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Thursday, 29 June 2017

PAUL'S PICKS [Book Reviews of Publications by Local Authors]: "A Resilient Life: One Woman's Refugee Journey" by Mariam Issa

Visit Paul Karp's Poetry Website at:

 [Book Reviews of Publications Penned by Our Community's Local Authors]

Mentone Public Library is committed towards promoting local history and the local literary talent of the City of Kingston and surrounding municipalities; the Cities of Bayside, Glen Eira and Port Phillip in the Bayside region of Melbourne Australia.

Mentone Public Library is pleased to have recruited Paul "Percussion & Poet" Karp to source and review the local literary pearls of publications you might be yet to discover.

This month Paul's book review pick is:

by Mariam Issa

 Mariam Issa's 2012 autobiography is a vivid account of her life, from a simple, largely idyllic early family life with her mother (Hooya) and siblings growing up in Somalia and coastal Kenya. Her school years kindled her love of reading and her thirst for knowledge. The epic-scale wedding preparation, then celebration, of firstly her sister's arranged marriage, followed by her own wedding, are entertainingly detailed. She briefly enjoyed a more prosperous life starting a family when Somalia became war-ravaged and she fled with her children by overcrowded boat to Kenya and became a refugee. Ever thankful for the providence of gaining an Australian visa she embraced the challenges and greatly appreciated the rewards of a new life for her family. Mariam's story is a rewarding read by a bayside author from a unique cultural perspective.



We were privileged to have Mariam speak at Mentone Public library 
on Saturday, 3rd August 2013.
Mariam spoke candidly about her traumatic experiences of oppression and forging a new life in Australia. 
Despite the hardships earnestly presented, Mariam was anything but a beaten down woman.
Before us stood an inspiring woman emulating empowerment, strength, warmth and love through her daring to be open and vulnerable.

Miriam's biographical brief on her website describes her odyssey to emancipation as follows:

"Mariam Issa arrived in Melbourne from her Somali homeland in 1998 with her husband, four children and a fifth on the way, and little knowledge of Australian life. Today she has established herself in Melbourne as an inspirational public speaker, author, storyteller, intercultural facilitator, dedicated community builder, social cohesion champion and social entrepreneur.
In 2012 Mariam launched her autobiography - A Resilient Life- which shares her refugee experience and story of determination to persevere despite immense hardships she faced growing up in a culture and nation dominated by clans and tribalism, patriarchy and superstition, to then overcome the vast cultural differences and challenges of inclusion in Australian life.
In that same year she co-founded and incorporated the not-for-profit organisation and community garden RAW (Resilient Aspiring Women) in the backyard of her own home in Brighton, where the Australian government settled her and her family. Forged from Issa’s inspirational trust and determination to serve and build community around her RAW aims to support women’s resilience through intercultural dialogue and exchange faciliated by activities of storytelling, cooking and gardening.
Mariam continues to share her experience and commitment to improving refugee’s lives by sitting on the board of Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, serving as an ambassador for Refugee Council of Australia and a Director at Family Peace. She is an International Women's Forum member and co-founder of Space2b, an art and design based social enterprise established to support asylum seekers, refugees and newly arrived migrants. She was recently awarded the Ambassador of Peace award from the Universal Peace Federation - in recognition of her on-going work promoting social cohesion amongst Melbourne’s culturally diverse population.  She is regularly invited to speak to different community groups and featured in national Australian TV, radio and press."


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