On Wednesday 25 June we arrived at Bar Titania for a book launch of the unique variety.
To coincide with the release of her new novel On the Far Side There's a boy - which takes a reflective lens of the notion of womanhood, as it was in the 80s and how it is now. Part epistolary in form, and full of wonderful creative characters from the vibrant London eighties drag scene, as well as a cultural exposure of Sri Lankan turmoil from a child's eye, this novel explores what womanhood is within a multi-cultural diverse cross spectrum of social constructs.
Through her own support received from an online community, the Gateway Women, Paula explained how she has come to terms with not having her own children and instead turned the journey into the novel that was being launched on the evening.
To engage the attendees directly with some of the issues written about in protagonist Martine's journey to become a mother (after a selection of wine and nibbles), a range of women (generally childess for a number of reasons) were encouraged by Paula to take to the streets on a peaceful demonstration of women as other than mothers, using the simple statistic that one in five women over 45 are childless, and that number is growing closer to one in four. However they are an invisible minority often when it comes to recorded legacies.
Paula had put together a series of children's shoes, each containing a gift, to hand to women who were willing to take part in the conversation of the demonstration.
Interestingly, even amongst the streets of one of the most forward-thinking cities in the world, there was some confusion about why we would want to celebrate the "otherness" of women and their non mothering roles.
It wasn't necessarily straight forward and openly received - but that is the purpose of raising awareness and encouraging debate. However, all the shoes were distributed and one celebrity encounter on the route with Jonathan Ross gave hope that there is understanding out in society at large.