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Mon, Sep 11


Mount Horeb Public Library

Mary Alice Hostetter

Mary is a lesbian who grew up in a Mennonite community and author of the book Plain: A Memoir of Mennonite Girlhood

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Mary Alice Hostetter
Mary Alice Hostetter

Time & Location

Sep 11, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Mount Horeb Public Library, 105 Perimeter Rd, Mt Horeb, WI 53572, USA

About the event

Plain tells the story of Mary Alice Hostetter’s journey to define an authentic self amid a rigid religious upbringing in a Mennonite farm family. Although endowed with a personality “prone toward questioning and challenging,” the young Mary Alice at first wants nothing more than to be a good girl, to do her share, and—alongside her eleven siblings—to work her family’s Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, farm. She feels fortunate to have been born into a religion where, as the familiar hymn states, she is “safe in the arms of Jesus.” As an adolescent, that keen desire for belonging becomes focused on her worldly peers, even though she knows that Mennonites consider themselves a people apart. Eventually she leaves behind the fields and fences of her youth, thinking she will finally be able to grow beyond the prohibitions of her church. Discovering and accepting her sexuality, she once again finds herself apart, on the outside of family, community, and societal norms.

Mary Alice Hostetter grew up the tenth of twelve children in a Mennonite farm family and is a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. While pursuing a career in education and human services, with a brief lapse into cheesemaking and restaurant management, she has studied writing whenever and wherever she could. Mary will speak from 6-7 PM. The remaining hour is reserved for sharing and support. There is no need to RSVP to attend in person. If you'd like to attend over Zoom, RSVP and we will send you the link to join us the evening before the event.

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