Sister Vision Press

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Under the leadership of writer Makeda Silvera and artist Stephanie Martin, Sister Vision Press became the first publishing house in Canada devoted to publish writings of Black women and Women of Colour. Fueled by frustration and anger at being silenced by Canadian publishers, Sister Vision’s more than 50 publications gave voice to Caribbean, Asian, First Nations, African and mixed-race women.

Through its books, Sister Vision Press was able to explore the intersection of oppressions based on race and gender. “Our books challenge sexism and heterosexism in our respective communities and racism, bias and prejudice in Euro-Centric communities.” Sister Vision published oral history, theory, research, fiction, poetry and writing for children and young people. Some of its authors were long established, others just emerging. With this breadth of focus, Sister Vision acted as a cultural, political and literary force.

Martin and Silvera list as some of their successes the many anthologies they have published which have provided space to a large cross-section of women who might otherwise never have been in print. Their book Piece of my heart: a lesbian of colour anthology was a finalist in the American Library Association [Gay and Lesbian Book Award]. The very inside: an anthology of writings by Asian and Pacific Island lesbians and bisexual women was nominated for a prestigious American Book Award.

Sister Vision developed collaborative work with feminist women’s organizations in the Caribbean, Britain, Southern Africa, and India as well as in North America. One such collaborative effort with CAFRA (Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action) of Trinidad and Tobago resulted in the publishing of Creation fire: a CAFRA anthology of Caribbean women poets (1990). This book brought the poetry of Caribbean women in the Caribbean and the Diaspora together and included all the languages of the Caribbean – English, French, Creole, Papiemento, Dutch, Spanish and others.

In its fifteen years, Sister Vision built a strong and vibrant community of women of colour writers and a forceful voice in publishing.

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