Boston — December promises to be a spectacular month for local best-selling author Anita Diamant. A two-part miniseries of her award-winning biblical novel, “The Red Tent,” will premiere on the Lifetime television network Dec. 7 and 8. The next day, Dec. 9, Diamant’s newest book, “The Boston Girl,” will be published by Scribner, and she will begin a cross-country book tour: Dec. 9 at Brookline Booksmith, Dec. 15 at the Rockport Library, followed by appearances in Washington, D.C., California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arizona.
“The miniseries is the icing on the cake for me,” said Diamant, who lives in the Boston area. “What they’ve done is capture the celebration of women’s lives. It sends a message of respect for women’s lives.”
Originally published in 1997, “The Red Tent” takes place in biblical times and is told through the eyes of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob. The miniseries begins with the happy childhood of Dinah, played by Rebecca Ferguson (“The White Queen”), spent inside the red tent, where the women of her tribe gather and share the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood. The miniseries recounts the story of Dinah’s mothers — Leah, played by Minnie Driver (“About a Boy” and “Return to Zero”); Rachel, played by Morena Baccarin (“Homeland”); Zilpah; and Bilhah. These were the four wives of Jacob, played by Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”).
Dinah matures and experiences an intense love that subsequently leads to a devastating loss, and the fate of her family is forever changed. Debra Winger (“Terms of Endearment”) portrays Rebecca, Jacob’s mother, while Will Tudor (“Game of Thrones”) stars as Joseph, Dinah’s brother. The series, directed by Roger Young (“Law & Order”), was filmed in Morocco, with a script written by Elizabeth Chandler (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”) and Anne Meredith (“Secrets of Eden”).
“This is a first in so many ways,” said Diamant, who was not involved in the miniseries. “It’s very flattering and very dizzying.” Although “The Red Tent” has been published in 25 countries, this is the first time it has been filmed. “I am interested in the audience’s reaction,” she said. “It matters to me that the audience is inspired.”
She will have the chance to watch the audience’s reaction at a special sneak preview on Dec. 2 to benefit Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh in Newton, of which Diamant is founding president.
At that screening, part one of the miniseries will be shown at Showcase Cinema De Lux at Legacy Place in Dedham. A VIP reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the screening at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A with Diamant, moderated by New York Times contributor Mark Oppenheimer. All proceeds will benefit Mayyim Hayyim. “This community mikvah is open to men as well as women,” said Diamant. “It’s a place where women feel safe and taken care of.”
Diamant is excited about the upcoming publication of her 13th book, “The Boston Girl.” “This book has local roots,” said Diamant. “It follows one character, Addie Baum, born in Boston to immigrant parents who are suspicious of America, through her coming of age. It’s the story of her life.”
Addie’s story begins in 1915, when she joins the library group for girls at a neighborhood settlement house. There she finds her voice and makes friends who help shape the course of her life. Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine — where women finish high school, go to college, have a career and find true love.
“Friendships and finding voice are themes in all of my books,” said Diamant, who grew up in Newark, N.J., and Denver. She received a B.A. degree in comparative literature from Washington University in St. Louis. After earning a master’s degree in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton, she moved to the Boston area, where she has lived since. She and her husband, Jim Ball, have a grown daughter, Emilia.
“I think all of my experiences find their way into what I write,” concluded Diamant. “What I read, what I hear from other women — my life swirls together in my writing.”
“The Red Tent” miniseries will air at 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 8 on Lifetime. For information about the Dec. 2 sneak preview benefit for Mayyim Hayyim, visit mayyimhayyim.org. or email email@example.com.