Prize-winning historian Naoíse Mac Sweeney delivers a captivating exploration of how Western Civilization the concept of a single cultural inheritance extending from ancient Greece to modern times – is a powerful figment of our collective imagination. An urgently needed emergent voice in big history, she offers a bold new account of Western history, real and imagined, through the lives of fourteen remarkable individuals. From Herodotus, a mixed-race migrant, to Phylis Wheatley, an enslaved African American who became a literary sensation; and from Gladstone, with a private passion for epic poetry, to the medieval Arab scholar Al-Kindi – the subjects are a mind-expanding blend of unsung heroes and familiar faces viewed afresh. Naoíse Mac Sweeney’s enthusiasm for history is refreshingly engaging and a delight to listen to.
One ordinary day, a caseworker from the Department of Children and Families knocked on the Hays family’s door to investigate an anonymous complaint about the upbringing of their transgender child. It was this knock, this threat, that began the family’s journey out of the Bible Belt but never far from the hate and fear resting at the nation’s core. Self-aware and intimate, A Girlhood asks us all to love better, not just for the sake of Hays’s child but for children everywhere enduring injustice and prejudice just as they begin to understand themselves. A Girlhood is a call to action, an ode to the community, a plea for empathy, and hope for a better future. A Girlhood is a love letter to a child who has always known exactly who she is–and who is waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. Carolyn Hays is an award-winning, critically acclaimed, bestselling author, who has chosen to publish to A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter under a pen name to protect the privacy of her family.
The incidental music in this edition is Hecate from the LP, Månens Hav by Swedish artist, Sofia Nystrand who uses the moniker Vargkvint. Growing up in the Swedish archipelago of Roslagen, she lived close by the harbour where ferries arrive from Finland, and her bedroom window offered a clear view out over the ocean. ‘Hav’ took its name from the Swedish for ‘the sea’, and though she lives in Stockholm now, its power and mythology remain a constant companion. “When I’m not close,” she confesses, “I feel a bit disoriented.” Månens Hav, you see, means ‘Oceans of the Moon’.