Tickets are now available for the Zoom production of Motherland, the play

I lived it, and now I am re-living it on the "stage". You can, too! :) Actors Diane Dorsey and Suzy Brack (below) are Edith and Fern in the play. Tickets are now available for the Zoom production of Motherland. Diane Dorsey is cast as Edith (my mother) and Suzy Brack will play me.

Interview with author marks one year anniversary of her book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers In this special video, we discuss Fern Schumer Chapman's book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation, one year after its publication. Here, Fern shares her own heartbreak and devastation during the decades-long estrangement with her only brother. She talks about why she decided to write the book, and the challenges of finding resources for the under-investigated topic of sibling estrangement. The book was released during ...

Mark National Siblings Day by Making Peace With Estrangement

National Siblings Day is April 10—just around the corner. For sisters and brothers who enjoy good relationships, it’s a welcome cue to appreciate those loving bonds. But for the estranged, National Sibling Day is no cause for celebration.

New post: Ten risk factors for sibling estrangement

In 2014, when a possibility of reconciliation with my estranged brother surfaced, I was determined to do everything possible to reestablish a connection—and never let it go. I sent myself on a quest to understand the complexities of sibling estrangement. I soon realized that the topic is grossly unacknowledged and under-investigated. Nonetheless, I was surprised to learn that social science research has identified certain risk factors that increase the chances ...

My mother’s beloved storks return to her hometown in Germany

For fans of MOTHERLAND and my mom, Edith Westerfeld Schumer… My dear German friend sent me these photos this morning. My mother's beloved storks have just returned to Stockstadt. When my mother was a child, she would say good-bye to the birds in the fall when they migrated to Africa. Every spring, she would wait for them to return. She could recognize some of the birds and she even named them. ...

New blog post: Siblings may grow closer when parents divorce

A friend of the New York Times writer Ellen Umansky was struggling with her daughters who simply couldn't get along. The friend asked Umansky how she could get her daughters to be as close as Umansky and her brother. “You and your husband should separate,” Umansky replied. “Then go through an ugly divorce. That’ll bring your kids together.” There’s truth to Umansky’s gallows humor.   Link to article:

How “Is It Night or Day?” got its title…

When I was writing the story of my mother's immigration journey as an unaccompanied minor, I read an article in the New York Times about the orphaned children in the Sudanese Civil War. Fleeing tribal warfare and animal attacks, the "Lost Boys" camped out, subsisting on rationed corn mush and lentils. Many died of starvation and thirst. The article featured "three bone-thin African boys" who had the good fortune of ...

New post: When Partners and Siblings Can’t Get Along

Sisters and brothers face one of the most perilous moments in their relationship when one of them chooses a life partner. I didn’t recognize the prevalence of this stress point until I conducted an informal survey for my book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation. Many respondents blamed a spouse or partner for fracturing a sibling relationship. Link to full post:

Latest post: “Are My Sibling and I Estranged?”

The basics on sibling estrangement for those who don't know whether a brother or sister has cut them off.  

First time my formerly estranged brother joins me for a radio interview!

When a public radio station in North Carolina asked if my formerly estranged brother would come on a show to discuss family estrangement and reconciliation, he said yes! Interesting to hear his perspective. Here is the interview. Our segment starts at 25:00.