In times of tension and conflicting narratives, stories can be a powerful tool to facilitate understanding and compassion – as well as being a welcome distraction.
This power has been harnessed in anthology form in the recently released book Sweatshop Women: Volume Two. This collection of short stories and poems is written and produced entirely by women from diverse cultural backgrounds living in Sydney, most from Western Sydney. The 22 writers featured come from Indigenous, African, Arab, Asian and Pasifika backgrounds.
The book’s editor, Winnie Dunn, a Tongan-Australian writer and community arts worker from Mount Druitt, believes that art and writing are important tools in the fight against sexism, racism and Islamophobia.
“In this current climate where we are seeing the horrendous rise of White supremacist and far-right groups around the world, the stories and experiences of culturally diverse women can help challenge and transform people’s negative opinions and prejudices,” says Dunn.
The anthology, made possible because of funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, features a foreword by Australian writer Ruby Hamad, author of White Tears/Brown Scars, and features portraits of all 22 contributing writers by Archibald Prize shortlisted artist and domestic violence activist, Amani Haydar.
Sweatshop is a Western Sydney based literacy movement. This anthology is part of its ongoing push to bring more stories from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to the forefront of Australian literature.
You can purchase Sweatshop Women: Volume Two from the Sweatshop website for $19.95, with no extra charges for shipping and handling. While you're there, check out Volume One, which was launched at the 2019 Sydney Writers’ Festival.