On Thursday 27th April between 12:30 and 2:30pm, GWL is delighted to be welcoming artist, human rights advocate and writer Fiona Macintosh in a very special Story Café as she shares with us a tale that she has utterly devoted herself to—Rosa of the Wild Grass, the Story of a Nicaraguan Family.
It is a gripping account of a true story chronicling the later half-decade of the small but mighty Central American republic. Macintosh weaves a fascinatingly intimate and deeply moving family narrative, brining to life the chaos, loss and triumph of personal and political events with such emotion and vividness that you will surely learn more about this little country’s history in these 260 pages than you ever could in a textbook.
The novel follows Rosa and three all-female generations of her family as they navigate and reflect on the extreme hardship of existence under the Somoza dictatorship and the carnage of the insurrection which ended it. Rosa and her family endure as they watch and feel the hope birthed by the 1979 Sandinista Revolution, and are crushed by the Revolution’s eventual end in the massacre and cruelty of the Contra War. Rosa emerges as a different woman into the years of neo-liberalism and subsequent retreat from much of the progressiveness achieved, and, like the rest of her family, struggles to keep hope, national pride and community spirit alive behind closed doors.
Intertwined with these larger, global-scale events, Rosa also gives us a raw insight into the more fascinatingly subtle plights of her people as we witness a region which is struggling with endemic alcoholism, domestic violence and the rise of drug cartels, country-wide literacy issues and unemployment figures, huge gaps in faith and wealth and attitudes to the war, but also the birth of health campaigns, trade unions, migration and, not least of all, a gender politics that highlights the strength of women’s networking, and the importance of their means of survival and co-operative ventures; with an emphasis placed on how vital the support of extended families and other women truly is.
Rosa of the Wild Grass is a dramatic and enthralling read, with Macintosh delivering a detailed, intelligent and loving description of a country in its death throes, but a people waiting to be reborn. If you’re interested in hearing more about the novel and the inspiration behind it and the strong women within it, what fascinates Macintosh so much about Nicaragua, or if you simply want to enjoy and afternoon of escapism with some tea and treats, then this is the Story Café for you!
This event is 16+ and open to all. There is no need to book. This event costs £2 full price and you can pay on the day. We offer subsidised and/or free places for students, people on a low income, unemployed or those in receipt of benefit/Friends of GWL.