She I Dare Not Name
A spinster's meditations on lifeDonna Ward
4 November 2021
Published by Allen & Unwin
Astonishing. Luminous. A book about being human.
She I Dare Not Name is a compelling collection of fiercely intelligent, deeply intimate, lyrical reflections on the life of a woman who stands on the threshold between two millennia. Both manifesto and confession, this moving memoir explores the meaning and purpose Donna Ward discovered in a life lived entirely without a partner and children.
The book describes what it is like to live on the edge of a world built in the shape of couples and families. Rippling through these pages is the way a spinster – or a bachelor, or any of us for that matter – contends with the prejudice and stigma of being different.
With courage and astounding honesty Donna uncovers the challenge of living with more solitude than anticipated and what it is like to walk the road through midlife and beyond alone. And she reveals how she found home and discovered herself within it.
Funny, sharp, wise and wry, She I Dare Not Name shows how reading saved this spinster’s life, and how friends and writing and walking brought a contentment and sense of achievement she never thought possible.
‘With a devastatingly clear-eyed honesty, the word Ward dares to name is “spinster”, and this meditative collection of essays spin their own spell, making a deep dive into the world of female solitude in all its guises. She lays it out like a calm tarot reading: feminism, courage, silence, loneliness, grief, recovery and the power of the generative idea, as well as all the labels that come with carving out your own path of self-definition and self-determination.’ – Cate Kennedy, author of The World Beneath