Why should Michele Landsberg's Writing the Revolution win the Toronto Book Award on October 11th? Let me tell you why:
To begin with, Writing the Revolution is a lively and unpretentious read. Composed mostly of articles selected from Landsberg's long career as a columnist for The Globe & Mail and The Toronto Star, Writing the Revolution is edited to follow the evolution of the feminist movement in North America in a neat and vivid arch.
You don't have to have stood as witness to the events Landsberg so courageously wrote about (i.e. you don't have to be middle aged) to get excited about this book, because Writing the Revolution does a good job of taking you there, exemplifying through Landsberg's own trajectory the world that was Canada in the 1950's through the 1980's.
It wasn't all that good, as it turns out. Much needed to change. The activist work of women like Florence Bird (first Chair of The Royal Commission on the Status of Women), Doris Anderson (ground-breaking Editor of Chatelaine magazine), Kay Macpherson (first woman elected to the House of Commons), Jane Doe (tireless activist for victims of rape), June Callwood, and so many more, did, in fact, constitute a revolution, a transformation of Canadian society.
Writing the Revolution is meaningful and important, not just because Michele Landsberg is a good writer willing to fight for space in the male-controlled media of the time, but because she herself was an active agent of the change she was chronicling.
Painterly in its writing, these selections are accompanied with a plethora of photographs (don't miss Michele Landsberg and Stephen Lewis' wedding photograph on page 69) which bring to life the excitement of an era that shaped who we are today.