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  • NYS Writers Institute

Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood, with Christa Parravani

"I wanted people to understand just how low you can get... I just kept thinking, what am I going to tell my daughters about what it meant to live in this period of time and what it meant to struggle? Because Josephine is going to remember Mom crying about not being able to pay for groceries." - Christa Parravani


New York State Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl speaks with Christa Parravani, the author of Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood, which chronicles her struggle to access necessary medical care when she became pregnant with her third child in West Virginia.


From an interview with Entertainment Weekly published in November, "When Parravani, a mother of two under significant financial and marital stress, unexpectedly became pregnant, she tried to seek an abortion in West Virginia, where her family lived at the time — but was obstructed by logistical roadblocks as well as dishonest medical staff at every turn. When she gave birth to her son, Keats, she faced a new problem: He was also dangerously underserved by the broken health care system, as were her two young daughters." Read more.


Buy Loved and Wanted at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.


“Searing. . . . A devastating indictment of how environmental contamination and inadequate healthcare harmed [Parravani’s] children born in West Virginia. This is a powerful account of what many women face in the U.S. today.” Publishers Weekly



Christa Parravani is also the author of Her: A Memoir (2013), which shares Parravani's journey through grief after the loss of her identical twin sister Cara. Her was a Wall Street Journal, Salon, and Library Journal best book of the year. It was a Huffington Post best book of the last five years. She visited the NYS Writers Institute to discuss Her in March, 2013. Video excerpt.


Born in Albany and raised in poverty by a determined single mother, she graduated from Guilderland High School and earned her MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Newark and has taught at Dartmouth College, UMass Amherst, SUNY Purchase, and West Virginia University, where she served as an Assistant Professor of Creative Nonfiction. Her photography has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe. Her widely-exhibited 2006 photography series, “Kindred,” shot prior to Cara’s death, featured both twins posing and interacting in a variety of dreamlike settings.


Parravani's writing has appeared in Guernica, Catapult, Vogue, Hobart, Marie Claire, The Millions, Glamour, The Washington Post, Salon, The Rumpus, The Daily Beast, The London Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, and DAME, among other places. She has been featured in Poets and Writers, on NPR's All Things Considered, and To The Best of Our Knowledge, and on PBS’s Well Read, among many other magazines, network television programs, and public radio programs.


Follow her at twitter.com/cparravani and instagram.com/cparravani