What International Women’s Day means to some of the Floris Books’ team and authors, and what they’re reading to celebrate.
Lindsay Littleson, Author
International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to shout about influential Scots in history, like Dundee’s Lila Clunas, Paisley’s Jane Arthur and Glasgow’s Mary Barbour, whose actions made a positive difference to women’s lives, but whose stories haven’t been given prominence.
It’s abundantly clear from pay statistics alone that the fight for gender equality is not won. International Women’s Day is a great opportunity for all feminists to network and #PressforProgress.
I was asked to recommend a book and I’m sure it’ll be mentioned by everyone but Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is an inspiring read for all children.
About: Lindsay Littleson is a primary school teacher in Renfrewshire, Scotland. She won the Kelpies Prize with her first children’s novel, The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean. The sequel, The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean is out now.
Lari Don, Author
The first time I was fully aware of reading books with a focus on strong female characters and with an overtly feminist message, was when I borrowed Sheri Tepper novels from my flatmate as a student. I loved the Mavin Manyshaped fantasies (which might explain why I write so many shapeshifter stories). The book that sticks most in my mind, as a sci-fi scream against sexism and injustice, is The Gate To Women’s Country. And what does IWD mean to me? It means lots of voices speaking out about equality and respect for all.
About: Lari Don worked in politics and broadcasting before becoming a mother and a full-time author and storyteller. Born in Chile and with a childhood spent in the north-east of Scotland, many of Lari’s books are inspired by folklore traditions from around the world. She writes for all ages of children. Her books include the award-winning Fabled Beast Chronicles, the Spellchasers trilogy, and her picture books include The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster.
Theresa Breslin, Author
International Women’s Day is the day to celebrate, worldwide, the achievements of women. My favourite female achiever is Dame Freya Madeline Stark, Mrs Perowne, who trained as a VAD during and served with a Red Cross Ambulance Unit in Italy.
Freya Stark was born in an age when women were really not expected to venture anywhere unfamiliar on their own, far less go travelling by themselves to dangerous and wild places. She could speak many languages, including Arabic and Farsi, and read Pliny and Plutarch. Freya researched the countries she wanted to visit and off she went ‒ walking, sailing, riding camels and horses, in carts and trucks – to explore ancient lands, track the spice routes and follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great. What is even more wonderful is that she wrote beautifully about her travels. Her book titles alone entice you: The Minaret of Djam: Dust in the Lion’s Paw: The Southern Gates of Arabia: Perseus in the Wind: The Valleys of the Assassins.
Go read the adventures of this remarkable woman.
About: Theresa Breslin is the Carnegie Medal-winning critically-acclaimed author of over 30 books for children and young adults. She lives near Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been filmed for television, broadcast on radio, and is read worldwide.
Claire McFall, Author
International Women’s Day is about celebrating what it is to be a woman. Should women be equal to men? Yes. Are women the same as men? No. IWD to me is about celebrating the compassion and resilience of women. The incredible things women have contributed to the world. It is about recognising the struggle and sacrifice that our predecessors endured to make sure that we can stand up and be counted ‒ and be proud. A book to me that celebrates the strength of women, is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
About: Claire McFall’s first book, Ferryman, won a Scottish Children’s Book Award, was long-listed for the Branford Boase Award and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Ferryman and its sequel Trespassers have recently been optioned for film by California-based Legendary Entertainment. She is also the author of paranormal thriller Black Cairn Point, winner of the inaugural Scottish Teenage Book Prize.
Morag Bramhall, Production Controller
International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to pause and think of the amazing achievements of inspirational women past and present, who have paved the way for future progress. We owe huge thanks to the courageous women who fought for equal rights and now enable us to be part of important and inspiring initiatives around the world, making the world a better place for future generations.
My personal book recommendation this International Women’s Day is Jodi Picoult’s riveting novel, Small Great Things.
Jennie Skinner, Assistant Editor
To me, International Women’s Day is about celebrating the strength, determination and inspiring achievements of all of the incredible women I have the privilege of knowing, as well as helping to support in any way I can the amazing work of others around the world who strive to readdress the balance and demand more for women and girls everywhere.
My book recommendation is The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. Lush, beguiling and more than a little bit kick-ass. A total masterclass in feminist subversion and rewriting the fairy tale rulebook.
CJ Cook, Sales & Marketing Executive
International Women’s Day is a chance for women to tell their stories, especially ones that historically haven’t been heard. The editor of my current read endeavoured to do just that. Originally published in Russian in 1985, Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War collects together the personal experiences of over 200 women who fought in the Second World War – experiences that weren’t accounted for in official narratives. It’s both fascinating and heartbreaking.
‘I still often ask myself why I was chosen to survive. Twenty-three souls of my family perished.’