***27/Sept/2023 – WE’RE SORRY! The trouble with all these new-fangled trains and webpages is that folks get to be dependent on them. We are having a little trouble with our membership link right now. As soon as we have cleared the tracks, we’ll be back in business! Thank you for your patience. ***
Membership runs to the calendar year, so renewals are always due for January. But it’s never too late! We welcome renewals and new members throughout the year, so whenever date you join, your membership is good through to December 31st.
Membership is now OPEN for 2023 for renewals and new memberships. Any new memberships from this point in the year go through to the end of 2023.
Members receive a bi-monthly LIWLRA email newsletter, a discount code to use for early bird pricing for LauraPalooza conferences in conference years, and free access to our Virtual Literary webinars.
2023 membership is $30 for the year.
In August 2022, we were thrilled to announce a new membership benefit: we launched our “Virtual Literaries” – a webinar program featuring presentations from past LauraPalooza conferences, plus some brand new content. These online presentations take place roughly once a month (we’re planning a summer hiatus for July/August 2023), and last around 60 – 75 minutes, featuring a speaker and some time for audience questions. The Virtual Literaries are free to LIWLRA members, and we have some great content lined up!
For some of our Literaries in 2023, we will also make a small number of paid tickets available for non-members on an individual event basis. We’ll release those details on this page and on our social media.
Past Virtual Literaries:
August 2022: Our first Virtual Literary in August 2022 featured Laura F Keyes, giving a brand new presentation on “Fashioning the Wilder Family” a presentation and demonstration of the clothing mentioned in Farmer Boy.
September 2022: Our September Virtual Literary featured meteorologist Dr Barb Mayes Boustead presenting on “The Long Winter, Revisited,” from the 2022 conference, followed by a Q&A on any and all aspects of weather from the Little House books.
October 2022: Just in time for Halloween, for our October Virtual Literary author Sallie Ketcham revisited her enchanting presentation from the 2015 conference on ‘Fairy Tales, Folklore and the Little House in the Deep, Dark Woods’ showing how Laura Ingalls Wilder drew on traditional elements of fairy tale in the crafting of her stories.
November 2022: On Sunday 13th November, historian Patty Dowd Schmitz gave us a real treat, sharing her research ‘Before Laura was born: Finding the childhood homes of Charles Ingalls in New York & Illinois’, which drew on her presentations at the 2015 and 2019 conferences.
December 2022: Our December Virtual Literary featured Caroline Ranald Curvan who presented ‘Hidden artifacts from the archives of Laura and Rose’ from the 2022 conference. Caroline was the lead researcher for the PBS special TV documentary Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page in 2020, and she highlighted some of the many treasures she uncovered during her research, as previously revealed at the 2022 conference.
January 2023: For our first Virtual Literary of 2023, we welcomed popular LIW author & historian, Cindy Wilson, who gave a seasonally appropriate presentation from the 2019 conference: ‘The Big Cut West of Tracy and the Hard Winter of 1880-81’, exploring some of the details from her book The Beautiful Snow. Cindy illustrated her talk with many amazing photographs to bring some of the facts behind The Long Winter to life.
February 2023: In February, just in time for Laura’s birthday, we were excited to be bringing our members something a little different when Laura Ingalls Wilder guru William Anderson agreed to give us the benefit of his expertise with an exclusive Q&A for LIWLRA members. Members had the opportunity to submit questions in advance and we had a wonderful hour listening to Bill’s answers and stories from his lifetime of Laura Ingalls Wilder scholarship.
March 2023: In March we marked the week of International Women’s Day with not one but two presentations drawing comparisons between Laura Ingalls Wilder and another heroine of literature, Louisa May Alcott, as well as some other classic literature. Our speakers were Beth Nolan Conners, on ‘Laura and Louisa: Little Houses and Little Women through time’ and Nancy McCabe, on ‘From Little Houses to Little Women: The Shaping of the Female Artist’. We had a lively discussion of many favourite childhood books afterwards!
April 2023: In April we be hosted a Homesite Preview where heard from representatives of LIW Homesites across the US about their plans for the 2023 visitor season. Speakers from Mansfield, De Smet, Burr Oak and Pepin joined us – and we heard via video from Spring Valley – to tell us about their events, new exhibits and so on. It’s part of the LIWLRA’s mission to support the Homesites so we were delighted to be able to showcase their exciting plans. And we heard some exclusive news and offers for members too! (We’ll be sharing that in the members’ newsletter if you missed it).
May 2023: On Saturday 20th May, we welcomed Coyote Shook as our speaker, with a presentation titled: “Mary Goes to College”: Blindness, Home Economics and Rural Futurism in the World of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Coyote’s paper borrowed from critical disability studies and the histories of home economics & agriculture science to discuss the narratives of Laura Ingalls Wilder though a new lens. This was a pre-recorded presentation that set the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her themes of work and self-sufficiency in the context of her lifetime of experience as a “Farm Woman”.
June 2023: On Sunday 11th June we tried out something new, in response to members telling us how much they enjoy the member chats after the Virtual Literaries. This month we held a Virtual Dime Sociable – in other words a whole hour of member discussion in place of an invited speaker. We called it ‘A Rose in June‘ because our theme was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter Rose Wilder Lane. After a brief outline of some highlights of Rose Wilder Lane’s life and career from LIWLRA Board member Eddie Higgins, members got into a fascinating discussion of this remarkable woman. Thanks to all who participated, and we hope to repeat the Virtual Dime Sociable format on a future occasion.
Future Virtual Literaries:
The Virtual Literaries are on summer hiatus in July/August 2023. We’ll be back in September.
A LIWLRA membership makes a great gift for someone that might be hard to buy for, or says that they don’t need anything. If they love Laura, consider gifting them a membership to the LIWLRA. Get in touch with us if you would like us to provide an e-card to accompany your gift.
If you have ideas, questions or would like to help in membership recruitment and engagement, please contact the membership committee via email: LIWLRA Membership Committee.