Pownal Street Press is honoured to publish Dr. Sharifa Sharif’s On the Edge of Being.
“I felt connected to the street girls, as if our silent smiles spoke a thousand words between us.”
Sometimes painful and at other times shocking, the stories in On the Edge of Being are still hopeful. The world that Afghan women inhabit in this memoir illuminates the split between body and voice — a split that has wrought a devastating impact on the women of Afghanistan.
The daughter of a progressive Afghan governor, Sharifa Sharif observes from an early age that life for women — both within and beyond the walls of their homes — is neither simple nor fair. As she navigates the rocky terrain of what it means to be a woman in Afghan society, Sharif candidly connects her own troubling experiences with those of girls and women around her: those who appeal to her father for justice, those who work as servants in her friends’ homes, and those of her own mother, whose inability to alter the restrictions in her own life evokes both anger and empathy.
From her childhood travels through the poorest provinces in Afghanistan to life as a school teacher and an immigrant student in North America, Sharifa strives to define her identity through her experiences of marginality — and learns to reclaim her body and her self.
Cover for On the Edge of Being, designed by Jordan Beaulieu.
About Dr. Sharifa Sharif
Dr. Sharifa Sharif was born and raised in Afghanistan, where she and her family lived in many urban and rural areas. Dr. Sharif studied Pashto Literature at the University of Kabul and, later, Comparative Literature at University of Illinois, in the United States, where she became immersed in issues of feminism, justice and freedom. Since then, she has become a dual Afghan-Canadian citizen and has worked as a writer and teacher at Seneca and Centennial College. She has also worked as a counselor for abused women, a cultural advisor, a radio host, and a politician. Living in the Greater Toronto Area since 1991, Dr. Sharif works as a community activist and cultural advisor on Afghanistan. As an author, Dr. Sharif continues to produce original work, and has recently published a collection of short stories in Pashto called Chaa w Chaa Weyel, meaning ‘So and So was Saying,” a line from a regional song in Pashto. This collection has been well received by young women inside the country and will launch online in September 2023. She is currently working on another book of short stories in English which mostly tells stories of women’s resilience and defying migration inside the family and outside in a larger society, both in the country and in exile.
On the Edge of Being
On Sale: April 23, 2024
About Pownal Street Press:
Pownal Street Press is Charlottetown’s newest independent publishing house. Inspired in name by the iconic Charlottetown street, a charming mix of modern and historical, Pownal Street Press is symbolic of the evolution of the publishing industry. The mission of Pownal Street Press is to discover, amplify and empower storytellers, and seeks to broaden the publishing landscape with a diverse collection of topics and tones.