Pam McAllister

Selected Works

Nonfiction, illustrated
“Thorough and reliable ... full of fun and surprises.”
~ R. Kent Rasmussen,
author of Mark Twain A to Z
“An engaging blend of homage and irreverence.”
~ Publishers Weekly
Nonfiction, with illustrations and index
A life-embracing argument against the death penalty and handbook for all who oppose it.

Biography

I am a WRITER, blogger, author of books (described below), poems, stories, and essays. My work has been translated into a number of languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, and Farsi. I’m also a professional MUSICIAN, private piano teacher and, since 1988, the Music Director of the Park Slope United Methodist Church.

Since making the move from rural to urban in 1975, I’ve called Brooklyn home. Now, I live in a quiet, book-filled apartment, the city-that-never-sleeps within easy reach for inspiration. Mine has been an unconventional, counter-cultural, kaleidoscopic life, lived on a shoestring budget to support my creative passions.

Both my music and writing grow out of my identity as a feminist, activist, and pacifist-with-attitude, a woman of faith bent on finding the sacred in the ordinary.

TWO BLOGS

On ACTIVISTS WITH ATTITUDE, I post examples of courageous, creative nonviolent actions for peace and justice around the world, with a strong emphasis on actions by women, both from our long her-story and from recent events. I’ve spent a lifetime compiling and categorizing accounts of such actions (a la Gene Sharp), writing books and articles, and sharing the stories from podiums at university forums, church retreats, feminist conferences, bookstores, cafes. In 1992, the Swedish Peace Institute sponsored my attendance at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. I then toured Germany as a guest of social justice activists, telling the stories of courage.

On ASK HER ABOUT HYMN(s), I write from a progressive Christian point of view about the history of hymns, offer meditations and background information about the composers and text authors, and tell the stories of how our hymns came to be written. I’ve been telling these stories from church pulpits through hymn-sing sermons and hymn dramas (short skits suitable for worship). I have written columns about hymns for two magazines: The Progressive Christian and The Hymn (publication of The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada).

SOCIAL JUSTICE BOOKS

In 1982, I edited Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence (New Society Publishers). The Village Voice called the anthology “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.”

“I’m interested in anything Pam does ... Her work on women’s lives and nonviolence is direct, true, close to my heart, actually -- essential.” ~ Grace Paley

Two books in a series named for my mentor, Barbara Deming, illustrate how women have used creative nonviolent action for a variety of causes -- You Can’t Kill the Spirit: Stories of Women and Nonviolent Action (NSP, 1988) and This River of Courage: Generations of Women’s Resistance and Action (NSP, 1991).
“We need this book, especially for the history we learn about women and nonviolence. We need it because the times are so hard and anger is so deep, our sorrow so pervasive, and our patience so thin. What to do? we ask, to make a world worthy of our suffering. You Can’t Kill the Spirit helps us with this question.” ~ Alice Walker

After the publication of my anti-capital punishment book, Death Defying: Dismantling the Execution Machinery in 21st Century U.S.A. (Continuum, 2003), 150 attended the book party, including Judith Malina, whose Living Theater troupe performed Not in My Name, a play about ending the cycle of violence and revenge. My book Standing in the Need of Prayer: Devotions for Christians in Prison (Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1992), has been distributed to 50,000 chaplains and inmates across the U.S.

BOOKS ABOUT LITERATURE

Of my nine published books, the most fun to write was The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Mark Twain (Continuum International, 2008). What a stormy soul and wild mind Twain had. I co-authored several books in Continuum’s Companion series with a writing partner, Dick Riley, on Shakespeare (2001), Sherlock Holmes (1999), and Agatha Christie (1979/​1986). Angela Lansbury attended the book party at NYC’s Mysterious Bookshop for the Christie book.