vanuatu-women-anthology‘How do we get more writers to tell the stories of contemporary Vanuatu, and not just around the fire or in the theatre, but in published stories that are read?’ asks one of the writers in this new anthology of writing from and about Vanuatu.

And how can we ensure contemporary and historical narratives contain women’s perspectives too?

We set out to collate an exciting anthology of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction (memoir and essay) that celebrate women’s voices and the experiences that have shaped a nation to commemorate Vanuatu’s 40th independence anniversary.

We are delighted with how this collection is shaping up! Our team – Yasmine Bjornum, Telstar Jimmy, Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen, Jane Kanas and Mikaela Nyman – has been overwhelmed by the interest and the wide range of wonderful writing we’ve received. We wish to thank everyone who submitted.

More than sixty years separates the youngest from the oldest writer. What the writers have in common is a sharp eye for detail, a love of language, a deep connection to Vanuatu, and a willingness to share their thoughts about ancestors and a colonial past, women’s daily struggles and joys, and their hopes for their children’s and their country’s future.

Our intention was to publish the anthology in 2020. What we could not have foreseen was the impact of a global pandemic and a devastating category five tropical cyclone (TC Harold) that swept across Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga. This has impacted editing, publication, printing and distribution. The expected date of publication (tbc) has had to be pushed out towards the end of the year.

We are looking forward to celebrating the release of an exciting collection of writing that commemorates a most extraordinary year in history!

Banner art: ‘Victory Dance’/‘Viktri Danis’ (2020) by Juliette Pita.

Design: Telstar Jimmy

Title:  Sista Stanap Strong: A Vanuatu Women’s Anthology (forthcoming)

Editors:  Mikaela Nyman and Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen