Ann Hood, director of Salve Regina’s Newport MFA, authors memoir on being flight attendant
Ann Hood, the best-selling author and founding director of Salve Regina University’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program – the Newport MFA – has published a new memoir recounting her adventures working as a flight attendant for TWA, a job she took right out of college.
In “Fly Girl: A Memoir,” Hood transports readers back to 1978, the Golden Era of air travel when flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world – and maybe, one day, write about it – Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, she survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, deliver a baby, mix proper cocktails, administer oxygen and stay calm no matter what the situation.
In the air, Hood found both the adventure she’d been dreaming of and the unexpected realities of life on the job. She carved chateaubriand in the first-class cabin and dined in front of the pyramids in Cairo, fended off passengers’ advances and found romance on layovers in London and Lisbon, and walked more than a million miles in high heels. She flew through the start of deregulation, an oil crisis, massive furloughs and a labor strike.
As the airline industry changed around her, Hood began to write — even drafting snatches of her first novel from the jump-seat. She reveals how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards. Packed with funny, moving and shocking stories of life as a flight attendant, “Fly Girl” captures the nostalgia and magic of air travel at its height and the thrill that remains with every takeoff.
Hood is the author of over a dozen novels, including the bestsellers “The Knitting Circle,” “The Obituary Writer,” “The Book That Matters Most” and “Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine.” She has written several memoirs, including the bestsellers “Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love and Food” and “Comfort: A Journey Through Grief,” which was named one of the top 10 books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly.
Salve Regina’s Newport MFA program immerses students in the creative life through residencies and mentorships, publishing and editing panels and craft talks, all with a sustained focus on writing. The two-year creative writing program provides faculty mentorship in the genres of fiction, poetry, nonfiction and historical fiction, and culminates with each student completing a polished manuscript. The program’s low-residency format responds to the demands on students’ time, teaching them to integrate writing into their busy days and setting them on the path to becoming lifelong writers.