Women Wide Awake

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Women Wide Awake is a collection of stories, poems, and visual art exploring folklore from the region of Sindh, Pakistan. This multi-genre book features stories of women, witches, sea monsters, and mystical saints, accompanied by art and poetry. Collectively they explore themes that have resonated with people for centuries—acts of courage, strength, defiance, and love. Two sisters build a labyrinthine palace to test their suitors . . . a woman swims across a treacherous river at night to meet her forbidden lover . . . a bartendress makes a grave mistake. These folktales have persisted across generations and national boundaries through ritual storytelling and song. The sculptures were created using reclaimed materials: sari fabric, wedding invitations, flowers, shells, and animal bones.

“Into the face of eco-catastrophe, we find magic woven into these fabulist Sindhi tales, a multi-genre feast for the senses, transporting us into dimensions and textures rich with symbols. Women Wide Awake reminds us of the enduring power of story, to illuminate and to heal.”
—Renée Sarojini Saklikar, award-winning poet and author of the epic fantasy in verse series, THOTJBAP

Women Wide Awake is a book, but it is also a woven fabric. From one perspective, the strands are storytelling, poetry, collage, and sculpture, and from another, oral research, imagination, and revisioning. Through each of these lenses, it is a compelling and moving work. But the one that awes me is the weaving together of a folklore across the distance of migration; the material that could not come in suitcases or boxes, Nimra and Manahil Bandukwala have gathered and carried home.”
—Sadiqa de Meijer, author of Leaving Howe Island and Alfabet/Alphabet: A Memoir of a First Language

“The visual elements of this book are beautiful physical embodiments and documentations of our collective histories and stories. The materials used to create these works—old wedding invitations, dried flowers, fabric from the artists’ grandmother’s saris—hold within themselves their own databases of memories and stories. A powerful way to tangibly and emotionally connect us to our past, present and future.”
—Misha Japanwala, artist and fashion designer

$13.99$29.95

Publication Date: September 2023

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-77415-106-8
Page size: 5.75″ x 8.75″
118 pages

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77415-107-5

Photo of Nimra and Manahil Bandukwala

Manahil Bandukwala (she/her), right, is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of MONUMENT, and many chapbooks. She enjoys working collaboratively, and in addition to Reth aur Reghistan, frequently collaborates with other writers, musicians, and artists in Canada. She holds an MA in English from the University of Waterloo and in 2023, was selected as a Writer’s Trust Rising Star by Shani Mootoo. manahilbandukwala.com.

Nimra Bandukwala (she/her), left, is a visual artist and maker of crafts using foraged and found materials. More recently, she has been integrating earth pigments and natural dyes into her practice while exploring the stories and histories behind these materials. She is a recipient of arts grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Nimra has facilitated community-engaged workshops with folks of all ages and abilities in schools and community-based settings. nimrabandukwala.com; Instagram @nimrabandukwala.art