|Emily Dodd, Alison Miller, Magi Gibson|
Adele Patrick of Glasgow Women's Library introduced us. It was a momentous moment - one of the first events GWL hosted in their new premises.
Bare at the moment, after the relocation of Bridgeton Library across the road to the new Olympia building.
|Sue John, Adele Patrick and others from GWL|
And it was all the more special because Emily Dodd, Reader in Residence at Leith Library happened to be in Glasgow and came to join us. Check out Emily's regular blog from Leith Library.
Magi asked me first of all to tell the audience the story of my foundling Granny, abandoned yards away from the GWL's new home. (See my blog of 22 January 2013 for the story) And it's strange the way things work out because long before anyone knew that GWL would end up in Bridgeton, I had sponsored a shelf in memory of my granny, Polly Johnston, who will now be 'coming home' to Bridgeton. The Women on the Shelf scheme allows you to commemorate a woman of your choice, while helping GWL raise vital funds.
We moved on then to talk about 'books that changed our lives'. I had been floundering in a sea of titles I could have chosen, so was grateful to Magi for narrowing it down to one each of non-fiction, fiction and poetry for us both.
And Wendy Kirk, GWL's Librarian, had brought along a selection of titles that linked to the books we'd chosen.
Magi's choices - non-fiction: Women who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a clear influence on Magi's writing: Her last book of poetry is called, Wild Women of a Certain Age.
For fiction, Magi chose Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic first wave feminist novella, The Yellow Wallpaper.
And her poetry choice was
My choices were:
It was funny looking back on these books. I read the two prose books only once and find myself scared to re-read them in case I break the spell they cast on me the first time round. I know I'm unlikely to agree with everything in The Female Eunuch. I didn't even in my teens. But it was the first feminist book I ever read and therefore had the most impact.
My memories of Woman on the Edge of Time are of a finely realised utopian future, matched with an equally well drawn and horrific dystopian future.
It was also - I think - the first feminist novel to have as its main character a woman who was poor, mentally ill, uneducated and Mexican, rather than white, middle class, educated.
But interestingly, Magi's choice of The Yellow Wallpaper chimed in with mine in terms of the mental illness in the female protagonists that was central to both books.
And Sylvia Plath of course also struggled to hold onto her mental health and finally lost the fight fifty years ago when she committed suicide.
Magi and I will be coming up with three different books when we do the same session in Orkney Book Festival on the 13 April. She's blogged about this event too!
|Aileen Robertson, Me, Ali Macdonald|