Spain Remembers

Spain Remembers

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ambitious Publishing Venture

Constance Backhouse sent me a complimentary e-mail and further information about the publishing plans of the Feminist History Project.

Dear Joan,

We are delighted you are a member of the FHS! I am one of the co-editors for the publication series. I have now read your non-fiction description of the Abortion Caravan meeting in Thunder Bay. It is so fascinating! As I read it, it felt like I was there in person. How amazing it must have been to have been there at the time.

We would love to talk further with you about how this might be used in our FHS project.

For the first year of our existence, we have been focused mainly on the “launch” – the campaign for membership, the fund-raising drive, the effort to get out our first publication – Marguerite Andersen’s book of essays due out in October. We are a non-profit organization, working entirely with volunteer labour, and so sometimes the things we would love to do take a little while longer than we had hoped. All by way of explanation for what follows….
In 2010, Canadian feminism is having a fiftieth birthday. Now is the time for all of us to celebrate befitting the 50th year of the “second-wave” of activism that started in the 1960s.

Women from across the country have rallied to start documenting our struggles and successes. The non-profit Feminist History Society is publishing a multi-volume series of books depicting the richness and diversity of Canadian feminist activity between 1960 and 2010. The project kicked off with a workshop in Ottawa in 2008, where thirty women got together to imagine inaugurating this exciting series. For a list of those who have been involved so far, see our website at

Written by many different authors, and presented in a variety of formats, the collection will reflect our multi-talented and eclectic movement. There is an open call for submissions, so consider this your invitation to write for us as well!

This series of books, published and sold over the next decade, is designed to take pride of place on feminist bookshelves across the land. The unique, hardcover collection will be beautifully designed and bound as a feminist series.

Feminist Journeys (Cover picture above)

The first volume is a rich and varied collection of feminist “click” stories. It is edited by Marguerite Andersen. In response to an open call, women from all parts of Canada tell how they made the connection between their girlhood or womanhood, and what was happening in their lives. The contributors are diverse, illustrating the interplay of gender, race, class, geography, culture, dis/ability, language, sexual identity, and age in women’s experiences.

The collection speaks to what is at the heart of feminism – a deep desire for the full development of every girl and woman, a dedication to an affirming society, a capacity for openess and learning, a committment to community, and, a willingness to make change personally and systemically.

The personalities and experiences, turning points and transformations, jump from the page, embracing the reader in a journey to both familar and new places.

Marguerite Andersen, born in Germany, is a teacher, a writer, a mother and grandmother, who has lived in Canada since 1958. She has taught at all levels, including the University of Guelph (where she was Chair of Languages and Literature and a founder of the first women’s studies program in Canada), Concordia University and Mount Saint Vincent University (where she held the Nancy Ruth Chair in Women’s Studies). In 1971, she published Mother was Not a Person, a collection of feminist essays that sold a remarkablee 6,000 copies. Marguerite has published more than ten works of fiction, short stories and poems.

2011 Up-coming Annual Book

Michele Landsberg is one of Canada’s most respected and recognized journalists.

With a voice all her own, coming from a deep feminist inside, Michele has engaged with the second wave of the women’s movement in Canada more than any other writer in Canada. Her perspective and experience spans the full 50 years from 1960 to 2010. Her opinions, always careful and sometimes controversial inside and outside the movement, have mattered to women’s lives.

After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1962 (it awarded her an honorary degree n 2008), Michele joined The Globe and Mail. From 1971 to 1978, she was part of the halcyon days of Chatelaine, then under the editorship of Doris Anderson.

Apart from a return stint with The Globe and Mail, Michele wrote a daily column in the Toronto Star from 1978 to 2005. Ostensibly retired then, Michele continued her activist work and chaired the board of Women’s College Hospital until 2009 during a critical phase in its on-going fight to stay women-centred and run.

Revisiting what her columns chronicled about the second wave of the women’s movement in Canada, Michele will reflect on the characteristics, successes and failures of this movement over its 50 years. With her trademark blend of kindness, toughness, bluntness and humour, we will hear her distinctive voice on where we have been and where we should go.


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