Two writers from two generations will speak side by side about their experiences as Mennonite women authors.

Shirley Hershey Showalter and Valerie Weaver-Zercher will also reflect about their writing processes on Monday, February 24, 7 P.M., at Mellinger Mennonite Church, Lancaster.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher is the managing editor of trade books at Herald Press. Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Mennonite, The Mennonite Weekly Review, and other venues.

Weaver-Zercher grew up in Ephrata and attended Lancaster Mennonite School before going to Eastern Mennonite University and the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, David, have three sons and live in Mechanicsburg.

Weaver-Zercher is the author of “Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels,” published in February 2013 by John Hopkins Press.

The book analyzes the thriving Amish romance novel market, looking at how it sits in the context of broader American culture.

Hershey Showalter grew up in Lancaster before attending Eastern Mennonite University and later University of Texas at Austin.

She was a faculty member of Goshen College, first as professor of English and later as president —a position she held for eight years until 2004.

Hershey Showalter then worked for the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as vice president of programs, a position she held until 2010. She is now a full-time writer and part-time teacher.

Hershey Showalter's memoir, “Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World,” was published in September 2013 by Herald Press. In it she chronicles her childhood and adolescence in Lancaster County, which coincided with a period of upheaval and change within the church.

Mary Lou Weaver Houser, a local Mennonite artist and board member of the Society, will moderate the event.

Weaver Houser said she expects the evening to present an interesting juxtaposition of two authors who are "opening diverse readers to Plain sect culture, as represented by the two largest groups of contemporary North American Anabaptists."

Weaver Houser also notes that "those fascinated by the interface of dominant culture with specific subgroups will be able to listen for and learn from the existing tensions."

This event is part of Lancaster Roots, the annual schedule of events organized by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and the 1719 Hans Herr House and Museum. It is free and open to the public.

“Blush” and “Thrill of the Chaste” will be for sale, with the authors available to sign their books.

Mellinger Mennonite Church is located at 1916 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster. For information on other events for 2014, visit