08 March 2012

International Women's Day March 8 2012

March 8 is International Women's Day and to celebrate Libraries ACT asked some of our National Year of Reading Ambassadors a few questions. You can read their answers below.

Tania McCartney
http://www.taniamccartney.com/

Do you have a favourite female author?
I have many, but my all-time favourite would be Jackie French. This is for many reasons – but here are just some: her penchant and passion for history, literacy, books, nature, ecological issues, animal welfare and children. Her drive, commitment, researching capabilities, encyclopaedic knowledge and zest for life are inspiring and somewhat mind-boggling. Plus, she’s fascinating, generous, thoughtful and really, really lovely. Oh – and her books are amazing, too.

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
What’s frightening to me, when asked this question, is that ten male children’s book characters instantly came to mind. Searching for female characters took a lot longer – and most of them fell into the ‘like’ or ‘like very, very much’ category, not the ‘favourite’ category. Does this not indicate a pressing need for strong, inspiring female characters in the children’s book genre? For kids’ books, I do love Eloise from Kay Thompson’s books – because of her gusto and irreverence. For adult books, my favourite character would be Miss Celie from The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I also adore Katharine Hepburn’s character – Christina Drayton – in the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Who is a woman who inspires you?
It’s too hard to name a singular inspiration, but I will say that there is a real dichotomy in the type of women that inspire me. Selfless, philanthropic women completely awe-inspire me and drive me to do better. High-flying, high-achieving women who build empires also inspire me because they epitomise hard work and following-their-passion. Mothers, teachers and ‘everyday’ women also inspire me, most especially those who step outside perceived boundaries and have the guts to shine. One of my many work-related inspirations would be Margaret Hamilton.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to shine.

What is the best thing about being a woman in your industry?
The incredible support from other female authors. It consistently astounds and heartens me, especially given the fact that this industry is so competitive. The other wonderful thing is watching these women and their drive, creativity and passion for books and literacy. It’s a delight to share in their work, too – I’m so proud of the literary talent we have in this country.


Canberra Roller Derby League
http://canberrarollerderbyleague.com/

Intensive Claire

Do you have a favourite female author?
At the moment Di Morrissey... but that changes regularly :)

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
Xena: Warrior Princess. She's a strong, tough, independent woman who still remains vulnerable, kind, and loving.

Who is a woman who inspires you?
Shelley Argent. She has set a goal and built foundations to help achieve it. She is determined and fair.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
 Be true to yourself. Have the courage to be the you that you know you are. Hold your head high and be proud of who you are an what you have achieved.

What is the best thing about being a woman in your industry?
As a roller derby player: Empowerment. Ability to to show physical ability, power, strength and strategy (all while looking and feeling good). As a critical care nurse: Using physical, mental and emotional strength to care for patients while also helping families of patients by being compassionate and genuine.

Freudian Slit

Do you have a favourite female author?
Three way tie between Margaret Atwood, Lionel Shriver and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
Too many, maybe! Morgaine, from Mists of Avalon; Liesel from The Book Thief; Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events...I could go on!

Who is a woman who inspires you?
bell hooks.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Always always always manage your time! And try and laugh as often as possible.

What is the best thing about being a woman in your industry?
While I'm currently at uni, I've found being able to fully immerse myself in the roller derby scene one of the best bits of being a woman so far. I've come away from roller derby feeling so much more powerful and confident in my own strength, and it's a credit to the amazing women I skate with. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be able to apply what derby has taught me in all aspects of my life, including my future career.

Drakecula

Do you have a favourite female author?
I have several! J. K. Rowling, Jennifer Fallon, Traci Harding, Trudi Canavan, Sara Douglass just to name a few.

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
I think it would have to be Daria Morgendorffer from the cartoon series Daria. She's smart, has a great sense of humour and does what she believes in, no matter what.

Who is a woman who inspires you?
I'd have to say my mother. She was always there for me and she lived for her family. She passed away just last year due to cancer and I miss her every day. But she lives on in my mind as I'm often asking myself "what would Mum do?".


If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Keep working towards your dreams, they will eventuate, even if it seems like they're going in a round-a-bout way. Believe in yourself. Also, keep skating, it'll come in handy later on!

What is the best thing about being a woman in your industry?
Being able to break the librarian stereotype! I don't wear glasses, I don't wear my hair in a bun and I don't shush people. Oh wait, I do wear cardigans...

Cherry Axe-Wound

Do you have a favourite female author?
Angela Carter

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
Cassie Hack from the Hack/Slash Comics

Who is a woman who inspires you?
No single woman inspires me, I find that I am inspired by the different qualities and strengths that are unique to all the women in my life

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Have faith in yourself, be proud of who you are because you will find your way, and always wear SPF 30+ because no one wants to look like a leather couch.

What is the best thing about being a woman in your industry?
In roller derby it is the opportunity to surround myself with such a broad variety of smart, creative, strong and beautiful women. For my real-life alter ego it’s crunching numbers in converse sneakers, knocking back coffee and handing out sarcastic comments like they're going out of fashion

Jackie French
http://www.jackiefrench.com/

Do you have a favourite female author?
Perhaps 50 favourites...don't know if it is coincidence, but most of my best loved books are by women. Margaret Atwood, Amanda Cross/Carolyn Heilbrun, Ursula le Guin, Laurie E King, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austin, Connie Willis, James Tiptree Junior (who despite her nom de plum was female) and as for Kerry Greenwood : 'her books cure 100% of all so far experienced heart attacks. I always keep one in case of emergency'.

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
Jane Eyre, from the first time I read it at age 7 to my almost annual revisiting. The first heroine with total integrity.

Who is a woman who inspires you?
Again, that would be a long list. This week it's Carolyn Heilbrun, on aging.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don't worry, it all works out. You'll get what you want, which isn't quite what you expect, but it will be better than you can imagine. Whenever it gets too hard, look at the beauty around you, and know that 'this too shall pass.'

What is the best thing about being a woman in your industry?
You get an excuse to dress up at book launches and award nights. It's also an industry where an 80 year old woman is as respected- if she is still writing- as a 25 year old. On the other hand, it is still an industry where males, and books by males, are still accorded more automatic respect. Where are the male equivalents of the denigratory terms 'chick lit' and 'ewe lit?'

Marion Halligan

Do you have a favourite female author?
Elizabeth Jolley

Do you have a favourite female character (from a book or movie)?
Becky Sharp, from Thackeray's Vanity Fair - she is so wickedly alive.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Just do it. Don't procrastinate.

Find out more about International Women's Day by visiting http://www.internationalwomensday.org.au/.