Book reading plays a pivotal role in the upbringing and nurturing of children with storytelling being the most potent tool of learning for kids and adults alike. A significant knowledge construct, reading a book assists them to learn about themselves and the world they live in. It helps them envision the unknown or take refuge and like ‘winged dryads’ fly off to unexplored, fanciful realms of imagination. Marking Women’s History Month and Women’s Day, Ananke is proudly organizing the Middle East, Africa and the Sub-continent regions first ever literary event which will take place on March 30-April 1 to also observe World Book and Copyright Day. Among its array of focused topics, the event will also trigger a conversation about going beyond gender stereotyping in children’s literature.
The dialogue at the event seeks to investigate and uncover gendered messages in children’s literature, the notions of power and power dynamics in relation to masculinity and femininity as well as the application of nuanced diction in storytelling vis-à-vis biases and gendered roles etc. The conversation seeks to create a narrative focusing children’s literature that moves beyond the binary to celebrate inclusion and diversity by embracing individuality and disregarding stereotype.
The session will feature noteworthy names Baela Raza Jamil and Angela Joy known for their amazing work in this field of literature.
Baela Raza Jamil, CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) centre for education and consciousness, is a public policy specialist, innovator and an activist. She leads the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan, a citizens’ accountability learning initiative, and is the founder of the Children’s & Teachers Literature Festivals a nationwide social movement on learning for meaning and inclusion.
Talking about the topic, Baela remarked: “Children’s literature has emerged as a powerful tool in the construction of inclusive alternative narratives, explorations and critical thinking beyond model textbooks and narrow curriculum constructs that seek to homogenize in the name of unity, nationhood and imagined equity.”
Joining Baela in the conversation is the author of Black is a Rainbow Color, Angela Joy who was born and raised in Minneapolis, USA. Before graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota, Angela attended New York University and Spelman College. With a move to Los Angeles, CA, Angela traveled extensively as a background vocalist, also working in television and movie soundtracks. Black is a Rainbow Color is her first book.
Talking about her participation at the Women in Literature Festival 2021, Angela said: “Children’s literature has the amazing capacity to introduce subject matter in safe, concise, and entertaining ways. It gives language and permission to discuss (sometimes uncomfortable) topics with young people; building empathy, awareness, and acceptance along the way. Engaging with a good book about an experience/existence different than our own is the best catalyst for change that I know. Gatherings like Ananke’s Women in Literature Festival bring quality texts and ideas to light, inspiring us all to read and press on toward a more equitable and inclusive future.”
Ananke’s Women in Literature Festival 2021 features some of the most noteworthy names in the literary world is a celebration of the literary genius, creative journeys and lived artistic experiences of the female gender.
Through this festival, Ananke strives to not just celebrate creativity of female fiction and non-fiction writers, but to highlight female literary history and showcase – many a times – invisibilized women writers in cultural festival line-ups. The Women in Literature Festival plans to highlight how literature produced by women needs to be showcased, promoted and celebrated globally via translations, digital documentation and more.
Partnering with leading authors, literary & feminist entities and publishers including Zuka Books, Readomania, Seagull Books, Zubaan Books, the Gender Security Project, Authors Alliance, Ananke hopes to set a new standard in literary festivals where there is greater visibility of female literati as well as diversified conversation on inclusion.
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Ananke is a non-profit, digital platform empowering through awareness, advocacy and education. Launched in 2014 in Dubai UAE, the organization strives to trigger conversations on inclusion, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the digital realm. Breaking barriers to empower women, the organization is a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) nominee for 2019 and 2020. Recently, Ananke hosted the first ever digital Girl Summit across the MENA and Subcontinent regions with attendees from all over the world.
For more information, visit: https://www.anankemag.com
Ananke also publishes special editions on the ISSUU platform and can be viewed here.