Feminist writer seeks wider audience

April 17, 2017

When I think about it now, I believe I was the most confused and emotionally inarticulate about what my life was about when I was writing fiction.

I am so happy that I connected with my psychic side and began doing readings. I was able to get out of my own way and allow Spirit (or Spirits, in my case) to speak clearly through me.

It has just dawned on me, this second, that maybe if I could have done the same as a writer, it would have been much easier and a more passionate experience for me. It still could be so, who knows, I may some time get back to writing fiction fulltime.

Here is a profile written about me shortly after gynergy books/Ragweed Press published my book, Friends I Never Knew:

Winnipeg Free Press

Thursday, September 17, 1992

Feminist writer seeks wider audience

by Randal McIlroy

She’s a political writer, but for Tanya Lester politics always comes down to people, and storytelling is more effective than any party platform.

“Storytelling is important because it connects people on the heart level,” the Winnipeg author explained recently. “That may be the best way to reduce discrimination.”

The concept is served in Friends I Never Knew, published by Gynergy Books, the feminist imprint of the the Charlottetown-based Ragweed Press.

In the story, a woman named Tara takes a hiatus from Winnipeg and the local feminist scene for Cyprus, where she writes the stories of some of the remarkable women she has found in the movement.

Lester, 35, spent years in the movement, most prominently as administrative co-ordinator for,  the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women. In Cyprus she, too, pondered her frustrations with a movement that could stress solidarity but ignore personal stories.

“When disagreements arose we would just see the situation at hand; we didn’t know the background of the people we were working with.


“I think that tolerance comes from knowing where someone is coming from.”

That’s something Lester herself is considering. She is a feminist who so far has trusted to that community’s network of support, yet wants to reach a wider audience.

She writes political working-class fiction in a milieu that favors high art and the academic. Although published widely, she thinks she’s just beginning to find her own voice.

She concedes, for example, that the few males in the new book come off poorly — “They’re definitely background characters and they’re not fully developed, that’s for sure” — but says her new writing surpasses that stereotype.

After all, it has been seven years since she started writing Friends, including time away from the typewriter when she decided to have a child as a single parent. Her son, Luke, is now five.


Her publishers are confident she will find her market, too. The book has sold well sinces its May debut, said Gynergy’s Lee Fleming. With a promotional tour of Western Canada set for November, and with the book beginning to enjoy U.S. exposure through Gynergy’s distributors, Flemiing predicts the book with sell out its initial print run of 2,000 copies — no small achievement for a small publisher.

“She’s one of those writers who takes her craft very seriously,” Fleming enthused.

Born and raised in Victoria Beach, Lester started her career writing for the University of Winnipeg’s student publication The Uniter in the late ’70s. “Which in some ways explains why I’m quite a political writer,” Lester said. “The paper at that time was quite radical.”

A combination of media experience and run-ins with editors persuaded her in 1985 to publish and market her story collection, Dreams and Tricksters, on her own power, plugging into the network of women’s bookstores and sympathetic events.

Submitting her first novel manuscript to Gynergy ( a small and young publisher best known for Don’t is a Woman’ s Word, Elly Danica’s harrowing account of incest and recovery) acknowledged her desire to reach more people and also qualify for grant support from the Canada Council elsewhere.

Lester teaches creative writing through the U of W’s Continuing Education department.


To read more of the wide range of posts in this blog, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (available to purchase at amazon.com or from the author) as well at Dreams and Tricksters besides Women Rights/Writes. All of these books can be found in some library systems.

Tanya is a psychic, specializing in tea leaf reading, tarot, mediumship, etc. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime house sitter. For more on this, her website is at teareading.wordpress.com and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Her cell phone is 250-538-0086 and her email address is tealeaf.56@gmail.com