The University of the Fraser Valley’s long association with writer Shauna Singh Baldwin will be strengthened this fall when the university’s Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies (CICS) publishes Baldwin’s first work of non-fiction.
In Reluctant Rebellions, Baldwin presents new and selected non-fiction on the act of writing as a feminist author, and about the resistance of cultural communities to false presumptions and definitions imposed by the dominant community.
Baldwin and UFV will formally launch the book at a reading and reception at the CICS on the UFV Abbotsford campus (33884 King Rd.) on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
Baldwin brings a new perspective and voice to Canadian public discourse in 15 speeches and essays written between 2001 and 2015,
Offering examples from her personal journey as a writer and a South Asian woman born in Canada, married to an American, living in the United States, and with strong ties to India, Baldwin transcends homogenized national identities and is an example of a truly global citizen.
“There are two grand themes in this collection of essays, both very relevant to stakeholders associated with our Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies,” notes CICS director Satwinder Bains. “One is the reality of living as part of the South Asian diaspora, and responding to the dominant culture. The other is the importance of feminist viewpoints within this context.”
From the first essay exploring links between the India’s 1947 Partition and nostalgic and lived realities, Baldwin passionately engages with the twists in life and logic. In the next, she explores the role of conflict on the page, then love as ingredient for storytelling, and love as the legacy of a Resistance spy.
Addressing misogyny in her three countries, Baldwin proposes feminine interpretations of epic tales. She tells us why names matter, asks us to remember a single word that can move us toward wholeness, and tells of the difficulties of using English to tell stories about people of non-Abrahamic religious origins.
Finally, in the title essay, she calls to South Asian women who do not yet call themselves feminists, with words that resonate from her fiction: “I resist, therefore I am.”
“I am delighted to present these essays and speeches as a collection for your reading pleasure,” Baldwin says. “May they inspire you to consider, discuss and reengage with our ongoing problems of post-colonialism, feminism and language. And then act for positive change.”
Baldwin’s previous novels included What the Body Remembers, The Tiger Claw, We Are Not in Pakistan and The Selector of Souls.