Literature for Life Revamped!

The Womenz Wordz blog continues to give thanks to Literature for Life, a non-profit organization for young mothers as they have supported our Writing Circle, our Reading Circle and the blog project. We are happy to share their success as they’ve recently redesigned their website offering accessible information, blog posts, photos and video detailing their program.

Plus, L4L has launched their own YouTube channel and has featured our very own Rootz Kizzy and Miss Cola with their children. Check out the videos below and hear how Literature for Life has impacted our ladies.

Here’s Kizzy:

And here’s Nicola:


Meeting the author of “The Bite of the Mango” Mariatu Kamara

Member of WomenwithWords program posing with Mariatu Kamara (centre in red) after her book reading

Back in March, members from the WomenwithWords program were invited to an afternoon reading of The Bite of the Mango (2008) with author Mariatu Kamara and co-writer Susan McClelland. The Bite of the Mango was one of the first books we read for reading circle.

Mariatu Kamara is a survivor of the war in Sierra Leone. Her memoir, The Bite of the Mango is a remarkable account of her experiences living in her war-torn country. At the age of 12, Mariatu’s village was invaded by rebels where she was raped, beaten and both her hands were cut off.

The 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone began in 1991, when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) challenged the government, and invaded villages throughout the West- African nation. Thousands of civilians including women and children were tortured, raped and maimed during this time. Only a few lucky and resourceful victims were able to seek refuge abroad.

Mariatu, a well-dressed young woman with fine braids, spoke with a quite demeanor yet delivered a powerful message.  Journalist Susan McClelland accompanied Mariatu to the event and is the writer responsible to chronicling Mariatu’s story. Ms. McClelland read an excerpt from the book while Mariatu answered all the questions from the attentive audience.

The room was filled with young women all part Literature for Life’s “Women with Words” reading program, staff members and volunteers. Across Toronto “Women with Word” gathers pregnant young women and parenting mother together to read and discuss powerful stories, including Mariatu Kamara’s The Bite of the Mango.

The circled chairs and child-friendly environment made the reading event intimate, comfortable and interactive. Many audience members prepared questions beforehand and Mariatu, with patience and grace answered every one.

The conversation touched on a variety of topics ranging from the loss of Mariatu’s son, to her experience begging on the streets of Sierra Leon and her attitudes towards homelessness in Toronto, from her constant communication with her family back home to joking about adjusting to Canadian winters. When asked about the advice she’d give to young people, Mariatu encouraged people to move forward. To always move forward.

See more about The Bite of the Mango HERE

Call for Writing Submissions!

Womenz Wordz blog is always on the look out for new poetry, stories, drama and lyrics. If you have something fresh to share with us, submit your piece to Womenz Wordz
*Note that the editors of Womenz Wordz blog have to right to reject any work that is inappropriate or offensive in nature. Also be patient, as it may take a few weeks to get your writing up on the blog.*

Call for Art Submissions!

Womenz Wordz is looking for talented art pieces to be showcased on our blog. Anything goes! If you have something to share with us, please submit to Womenz Wordz with "artwork" in the subject.


If you have any sick tunes, videos or other links you would like to share with us, whether related to something you read on the blog or a link that you think we should showcase, send the URL to Womenz Wordz with "links" in the subject.