Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female
June 14, 2022
218 PAGES | ISBN 978-1-989496-53-4
In this wide-ranging collection of essays Tanis MacDonald walks the reader down many paths, pointing out the sights, exclaiming over birds, sharing stories and asking questions about just who gets to walk freely through our cities, parks and wilderness. Deer move mysteriously through these essays, knowing just when they vanish from sight, as do predators, both human and animal. She walks to begin to understand the place she now calls home in Southern Ontario, catalogues the fauna around her in FaunaWatch and continues walking through illness. From a child spotting a snowy owl on her way to school in Winnipeg, to a young woman watching her own distinctive walk be imitated in an acting class, to a worried daughter helping her mother relearn how to walk after a bad fall on a busy road, MacDonald shares how walking has shaped her life and the lives of many others. Wry, smart, political and lyrical, these essays share the joy of walking as well its danger and uncovers the promise it offers – of healing, of companionship and of understanding.
"Tanis MacDonald walks her world as 'the ever-shifting all' of her, curious, wise, witty, thoughtful and engaging. Meander with this fine writer in the real and the imaginary; prepare to be provoked, inspired, gutted and joyful. Straggle is a marvel of a book: follow its fascinating trails." – Lorri Neilsen Glenn, author of Following the River: Traces of Red River Women
"Straggle is a poetic and illuminating collection of essays on the various paths that are open and closed to women – some dangerous, others freeing; some excluding us and others purportedly for everyone. I learned a lot from Tanis MacDonald’s wide-ranging and singular perspectives on everything from roadkill to stalkers to new ways of looking at birds. I held my breath while reading this book and at other times I laughed out loud. We should all be so lucky to have MacDonald as our strolling companion." – Emily Urquhart, author of The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father, and Me
STRAGGLE: ADVENTURES IN WALKING WHILE FEMALE BY TANIS MACDONALD (Michael Greenstein, the Miramichi Reader, 15/01/2023)
"A flaneuse for all seasons, MacDonald treks across much territory, walking the talk, and talking the walk. [...] She writes through looking glasses, leaves, and grass, holding ground, lines, and lives of daughters who converge in elegiac and witty ways."
Kim Fahner : Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female, by Tanis MacDonald (Kim Fahner, periodicities, 02/08/2022)
"So much of what Tanis MacDonald’s Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female does is make a reader think about how identity, personal agency, self-reflection, oppression, gender, violence, equity, diversity, and colonization can all be tied to the physical act of women walking, speaking, and taking up their rightful space."
Step by step (Gail Perry, Winnipeg Free Press, 25/06/2022)
"This contemplative rendition on walking stands apart from what has come before it — books on fitness, pilgrimage, adventure. It is about walking the best one can in the circumstances. It is relatable and triumphant."
Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female (Stacey May Fowles, Quill & Quire, June 2022)
"Bringing her keen poet’s eye to the essay form, her approach is lyrical and wide-ranging, examining the privileges and exclusions of the simple stroll, and asks us to consider who gets to navigate the world freely and who does not."
Making space for walking, a Waterloo author talks about her book called Straggle: Adventures in Walking (Nicole Martin, Fresh Air with Jason D’Souza, 24/09/2022)
Guest host Nicole Martin speaks with author Tanis MacDonald about her book which is a series of essays about the experience of walking.
E295 with TANIS MACDONALD (Jamie Tennant, Get Lit, 14/07/2022)
Jamie Tennant is joined by author Tanis MacDonald to discuss her collection of essays, Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female.
"An Act of Freedom and a Precarious Practice" Tanis MacDonald on the Politics and Culture of Taking a Walk (Tanis MacDonald, Open Book, 13/07/2022)
"There are a lot of books written about walking, but I wanted to zero in on the paradox of walking as an act of freedom and walking as a precarious practice for women and other people whose safety is sometimes threatened. "
Pedestrian Crossing: Recommended Reads About Walking (Tanis MacDonald, 49th Shelf, 23/06/2022)
Tanis puts together a recommended reading list.
Tanis MacDonald (Eden Mills Writers Festival, 28/06/2022)
"I hope that readers begin to challenge their assumptions about the spaces they pass through and how they do it: who is allowed, who is safe, and who might be 'locomoting' differently than themselves."
Episode 5 | Tanis MacDonald (Claire Tacon, Parallel Careers, 27/05/2022)
Tanis MacDonald encourages us to challenge the voices in the canon that do not satisfy, and examines her changing relationship with both walking and art.
Walking, talking and the spectre of stalking (Tanis MacDonald, Winnipeg Free Press, 18/06/2022)
Tanis shares an excerpt of her new book.
Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2022 Nonfiction Preview (49th Shelf, 14/02/2022)
Tanis's new book makes this list of the 49th Shelf's most anticipated non-fiction!
39 works of Canadian nonfiction to watch for in spring 2022 (CBC Books, 19/01/2022)
Tanis's book makes this list of works of non-fiction to watch for in Spring 2022!
Tanis MacDonald, "Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female" - Ricochet (Winnipeg Thin Air, 11/09/2022)
Tanis has made a series of videos available based on her events at the Winnipeg Thin Air festival.
About the Author
Tanis MacDonald is an essayist, poet, professor and free-range literary animal. She is the host of the podcast Watershed Writers, and the author of Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City. Her essay “Mondegreen Girls” won the Open Seasons Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2021. She identifies as a bad birder, and lives near Ose’kowáhne in southwestern Ontario as a grateful guest on traditional Haudenosaunee territory.
Other Titles By This Author
Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City (2018)