian, Arabic, French, Spanish and Latin by the time she was 16 and went overseas again. She graduated from an experimental school with small classes in Rome, Italy, studying primarily with a Phillips Exeter Academy / Harvard University graduate.

    She attended four colleges / universities including Tunghai University in Taiwan, and Beijing Normal University in China. Her major was in Chinese Languages and Literatures. She had wanted to pursue Comparative Literature in graduate school, but life intervened and she changed direction. In 1986 she graduated from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy with a Master’s Degree focused on international business and business law. She studied with professors from Harvard Law School and MIT.

    During a 20 year corporate career primarily as an analyst in varying capacities, she worked in New York City, Boston, Washington DC and Raleigh North Carolina. She worked for a money center bank, a large insurance company, MIT, a government agency, and SAS, before she was laid off in 2006.

    Anora’s first husband was Chinese, and they have one son together who has been educated at Indiana University for undergraduate studies and law school. She married for the second time, in 2007, and lives with her global nomad husband, whose mother is Japanese.

    In the turbulence caused by the major economic collapses of the first decade of the 21st century, like many, necessity became the drive for inventiveness. Anora joined the Raleigh Write to Publish meetup group and under Stacey Cochran’s leadership was introduced to the world of independent publishing. She encouraged and invited a young Welsh writer and journalist / TV producer to write a book on building a platform and becoming media ready – Media Ready, Media Savvy, by Alison Hill. She also published a collection of non-fiction stories by naturalist Andy Smith, under the title Gray Fox Wilderness Stories, the first under her micro press imprint, Inner River Press.

    Online Magazine about Women Writers

    In early 2011, Anora applied her Internet knowledge, gained in part from courses and training by micro-entrepreneur Pat Howlett of Come On Inside.com, and began an online magazine about contemporary women writers, with guest writer acquisition and article distribution internationally across Twitter. Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books at www.booksbywomen.org with a Twitter presence at @womenwriters.

    Other Sites for Women Writers

    While a number of sites for women writers were already prominent, growing a site through Twitter outreach was not something these other sites had invested as deeply in, evidenced by the platform differences. Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books is leading on Twitter, and, we are last of these four on Facebook, and working our way down (which means getting more influential) on Alexa Rankings.

    Alexa Ranking US / Inter’l      Facebook Likes       Twitter Followers

    SheWrites                  20K  / 43.7 K                         9,671                               8,511

    IWWG                              – / 1,482K                             3,151                                  546

    MSLexia (UK)          78K / 1,112K                           5,346                           10,879

    WWWB                       119K / 479K                            1,690                             17,790

    Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books began in 2011.

    When Women Waken and Our Stories

    In the spring of 2013, with the help of an intern from Elon University, Rachel Lewis, we launched a women’s literary and arts journal, When Women Waken. Published quarterly online, we are still exploring whether to continue printing it. We also started Our Stories to be able to publish memoir pieces which were longer, and perhaps less swift reads than those we put in When Women Waken.

    In the Fall 2013 issue released November 30th, we were honored to include contributions from a Saudi Arabian poet, a multinational writer in Dubai, a Spanish author, a Nigerian writer, a Canadian poet and photographer, among the many American contributors. We had a couple of very young contributors as well. Several writers and artists had never been published in a journal before.


    If we were said to have a niche it is in bringing to light cross-cultural, cross-national, and cross-genre works. A number of contributors have lived in several countries, and may be from several countries. We also have a feminist slant, not shying away from difficult issues related to the sex that has not yet achieved international equality before the other.

    The Offices of Women Writers, Women Books,  When Women Waken & Our Stories

    While not working in a basement, as we know from the Pushcart Prizes, working in a smaller setting, like the 8×8 shed in which Bill Henderson started the Pushcart Prize, is no sign of inferiority. Anora works from her home office on a hilltop in a neighboring town to Raleigh, North Carolina, under the shade of a huge liquidambar (Sweet Gum) triumvirate of trunks set in a fifty foot wooded buffer area next to a village green.

    The tiny plot of land on which her home is set enjoys visits by Green Tree Frogs, Bunny Rabbits, Lizards, Geikos, Salamanders, Skinks, Brown Snakes, Black Snakes, Raccoons, Deer (passing through in the wooded buffer zone), Gray Fox, Opposum, Green Snakes, brown frogs, and  all kinds of birds, including the loveable Carolina Wren and Carolina Dove (aka Mourning Dove), Bluebirds, Tufted Titmouse(s), Woodpeckers, Red tailed Hawks, and many more.