This illustrated presentation will introduce audiences to the lively voice of diarist Mary “Mim” Walsh. Her 50-year-long journal reveals her heartfelt experiences as an Irish immigrant to Arizona. Her writings record her negotiations of several challenges, from invitations to “perform” as Irish characters at social events to the desire to become a successful fiction writer in the face of rejection. And, Mim’s diary account of a longed-for trip back home – written at age 70 – reveals the complexities of home, memory, citizenship, and reality. This presentation will also address the challenges and joys of working with a long historical manuscript, including its coding, inconsistencies, and mysteries.
Judy Nolte Temple teaches in both the English and Gender & Women’s Studies departments at the University of Arizona. Her courses include “Women’s Life Writing” and “Women in Literature.” In 2003, she received a Fulbright award to conduct research in New Zealand on women’s diaries. She is the editor of two essay collections on the literary Southwest and the author of two books, the most recent of which is Baby Doe Tabor: The Madwoman in the Cabin. In preparation for a forthcoming book, Temple is currently editing selections from the 50-year-long diary of Mary Walsh, an Irish immigrant to Arizona.