"And here was a woman writing about the lives of women at their most muddled, about a woman who can't quite believe in the world of careers, academic strivings, faith in work, and another who is just managing to keep afloat in the woozy world of maternity, with its shocks and confusions and fearful love and secret brutality. You have to remember how shunned, despised, misused, this material was at that time. . . aside from the pleasure she gave me, as a reader, she gave me that clear glimpse of possibilities which is one of the things a writer is always looking for, and must be most lastingly grateful for, in another writer."
—Alice Munro, writing about Marian Engel in Room of One's Own, vol. 9, no. 2, 1984
As Alice Munro pointed out about Marian Engel in an essay Munro wrote for Room of One's Own in 1984, early feminist writers bequeathed something very valuable to others who followed them: they showed that it was possible to write about—and to be published when writing about—women's concerns and experiences.
Since 1975, Room of One's Own has been a dedicated space for the creative expressions of female writers, poets, and visual artists. Since author Gayla Reid spearheaded the creation of the Growing Room Collective who produced the first issue of Room of One's Own, Room has published the works of close to 3,000 women, many of whom appeared in print for the first time in our pages. That is something we are very, very proud of.
The women published in Room—our literary foresisters—wrote about desire, relationships, work, aging, health, virginity, body image, sex, motherhood, spirituality, power, home, heartbreak, violence, equality, independence, dependence, loss, transformation, wanderlust. . . the themes were as diverse as the female experience and all remain relevant today, as exemplified by the talented contributors in this issue.
COVER ARTIST'S STATEMENT
Faces, people, and buildings are my favourite subjects. Through these I am able to tell stories inspired by mythology, fairy tales, fables, and inspirational texts. I use abstraction to create a sense of mystery and just enough space for the viewer to add their own story or interpretation.
Barbara Februar is a European-trained designer and illustrator with additional studies in architectural, interior, and textile design. Since she began painting full time in 2002, her contemporary abstract acrylic paintings have been placed in private and corporate collections in Europe and North America. She is represented by Bellevue Gallery in West Vancouver.
Karen Hofmann teaches English and creative writing at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. She has previously published fiction and poetry in a variety of magazines, including Room of One’s Own, and she has three children, all poets.
Lynda Monahan is author of two collections of poetry, a slow dance in the flames and what my body knows (nominated for a Saskatchewan Book Award for poetry in 2003), both published by Coteau Books. She has recently completed a third poetry manuscript titled the cure for fire. Her work has been published widely in Canadian literary magazines and broadcast on CBC radio. Monahan teaches creative writing at SIAST Woodland Campus in Prince Albert, and facilitates several writing workshops. She is on the council for the League of Canadian Poets and is a director on the board of Sage Hill Summer Writing Experience.
Lana Okerlund is a freelance editor and writer living in Vancouver. In addition to being a member of the editorial collective that publishes Room of One’s Own, Lana works on a variety of literary and business editing and writing projects. www.lanaokerlund.wordpress.com.
Robin Smith is a Canadian writer and artist originally from Calgary. She now lives with her husband in London, England. Her online journal can be found at groovy-decay.diaryland.com.