Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks St.

A Woman’s Work:
Advocate. Soldier. Revolutionary.
with Raiyah Patel, Sandra Perron
and Monia Mazigh

Hosted by Rachel Vincent from the Nobel Women’s Initiative
"Can literature bear witness? This is the literary quest undertaken by Monia Mazigh in her novel about revolutions and families, about the Bread Riots of Tunisia and the Arab Spring. How do women come of age as dissidents?
— Kim Echlin
Monia Mazigh
Raiyah Patel
Sandra Perron

Three remarkable women share the lessons they have learned and the struggle to ensure the future is more inclusive than the past. A celebration of courage and a reminder of our power to be the change we seek in the world.

Student Raiyah Patel continues the work begun by Shannen Koostachin, a youth education advocate from Attawapiskat First Nation, who demanded the federal government provide better, safer schools for students living on reserves. Koostachin passed away in a car accident in 2010 when she was just 15 years old, but her advocacy for better and safer education for aboriginal students was turned into a campaign by her family and friends, known as Shannen's Dream. 

In Out Standing in the Field , her revealing and moving memoir, Sandra Perron, Canada's first female infantry officer and a member of the Royal 22e Régiment - the legendary "Van Doos" - describes her fight against a system of institutional sexism. Though repeatedly identified as top of her class throughout her training, she was subject to harassment by her male colleagues. Her military experience, however, wasn't all negative. Through two deployments to Bosnia and Croatia, Perron forged lasting friendships with men and women, serving her country with courage and compassion, and her determination helped pave the way for women's inclusion in the Armed Forces. Out Standing in the Field is the story of a soldier who refused to let her comrades or her country down, even while serving a military institution that failed her repeatedly.

Weaving together the voices of two women at two pivotal moments in history, the Tunisian Bread Riots in 1984 and the Jasmine Revolution in 2010, Monia Mazigh’s novel, Hope Has Two Daughters, is a bracing, vivid story that perfectly captures life inside revolution. Unwilling to endure a culture of silence and submission, and disowned by her family, Nadia leaves her native Tunisia in 1984 amidst deadly violence, chaos, and rioting brought on by rising food costs, eventually emigrating to Canada to begin her life. More than twenty-five years later, Nadia’s daughter Lila reluctantly travels to Tunisia to learn about her mother’s birth country. Soon, Lila finds herself in the midst of another revolution–one that will inflame the country and change the Arab world, and her, forever.

Books available for purchase at every event: Proceeds support our free children’s literacy programs.

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