2020 Longlist

The Red Word


2020 Longlist

As her sophomore year begins, Karen enters into the back-to-school revelry, particularly at Gamma Beta Chi. When she wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, she gets a crash course in the state of feminist activism on campus. The frat known as GBC is notorious, she learns, nicknamed “Gang Bang Central” and a prominent contributor to a list of rapists compiled by female students. Despite continuing to party there and dating one of the brothers, Karen is equally seduced by the intellectual stimulation and indomitable spirit of the Raghurst women, who surprise her by wanting her as a housemate and recruiting her into the upper-level class of a charismatic feminist mythology scholar they all adore but the war between the houses will exact a terrible price.

About the Author

Sarah Henstra’s latest novel is The Red Word . Her previous novel Mad Miss Mimic is an historical tale for young adults. A new YA novel, We Contain Multitudes, is coming in Spring 2019. Sarah is a professor of English literature at Ryerson University and now lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Librarian’s Comments

The Red Word by Canadian writer Sarah Henstra is a grippingly good read and critical novel. The story follows Karen Huls through her sophomore year at a university in the 1990s. Karen moves into a communal house where she encounters fraternity-hating, ultra-feminist women whom Karen distinguishes herself from by dating a notorious fraternity member. At times this book is a fun read with themes that are timely, as Henstra raises questions and offers critical insight into rape culture, gender power dynamics, and the experience of living as a woman today. Winner of the 2018 Governor General’s Award. Vancouver Public Library, Canada



ECW Press


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