Tuesday, December 7, 2010

IWSS faculty Jacqueline St. Joan publishes novel

Award- winning writer and editor, lawyer and Metro State adjunct faculty member, Jacqueline St. Joan recently published her first novel, My Sisters Made of Light. This is a fictional account of the extraordinary courage of ordinary women living in the closed society that is contemporary Pakistan. It explores the country’s myriad cultures—from the mystical Sindhis in the South to the noble Pathans in the Northwest Province, the Punjabis in the East and the Balochis of the West.

“This novel is a means for Western readers to learn about Pakistan in a broad sense and at the same time relish the story of a hero's journey, a love outside the boundaries, a travelogue of a diverse, struggling country,” St. Joan stated in a recent email. Though it started out as a non-fiction story, as St. Joan did more research on the lives of women in Pakistan the story transformed. The process took some time, with the re-writes and publicizing. However, she added, it has been worth it.

“At last this story has its own life,” she stated. “It's a cliche, but it is like raising a child who can finally find her own way in this world. People will treat her well, or they won't. She will overcome, or she won't. You can only hope that the thing itself has the stamina to survive and thrive.”

St. Joan was inspired to write the book after meeting a “remarkable” Pakistani woman, who taught in that country for 25 years and who made efforts to prevent honor crimes against her students. The woman, Dr. Tahira Khan, authored the book, Beyond Honour, and also taught classes at Metro State. Kahn commented that St. Joan did a good job blending reality with fiction, telling “stories of realities seen in Pakistani newspapers every other day.”

St. Joan is now the Public Education Chair of the Asian American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights, a non-governmental organization in the U.S. that works to support Pakistani efforts to end human rights violations. Half of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to SOIL, a grass-roots community organization in Pakistan, to pay for the construction of a safe shelter for abused women and children. Copies of My Sisters Made of Light are available at The Tattered Cover, Press53 http://www.press53.com/ and the Auraria Campus Bookstore. To read more about the book, click here.

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