AlumnaeDec 23, 2020

updated Jan 20, 2021

Speaking Your Truth: a special event for alumnae

As part of our Second Tuesdays series, Joan Brooks Baker ’62 talked with MHS alums and friends about finding role models in feisty women and following one’s true path

On January 12, 2021, author and photographer Joan Brooks Baker ’62 read from her book and spoke about finding role models in feisty women and being yourself, regardless of the consequences. These topics are at the center of her memoir The Magnolia Code, honored as a Distinguished Favorite by the Independent Press Awards.

Head of School Julia Heaton hosted the event and English teacher Liz Kulze joined Ms. Baker in a robust conversation about compassion, humanity, and the act of creating.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Jennifer Kerwood at

Dare to hear your voice. Don’t hide. Dare to take a risk. Dare to be vulnerable. Respect yourself and go for it.

Miss Hall’s Class of 1962

Joan’s favorites

During the event, Joan recommended some of her favorite authors:

  • Franzces Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
  • Carson McCullers, Ballad of A Sad Cafe
  • Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find
  • Alice Kaplan, Dreaming in French
  • Penelope Lively, A House Unlocked
  • James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues, Giovanni’s Room
  • Bell Hooks, Bone Black
  • Delia Owens, Where the Crawdad Sings
  • Willa Cather, O Pioneers
  • Robert Kaplan, The Arabist
  • Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible
  • Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
  • Roxana Robinson, Cost
  • Patti Smith, Just Kids
  • Elizabeth Strout, My Name is Lucy Barton
  • Victoria Shorr, Badlands
  • Michael Ondaatje, The Cat’s Table
  • Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying
  • Peter Mathiessen, At Play in the Fields of the Lord

And here are some of Joan’s favorite photographers:

  • Margaret Bourke-White (“Besides greatly admiring her work, she inspired me to use my full name, 40 years ago!”)
  • Mary Ellen Mark
  • Sabastiao Salgado
  • Susan Meiselas
  • Tina Modotti
  • Gordon Parks
  • David Douglas Duncan
  • Walker Evans
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Andre Kertesz
  • Annie Liebowitz
  • Debbie Fleming-Caffrey

Event recording

Watch the full event below