Janet M. Taliaferro: Novelist, Poet & Activist Publishes Novel 'Virgin Hall'

Women’s lives are continually bettered by access to healthcare and threatened by anti-abortion extremism. Before Roe v. Wade protected access to safe and legal abortion services, women of all social positions lived in fear of unwanted pregnancy. In Virgin Hall, the author remembers that fear and gives voice to the stories of women grappling with life-altering decisions.

Online PR News – 23-January-2012 – – "They called us the 'Silent Generation.' We bridged a culture our mothers had discovered—going to college, but then returning home to hang a framed diploma in the family kitchen. We began life expecting to live the same way until the world changed around us," said Janet M. Taliaferro

Virgin Hall captures the complex realities of four women coming of age in the 1950s. Readers are introduced not only to the characters, but to the times. Clothes, sorority rush, boys, and a great date were all priorities for “co-eds” of the day. Sheila, the heroine, a sheltered girl from Brooklyn, is initially overwhelmed by the flamboyant culture of the Southwest. As her three suitemates help her adjust, the women establish lifelong friendships.


A very real situation facing Sheila explodes in the second part of the novel. She is an incest victim and she gets pregnant after a rape, yet the care-free rhythms of campus life continue around her. Shelia is helped through the trauma by her friends and by the young man she considers her true love.

Thirty years later an impromptu reunion brings the college suitemates together again. They have all undergone changes in the intervening years, and answers to many questions raised in earlier parts of the novel come to light as they catch up on one another’s lives. Readers learn that America and the women have changed profoundly—and for every gain they made, a price was paid.

At heart, Virgin Hall is a book about what the 1950s were like with all the rigid hypocrisy and misplaced priorities of the times. The Silent Generation was the last to reflect the mores, habits, attitudes, and cultural values that dominated American life over the previous century—and even in the face of all that history, they eventually found a way forward. Readers who appreciate finely wrought prose and an honest look at times gone by, will find that Virgin Hall offers both a cautionary tale and a tribute to women’s empowerment.

Author and Planned Parenthood activist Janet Taliaferro will read from Virgin Hall at The Woman’s National Democratic Club. Laura Meyers, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (PPMW), will join Janet to discuss the culture for women since Roe v. Wade and the ongoing fight to protect abortion rights.

Janet M. Taliaferro writes novels, poetry, and short stories. In broad-brush terms, her chosen subjects include abortion, incest, rape, alcohol and drug addiction, and more importantly, recovery and the influence of twelve-step programs, racial and religious tolerance, and war.

In previous lives she was a political activist and business owner and remains an avid Planned Parenthood supporter. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Studies from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she received the Geoffrey Bocca Memorial Award for Graduate Writing.

Learn more on her Amazon author page, connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Janet.M.Taliaferro or follow @JanetTaliaferro on Twitter.

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