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Mythogyny: What authors say about it September 9, 2009

Posted by wethewomen in announcement, news feature.
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“Powerful stories, often quite artlessly unaware of their own power and emotional weight”  is how Alice Munro, Short Story writer,  winner of the third Man Booker International Prize, describes Mythogyny, the lives and times of women elders in BC.

The anthology of personal stories gathered from interviews and collected as true voices by Women Elders in Action (WE*ACT) along with volunteers will be launched on Sept. 24, at SFU Harbour Centre’s Teck Gallery at 6:30 p.m.

Expected to attend are some of the seventy-seven storytellers and story-catchers among them Shiela Baxter, Bev Mill, Millie Canessa, Joan Morelli, Pat Peters, Ruth Shaw, Colleen Caroll, Faye Yamsuan, Bernice Gehring, and Jan McRobb whose stories are either taken as a whole or as excerpts.

Special honors will be given to Wilma Hanson and Betty Greenwell who have died in the course of the book’s production.

 “During the training, we carefully formulated questions to guide us. But during most of the interviews, only one of those questions would be used. The magic of telling a personal story face-to-face relived scenes and emotions perhaps long forgotten and long pushed aside that what came out were compelling narratives we did not imagine,” recalls Alegria Imperial, one of the story tellers, story catchers and a member of the editorial collective.

Oonagh Berry, co-author (with Helen Levine) of Between Friends, did get struck by “…the courage, pain and tenacity expressed in these remarkable women’s stories,” which she describes as “breathtakingly moving and inspiring.”  

These dramatic experiences  for Fiona Tinwei Lam, poet and editor, author, Enter the Chrysanthemum, are nothing but “Gritty and authentic accounts … of hardship, poverty and social change… challenges rooted in time and context, yet remain universal.” 

As Joan Barfoot novelist, author of Exit Lines, puts it, “For anyone who supposes the old days were best, or dreams that old women are quiet creatures with nothing to say, or imagines that women’s equal place in the Canadian world is complete and secure–for all those people, these vivid, wrenching and brave vignettes of real lives are both a brisk corrective and a most timely warning.”     

With voices that “…are clear, honest and direct…no pretense. Just the truth of living”, as Cynthia Flood, short story writer, The English Stories, describes it, Ann Giardini, novelist, Advice for Italian Boys, adds that “their recollections are notably free of self-pity or bitterness.”

Margaret Mitchell former MP, author, No Laughing Matter, believes that the stories “open the door to an unwritten chapter of Canadian history.”

“These are moving and important stories told by our mothers and grandmothers,” writes Leona Gom, poet and novelist,  author, The Exclusion Principle.

“What turned out were not only ‘lessons learned’ but ‘real lives far more impressive than myth could ever be’, thus, the title of the book, Mythogyny,” Alice West, WE*ACT chair explains.

A pre-launch presentation of the book will also be held at the 411 Seniors Centre Cafeteria on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m.

For more information, call 604-684-8171 local 228 (please leave  a message) or email weact@411seniors.bc.ca or mythogyny@gmail.com