Spanning the globe and 1,000 years, Jocelyn profiles extraordinary women whose writing offers fascinating insight into their respective places and times.
Of the 11 female writers profiled in this collective biography, the only name most readers are likely to recognize is pioneering investigative journalist Nellie Bly. Jocelyn begins with Sei Shonagon, whose Pillow Book offers vivid insights into 10th-century Japanese imperial court life. The letters of Margaret Catchpole, a convicted thief, provide the earliest record of white settlement in Australia. Doris Pilkington Garinara's Rabbit-Proof Fence and other works explore the terrible consequences white settlement had for Australia's aboriginal people. The intrepid explorer Mary Kingsley chronicled her amazing adventures in West Africa. Other subjects include Ada Blackjack, the sole survivor of a disastrous Arctic expedition, and Dr. Dang Thuy Tram, a North Vietnamese doctor who chronicled in a diary her ordeal treating the sick and wounded in a jungle field hospital. Jocelyn wisely gives readers a sense of these writers' unique voices through generous quotations of their works. Her admiration and enthusiasm for these women is evident, as is her detailed knowledge of the places and times in which they lived.
The title refers to disparaging comments made by Nathaniel Hawthorne in a letter to his editor; Hawthorne was convinced female writers had nothing worthy to say, but this collection consistently proves him wrong. (notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 14 & up)