When I first started making the list of books I’d like to read for this Challenge, I immediately began to list classic English and American texts (and not that that wouldn’t make for a fitting challenge, with the likes of Wollstonecraft and Pankhurst brushing up with Stanton and Lorde) but then I realized there were likely more Canadian feminist writers that I was simply overlooking (to say nothing of the feminists from countries whose writers I have barely begun to explore).
So I now have twelve Canadian feminist writers in mind and am even more interested in the theme than I had been to start with. It felt like a natural comfortable fit, but now I’m actually excited about it, about revisiting old favourites and taking some time for writers whose work I’ve only brushed up against in the past.
That list doesn’t begin and end with Margaret Atwood (although in my case it will begin with Atwood, because I’m an alphabetically-inclined feminist) although she is arguably the most high-profile writer I’ve chosen. She was an obvious choice for me but even though at first I wondered if I could come up with a dozen names, I actually found myself having to choose amongst many more and setting some aside for future reading.
My 2010 Women Unbound reading will include: Margaret Atwood, Joan Barfoot, Dionne Brand, Di Brandt, Nicole Brossard, Cynthia Flood, Hiromi Goto, Kristjana Gunnars, Nalo Hopkinson, Dorothy Livesay, Elizabeth Smart, and Elisabeth Vonarburg.
I’ll make sure there are at least three non-fiction choices, but I’d like to leave some wriggle room there. Some of these writers I know I’m targeting one or the other (eg. Atwood’s non-fiction, Elisabeth Vonarburg’s fiction) but others I’ll settle by reading mood as the weeks go by and I’m aiming for an author each month, but I’m also anticipating months of low-reading volume (September: I’m looking at you!) and winter binge reading.
Margaret Atwood Negotiating with the Dead (2002); Moving Targets (2005)
Joan Barfoot Abra (1978); Dancing in the Dark (1982)
Dionne Brand In Another Place, Not Here (1996); Ossuaries (2010)
Di Brandt Speaking of Power (2006); So this is the world and here I am in it (2007)
Nicole Brossard Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon (2005); Fences in Breathing (2009)
Cynthia Flood Making a Stone of the Heart (2002); The English Stories (2009)
Hiromi Goto Chorus of Mushrooms (1994); The Kappa Child (2001)
Kristjana Gunnars The Rose Garden (1996); The Substance of Forgetting (1992)
Nalo Hopkinson The Salt Roads (2003); The New Moon’s Arms (2007)
Dorothy Livesay Journey with My Selves 1909-1963 (1991)
Elizabeth Smart Autobiographies (1987); Necessary Secrets (1986) and On the Side of the Angels (1994) Journal Editor Alice van Wart; Kim Echlin’s Elizabeth Smart (2004)
Elisabeth Vonarburg The Silent City (1981; 1988 Translation); Reluctant Voyagers (Translation Jane Brierley, 1995)