Purple Dandelion is the autobiography of Farida Sultana, published in 2011.
Farida is the founder of Shakti, an organisation set up to support ethnic women experiencing domestic violence, among other issues. She and Sheila Nair were writing Farida’s autobiography when the manuscript came to me to read. But like Samson Sahele’s book, this was no simple editing job. There were two big issues – how these women were going to tell this exceptional story, and how, given their extremely busy lives, they were going to find any time to work on it.
At one stage they came to Wellington for a week and lived in a small very run-down cottage we had, where they had nothing to do except write. Every day we’d get together and go over what they had done, and talk about what was needed, and how it could be achieved.
Over several years the book went through major rewriting several times. Finally Purple Dandelion was published by Exisle in 2011. In that year I chaired a session at the Auckland Writers’ Festival in which Farida and Sheila spoke. I knew this book so well, and for the three of us to talk about it frankly together in that public forum was a very moving thing.
You can buy this book at www.exislepublishing.co.nz Part of the proceeds goes to promoting women’s refuges.