Women in a World at WarFront Cover

ISBN: 9780889224834 | paperback / softback

$24.95 | 320 pages | Pub. Date: 2003
6.00 W × 9.00 H × 1 D inches
Non-Fiction | Backlist | Bisac: SOC028000
ISBN 13: 9780889224834 | Rights: WORLD

Women in a World at War
Seven Dispatches from the Front
By Madeleine Gagnon
Translated by Phyllis Aronoff & Howard Scott


In 1999, poet and novelist Madeleine Gagnon undertook to document the experience of women in the many war zones at the end of a “century of ashes” through their own eyes and in their own words. Her record of those encounters boldly confronts the harshest realities of and asks the most difficult questions about not only the horrors of war, but also the quest for justice, the experience of love and compassion, the inextinguishable hope for the future, and the will to live—the humanity that endures against all odds.

Travelling to Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Gagnon talked with women of all ages and social classes: those who fought side-by-side with men in wars of independence; who suffered terrible abuse in war; who lost their men, their homes, their children, their entire families; women working to heal the survivors, and those involved in different peace movements. She explores why women themselves have not found a way to put an end to war, why they continue, from generation to generation, to raise sons who make war and oppress women, what stake women themselves might have in war. And she dares to look within herself for the answers to these questions and for the roots of all conflict, war, and destruction. Elle magazine of France described this book as “sublime … a long, strange poem that recalls the work of such giants of literary journalism as V.S. Naipaul and Ryszard Kapuscinski.

"Women in a World at War, by Quebec writer Madeleine Gagnon, is an extraordinary work." – Quill and Quire

By Madeleine Gagnon

Madeleine Gagnon has made a mark on Quebec literature as a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Born in Amqui, a little village in the Matapedia Valley on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, she decided at the age of twelve to be a writer, and after her early education with the Ursuline nuns, went on to study literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis at the Université de Montréal, the Sorbonne, and the Université d’Aix-en-Provence, where she received her doctorate. Since 1969, she has published over thirty books while at the same time teaching literature in several Quebec universities.

Read more about Madeleine Gagnon


Translated by Phyllis Aronoff

Phyllis Aronoff translates fiction, non-fiction and poetry from French, solo or with co-translator Howard Scott, with whom she won the Governor General’s Award for translation in 2018 for Descent Into Darkness, by Edem Awumey. Among her recent translations is Message Sticks, by Innu poet Joséphine Bacon. In addition to literature, she has translated widely in the humanities. The Wanderer, her translation of La Québécoite, by Régine Robin, received the Jewish Book Award for fiction in 1998. Her co-translations with Howard Scott include four books by Madeleine Gagnon and Two Solicitudes, conversations between Victor-Lévy Beaulieu and Margaret Atwood. Scott and Aronoff received the Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award (2002) for The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701, by Gilles Havard, and several of their translations have been finalists for various other awards.

Read more about Phyllis Aronoff


Translated by Howard Scott

Howard Scott is a Montreal literary translator who works with fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. His translations include works by Madeleine Gagnon, science-fiction writer Élisabeth Vonarburg, and Canada’s Poet Laureate, Michel Pleau. Scott received the Governor General’s Literary Award for his translation of Louky Bersianik’s The Euguelion. The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701, by Gilles Havard, which he co-translated with Phyllis Aronoff, won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award. A Slight Case of Fatigue, by Stéphane Bourguignon, another co-translation with Phyllis Aronoff, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Howard Scott is a past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada.

Read more about Howard Scott


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news | 2015-10-16
As Always is launched – and nominated for a QWF award!

…and so we ended up working together on Women in a World at War (2003). We followed that up with My Name is …