To mark International Women's Day, we spoke to Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada and author of the new book, Every Day is Malala Day, which Kirkus Reviews has called, "a brief but moving manifesto that will spark both sympathy and heightened awareness of an endemic global outrage."
49th Shelf: Every Day is Malala Day is an interesting book, a letter to Malala Yousafzai affirming sisterhood from girls all over the world. In the book, you mention the short film that inspired you to frame your message in this way. What makes this structure so effective?
Rosemary McCarney: It was with great joy that I, like much of the world, watched Malala address the United Nations on her 16th birthday, when her and 600 other youth activists—including two Canadian girls from Plan Canada’s Youth program—took over the UN in New York. She spoke with such conviction and such passion on the right of all girls and boys to gain an education. It gave me shivers.
At the time, Plan’s head office in England had produced a short film depicting girls from all over the world writing to Malala to tell her how important a symbol she was for them in their lives. We hear the voices of these girls expressing their admiration for Malala and their solidarity with her struggl …
Ascent of Women tells the dramatic and empowering stories of change-makers and examines the stunning courage, tenacity and wit these women are using to alter the status quo. It is the story of a dawning of a new revolution, whose chapters are being written in mud-brick houses in Afghanistan; on Tehrir Square in Cairo; in the forests of the Congo, where women still hide from their attackers; and in a shelter in northern Kenya, where 160 girls between 3 and 17 are pursuing a historic court case against a government who did not protect them from rape.
Women revolutionaries in Toronto and Nairobi, Kabul and Caracas, New York City and Lahore are making history. Women the world over are marching to protest honour killing, polygamy, stoning and a dozen other religiously or culturally sanctified acts of violence. Sally Armstrong brings us these voices from the barricades, inspiring and brave.
49th Shelf Q&A with Sally Armstrong:
Kerry Clare: For your reader, it’s not immediately obvious that Ascent of Women is a good news story. Your book illustrates that women and girls are victimized, brutalized, and subjugated all over the world—hardly news to you after 25 years of reporting this news, but for the rest of us the effect is overwhelming. …
Marita Dachsel's Glossolalia was released this week. Glossolalia is an unflinching exploration of sisterhood, motherhood, and sexuality as told in a series of poetic monologues spoken by the thirty-four polygamous wives of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In Marita Dachsel's second full-length collection, the self-avowed agnostic feminist uses mid-nineteenth century Mormon America as a microcosm for the universal emotions of love, jealousy, loneliness, pride, despair, and passion. Glossolalia is an extraordinary, often funny, and deeply human examination of what it means to be a wife and a woman through the lens of religion and history.
To mark International Women's Day (March 8), Dachsel shares with us a list of her favourite poetry by Canadian women writers.
Most of my favourite poetry books are written by Canadian women. Narrowing the list down to a reasonable number was difficult as we’re a lucky country to have such a wealth of talent. Ultimately, I chose eight collections that I keep returning to for inspiration, for pleasure, for comfort, for a challenge.