Choosing the Island by Mary McDonald Rissanen

Choosing the Island “through the warp and woof of time”

by Mary McDonald-Rissanen

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Mary McDonald-Rissanen recently released her new book, Choosing the Island “through the warp and woof of time” Women who made twentieth century Prince Edward Island their home.

The book explores, analyzes and records the lives of five immigrant women—Elsie Sark, Elaine Harrison, Joan Colborne, Janina Zielinski, and Erica Rutherford—and their rapport with their Island.

The women’s diaries, poetry, paintings, letters, autobiographies and biographies provided a point of departure for studying their lives and their action on numerous fronts. For example, the arts, their community engagement, gardening and teaching—all of which reveal how they became part of the Island fabric.

Island born McDonald-Rissanen grew up in Summerside, and studied in Kinkora and Charlottetown before moving to Finland. Since the 1970s she has lectured and researched language and literature at the University of Tampere where she earned her doctorate in Comparative Literature.

The book cover features Super by  Hilda Woolnough, Private Collection PEI (Courtesy of John Hopkins) and the cover design is by Marko Nenonen.

Copies are available at Eptek Arts & Culture Centre and Seaside Books in Summerside, Indigo in Charlottetown, and at Murphy’s Pharmacy in Kensington.