Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Books November

I am currently reading between four books.

Betty Lambert’s Crossings I am rereading slowly in preparation for the up and coming event at the Vancouver Public Library I am organizing. A group of us writers — Annabel Lyon, Juliane Okot Bitek, Claudia Casper, Renee Rodin and Lori Weidenhammer — are revisiting Crossings to see whether there are new readings to be had on the book. Lori, a performance artist will revisit a Lambert play)

Lambert’s Crossings is a book to be slowly digested and it is at times an immensely difficult but worthwhile digestion. The book possesses an unevenness — something that is necessary or fitting when you think about the uneven nature of the two main people it circulates around.

The other three books I am nesting with, in a remarkably different manner of reading, are three old Press Gang books:

1. Common Ground: Stories by Women

2. An Account To Settle The Story of the United Bank Workers (SORWUC).

3. Sometimes They Sang. Helen Potrebenko.

The first book I have read two or three of the stories and they made me think about space and the close confines in which the people live to each other and how people are invited into space. The second (non fiction) reads rather like an adventure (I’ve read much less successfully attempts at this in fiction!) and the third, I consider a vital novel (out of print naturally). All three contain strikes and picket lines in relation to women. I did not select them knowing this, in fact two of them I found on the side of the road. It’s curious what emerges when you open books in tandem or parallel.

Gloria Greenfield Vancouver Women’s Bookstore

In the course of my research on Betty Lambert’s novel Crossings I learned about Gloria Greenfield, here’s a link to a profile about her work, activism and legacy.

Gloria Greenfield arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1972, near the beginning of the second wave of feminism. She shared little of her past with anyone, but threw herself into the present. One of Gloria’s first activities was to found, with actor Nora D. Randall, the Vancouver Women’s Bookstore, only the second or third one in all of North America. Many people doubted that the bookstore could survive: the view at the time was that men wrote all the good books and women had little of value to say anyway. But survive it did, often with Gloria running it alone, believing that the store could make it, never taking any pay