On International Women’s Day and “Making It Happen”

FullSizeRender (3) FullSizeRender (2)On Friday 6 March, 2015, I was privileged to speak at the CSIRO Staff Association’s International Women’s Day luncheon. When I was invited to be the guest, I have to admit I was a little intimidated – all the speakers in previous years had been women who seemed to me to be much more qualified and suitable to be part of such an event! But being me (and this may be more clear when you read what I spoke about), I jumped at the chance and spoke on Cranky Ladies and the International Women’s Day theme of “Making It Happen”. And this is, basically, what I said (with thanks to Tansy Rayner Roberts because I stole a bit of her introduction from Cranky Ladies of History – with permission):

My journey has been one of branches in the path. Ever since I was a teenager, I have loved the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken”, because even then, it seemed to me that that my life was about taking that less-travelled path, and I learned early on that coming back to the fork in the road is not an option. We moved around a lot when I was young – across the continent from Western Australia to Queensland and twice back again before I was 10 years old. In the olden days, before Facebook and Twitter, the letters exchanged with old friends petered out pretty quickly, and I became a dab hand at fitting in to new situations – it’s a skill that has served me well as an adult as much as it ever did as a child. People who know me will be aware that I’m rarely shy about speaking up, and I think I can thank my parents’ itchy feet for that.

But what has that got to do with “making it happen”? Well, I don’t think I would be here, making it all happen, without the journey I’ve travelled.

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I wanted to show you this for some context of what I’m going to say next, but I need to note that the space I had to make it was limited, so it only shows the major moves and events – I went to nine different schools, and three universities, moved house more times than I can count as a child and a student, and we worked out that since we met, my husband and I have moved 12 times (not ALWAYS interstate…), which averages out at once per year… No wonder I’m tired!

I’m here today because of Cranky Ladies of History. This is the latest book from my boutique publishing house FableCroft Publishing, which I started in 2010. I co-edited the book with Tansy Rayner Roberts, and we did a crowdfunding campaign to finance it in March last year. It has been 18 months in the making, but it is the culmination of an even longer journey, which I’d like to share with you. Continue reading “On International Women’s Day and “Making It Happen””

CRANKY LADIES OF HISTORY: A few notes on Nora (of Kelmendi)

Cranky Ladies logoWelcome to Women’s History Month 2015, which has the theme “Weaving the stories of women’s lives”, which fits perfectly with our Cranky Ladies of History anthology project! After 18 months of work, including our successful crowd-funding campaign in March last year, we are proudly releasing the anthology on March 8. To celebrate, our wonderful authors have supplied blog posts related to their Cranky Lady, and we are delighted to share them here during the month of March. 

To get your own copy of Cranky Ladies of History, you can buy from our website, order your favourite real world bookshop, or purchase at all the major online booksellers (in print and ebook). 

A few notes on Nora by Havva Murat (“The Pasha, the Girl and the Dagger”)

Nora of Kelmendi
Nora in traditional Albanian garb and with the Pasha’s head firmly in her grip

Nora of Kelmendi, literally from Kelmend: a remote, mountainous region of Northern Albanian that flows into both the neighbouring countries of Montenegro and Kosovo, was born around 1630 AD. The cultural melting pot that is the Balkans, had by this time been held for around 200 years (from circa 1431) by the Ottoman Sultans and their local (in this instance, Bosnian) Pashas, taken after a series of bloody medieval wars that saw the lowlands fall into the hands of the Turks and the highlands foster and give birth to many uprisings. Nora, born into a Roman Catholic Family, became renowned as the greatest female warrior in the history of the country for killing the aforementioned Pasha in a duel (although her feats are more the stuff of legend than historical fact, but we won’t let that get in the way of a good story). It is interesting to note here that there are still many Roman Catholic families living in this region of Albanian today despite the fact that the majority of Albanians converted to Islam while under Ottoman rule – but not the Kelmend! This group were determined to hold onto their own faith and customs in the face of the Ottoman threat and thus their reputation as the most stubborn tribe in the nation grew.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR “THE PASHA, THE GIRL AND THE DAGGER” AFTER THE CUT – check out the story in Cranky Ladies of History before you read!

Continue reading “CRANKY LADIES OF HISTORY: A few notes on Nora (of Kelmendi)”

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It’s LAUNCH MONTH for Cranky Ladies of History!

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Welcome to Women’s History Month 2015, which has the theme “Weaving the stories of women’s lives”. This is pretty cool, as it fits perfectly with our Cranky Ladies of History anthology project! After 18 months of work, including our successful crowdfunding campaign in March last year, the anthology will be officially released into the world at 3pm on International Women’s Day (March 8) at The Front Gallery and Cafe in Lyneham, Canberra, with special guest Karen Middleton officiating! (You can find out more at the Facebook event page)

To celebrate, many of our wonderful authors have supplied blog posts related to their Cranky Lady, and we are delighted to share them here during the month of March. While most of these posts can be safely read in isolation of the story in the book they relate to, we’ve made sure to mark those posts which may be spoilery!

To get your own copy of Cranky Ladies of History, you can buy from our website, order your favourite real world bookshop, or purchase at all the major online booksellers (in print and ebook). We’re so proud of this book – the contributors have produced astonishing stories, and combined with amazing art by Kathleen Jennings and design by Amanda Rainey, it’s simply stunning.

Thank you to our contributors, the Pozible campaign backers, Arts Tasmania, and all those people who have supported us along the way on the Cranky Ladies journey – it’s been a heck of a ride and we’re looking forward to seeing where it goes next!

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