All posts by hannahfarrow2020

Gabe Hudson: What I’ve learned

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Award-winning fiction writer Gabe Hudson, 48, on his creative process, authoring three books, and his dog

I was very cognizant of the generation that came before me — the Vietnam generation, my parents’ generation — so when I was writing “Dear Mr. President,” I felt that the characters were in conversation with the war literature that belonged to it.

Nobody was thinking about war — this was pre-9-11. There wasn’t all this art. For me to even suggest that the goal was subject-worthy of cultural introspection was strange, unique. I was like an aberration. People were like, “Whoa, the Gulf War. I never even think about that.”

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Egg quality: It’s no yolk

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Cartons of eggs range from $1.79 to $7.99 at grocery stores, and they vary from cage-free to organic, brown to white. What do buzzwords like “vegetable-fed” or “free-range” really mean? And what’s worth the extra money?

Learn what you’re getting for the price you’re paying.
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Ernest in our time: The Hemingway Birthplace Museum and the woman aiding its growth

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Carla Mayer walks up to the three-story 1890 Victorian home nestled on a quiet, tree-lined street in Oak Park and climbs the six front wooden steps and opens the left French door. Inside the foyer, she greets the intern working the desk and the elderly volunteer waiting for his tour group. She hangs up her coat with the others on the wall, walks into the living room and closes the door.

The 53-year-old mother of two started working at The Hemingway Birthplace Museum as the volunteer coordinator in May 2019 and, as her boss Keith Strom says, is a “godsend.” With a background in history and 20 years at Tyndale House Publishers, Mayer has implemented the first tour in Spanish, increased volunteer recruitment by 20% and uncovered new facts about Hemingway’s family. But beyond the growth, Mayer feels like she finally found her tribe among the volunteers, the place where she belongs. “These are people that love books and they love history,” Mayer says.

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South Africa’s sex education aims to reduce gender-based violence

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Growing up in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Asa Jali had a narrow outlook on relationships. “You learn that if your boyfriend hits you, that’s how they show you love. So if he doesn’t, he doesn’t love you. If there’s no violence, he doesn’t love you,” Jali, 23, said.

Her views are common throughout the country. Like most of her friends, Jali didn’t learn anything about sex, let alone consent, in high school. “You don’t know anything about your vagina as well, what satisfaction means and how to get an orgasm.”

Despite South Africa’s Life Orientation curriculum — a nationwide program for grades four through 12 that includes robust sex education — gender-based violence remains a nationwide issue in South Africa. The Department of Basic Education reported in 2019 that more than one in three girls is sexually assaulted before the age of 17.

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Advice you didn’t know you needed from a sex therapist in the #MeToo era

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Free porn, internet dating and the hookup culture affects American’s sexual behavior a lot, says Shirley Baron, a Northwestern University clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences who’s been a certified sex therapist for over 30 years. In her black and white office on the 27th floor of a highrise in the middle of Chicago, Baron discusses modern relationships and what to do when anxiety problems arise in the bedroom.

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