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Special Report from Event with Author Shirley Langer Print E-mail

Shirley Langer's Anita's Revolution

On January 25th, 2013 acclaimed author Shirley Langer came to Vancouver to present her new book, “Anita’s Revolution”. Organized by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), the event was a chance for Shirley to present and read from her book, but also to talk about her own life experiences living in Cuba during the 1960’s which inspired the book’s creation.

 

The Book “Anita’s Revolution”

“Anita’s Revolution” chronicles the incredible journey of 15-year-old Anita, who became a ‘Brigadista’ one of over 100,000 young Cubans who answered Fidel’s call to eradicate illiteracy in Cuba by 1961. Evidently there is a lot of interest in the book and the events it draws from as over 60 people filled Joe’s Café’s Large Hall and Shirley sold-out of books by the end of the night and had to take orders to mail other copies.

The day previously, Shirley had also presented to an enthusiastic group of teenage women who are aspiring authors at a high school writing program.

The audience was treated to Shirley’s reminisces of living in Cuba after the triumph of the revolution, speaking about the enthusiasm of people who saw no limits to what they could accomplish together. She spoke of the millions of people who had been previously forgotten or ignored, but who now became protagonists worthy of millions of their own novels.

She also read a section of her book detailing Anita’s first meeting with the peasants she is to live and learn with. This gave the audience a better sense of the huge efforts made by everyone involved in the literacy campaign, and how the literacy Brigadistas taught while learning a lot about life in the countryside as well!

Audience members invited to become Brigadistas on the 2013 Che Guevara Brigade!

The event was MC’d by VCSC Coordinator Tamara Hansen. Tamara took the opportunity to let people know that if they were inspired by the story of Anita and the original “Brigadistas” of the Literacy Campaign, that they had their own opportunity to volunteer in Cuba this year. “If you want to become a ‘Brigadista’ like Anita, join us on the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba this year!” Participants in the event were clearly interested as over 50 Che Brigade brochures were quickly handed out and many signed-up to receive more information about the Che Brigade.

Throughout the event, the audience also had an opportunity to pepper Shirley with questions. Many people expressed admiration for what Cuba has accomplished, and wanted to know more about exactly how they did so much with so few material resources. Shirley answered specific questions, and also referred to her own motivations for writing the book, “I hope that people will see what good can be done within a country if there is the political and social will, and what youth is capable of if given the opportunity and confidence of their elders. Anita’s Revolution, above all, honours youth and celebrates the power of education to transform.”

When the official program finished with a huge applause for Shirley, she was not given a chance to rest as a long line-up of people waited patiently to ask further questions and have their books signed. Overall the event proved once again that the Cuban Revolution continues to interest and inspire a wide array of people in Vancouver and around the world.

 

 
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