Who's That Gal: Christina Pascucci Ciampa, Founder of All She Wrote Books
Name: Christina Pascucci Ciampa
Occupation: Founder/Owner of All She Wrote Books
Hometown: Middleton, MA
Currently living in: Somerville
Currently reading: The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountability by Kristen Hogan
Favorite spot in Boston: It's a tie for me: Museum of Fine Arts and Rino’s in East Boston
I never leave home without: A book ;-) Haha
Tell us a little bit about All She Wrote Books? What is your mission and how did you get started?
All She Wrote Books is a bookstore that elevates female, queer and non-binary authored books to readers. Currently, we are a pop-up with the eventual goal of becoming a brick-and-mortar storefront, where we can showcase these authors and books and have space to create a community of writers and readers.
As a survivor of domestic abuse, I went digging for stories I could relate to, and found that they were out there—but they tended to get less shelf space and be shortchanged by publishers and book reviewers. Being an avid reader, I often felt unrepresented by bookshelves and online recommendations showcasing what was already popular.
I started All She Wrote Books by partnering with local businesses in Somerville such as the Canopy Room at Bow Market and Winter Hill Brewing Company, asking them if I could bring my 3-shelf, beige Ikea cart of new and used books written by these authors and set myself up in a small section of their stores. Each time I popped up at one of their locations, I kept selling more and more books to the point where I needed to restock. I was also having these amazing conversations with people. It was and is still amazing!
In an effort to elevate stories representing female, queer and trans authors and stories, what are some of the ways that you hope All She Wrote Books will do this?
Here's the problem: There are amazing books written by these authors who identify as female/queer/non-binary, but these stories are not getting shelf space nor the recognition, so their stories go unheard. Research from the Vida Group has found that books by male authors are more likely to be reviewed by leading literary publications like the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books. In addition, books by male authors are also more likely to be featured on course syllabuses at high school and university levels.
All She Wrote Books solves this problem by providing access to female/queer/non-binary authors and the stories they tell, allowing the consumer to choose. Our long term goal is to [open] a publishing arm of ASWB that empowers these authors with the tools and resources they need to get their work seen, heard and read around the world.
Right now, you’re focusing on developing a following through pop-up book stores. Can you tell us a little bit about how this works, and what your vision is for All She Wrote Books?
We partner with various local businesses and vendor markets within the greater Boston area to showcase our collection. All She Wrote dabbles in all genres, and offers a mix of well-known books (think Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and Becoming by Michelle Obama) and more obscure titles. If a business has the space—big or small—we make it work.
Our vision would be to open a brick-and-mortar storefront, where we can showcase these authors and books and have space to create a community of writers and readers.
Buying, reading and sharing underrepresented authors and groups is such a great way to support our own communities. What are some other ways you like to educate yourself and how does this impact what you do?
I like to educate myself by seeking out community events and groups that I have never heard of and plan to discuss topics that I am interested in expanding my mind. In those types of activities, I act as a sponge and try to soak up as much information and understanding as I can. I talk to people, but I look to listen more than talk. My cousin Andrea says that I can talk to anymore, including a rock. However, in these cases—I want to make sure I am listening more, as that is how I learn the most.
What have you found challenging about getting started and what have you found the most rewarding?
Since launching in April, the bookstore has taken off fast, but I couldn’t be happier with the way it is going. It is my way of making sure diverse narratives get lifted, get on shelves, and get to readers.
The challenging part is balancing All She Wrote Books along with a full-time job. It can be tiring at times, but I keep in mind the bigger goal for All She Wrote Books, and that it is a marathon not a sprint And to enjoy every moment of it.
When you’re not running a pop up, what other things can we find you doing?
Aside from reading, I love spending time with my partner, Chris, as well as family and friends. I also belong to an amazing book club, hosted by the Calderdon. You can also find me and the green thumb I never thought I had at my community garden plot harvesting some really good tomatoes and eggplants this year.
Who have been some of your biggest influences in this/your community?
Some of my biggest influences include:
Roxane Gay - Author
Rebecca Solnit - Author
Susan Post - Owner of Bookwoman in Austin, TX
Kate Layte - Owner of Papercuts JP
Leah Pringle from the Canopy Room at Bow Market, Somerville
Alissa, Jeff and the team at Winter Hill Brewing Company, Somerville
Cara and Africa at Boston Women’s Market
Where can we find All She Wrote Books and how can we support you?
All She Wrote Books has starting its residency at Winter Hill Brewing Company. We will be there every 3rd Sunday of each month, and our next date is September 15th. We will also be popping up at Juliet in Union Square, Chelesa’s Night Market, and several upcoming markets for the Boston Women’s Market. We will also be at E-Som Market at La Brasa in East Somerville on Tuesday, September 17th. The best place to find out more information about these upcoming events is at allshewrotebooks.com.
We are also running a crowdfunding campaign through IFundWomen that will be launching on September 30th. All pledges will be going towards helping us open a brick-and-mortar storefront in the Greater Boston area.
Allie Kovalik is a content contributor who has an ear for music, an eye for dogs, and a taste for tacos. Follow all three of her adventures (and many more) on Instagram: @alliek20