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Our Voices

LiisBeth & Have Merged

Photo of two cats, one driving with paws on the wheel, both looking concerned about the road ahead!
The road ahead! Collage by pk mutch/Canva

Word doesn’t always get around evenly, so in case you missed it, here’s the scoop!

In April 2023, LiisBeth Media, a leading feminist media publication focused on feminist enterprise practice merged with, Canada’s longest running (founded, on April 18, 2001) online, award-winning, lefty, independent, community-driven news outlet.

Since then, we have been on quite a journey. But lovin’ every minute! Mergers, or in this case, mind-melds between two indie, under-capitalized entities with long to-do lists is like travelling on a cow path versus a super highway.  We are diligently taking it one kilometre at a time. 


Cofounded by Tonya Surman (Centre for Social Innovation), Mark Surman (Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation) and Judy Rebick (Canadian feminist activist, journalist) in 2001, is one of the first digital journalism organizations in Canada, and the first to incorporate as non-profit. has been at the forefront of reporting on national politics with a credible progressive lens that centres on issues of social movements, labour, and grassroots activism. Feminist journalism has always been part of the editorial focus. With LiisBeth in the house, their coverage of the feminist economy will increase. 

On LiisBeth

LiisBeth was launched in 2015 by pk mutch and grew to serve and inform over 30,000 unique annual readers and 2700 newsletter subscribers. The media enterprise also co-launched the Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum, the Feminist City Walk and sponsored feminist initiatives like VenusFest and The Don’t You Want Me Campaign.  The goal of the feminist media upstart was to raise awareness and interest in the feminist enterprise space, support feminist enterprises in whatever form, and connect feminist entrepreneurs globally. 

LiisBeth and began working together in 2021. It was soon clear that coming together would benefit both readership communities. 

On the Merger

pk mutch, founder and publisher of LiisBeth is excited about how this “exit in community” will evolve. 

“The LiisBeth board and team are all super proud of this merger which took a lot of care, thought and planning for a year to bring to a close.”

photo of two drag queens performing in a backyard.
LiisBeth's Love and Liberation Fest held Aug 26th celebrating our transition. Drag Performers: Gay Jesus (left) and Diana (rigth).

The overarching goal? Continue to invest in great feminist economy reporting and bring these ideas and stories to a larger, all gender audience. Plus, bring more feminist enterprise content, to more people; strengthening and amplifying our collective culture making work.”

Mutch adds “To be clear. We did not “sell” LiisBeth.  LiisBeth is a community and a living system. You can’t sell a living community. But you can successfully bring communities together when everyone involved cares about the same things.  It’s an exit in the community–versus an exit of economic extraction.”

To find out more, and meet the team, we invite you to watch the two-minute video (above) which explains how it will all work. 

What’s Next for pk?

This is the third time mutch has transitioned an enterprise she created with friends and aligned supporters.

“My relationship with LiisBeth was a loving one. And it’s hard to put your lover into the arms of another. But like sci-fi writer  Octavia Butler says, “What you change, changes you. Change is the only constant. God is Change.”  When it’s clear there is a new and better path forward for your enterprise and the ecosystem connected to it, you have to get out of the way. Liisbeth needed a bigger mother tree to nourish and grow it from here.”

pk mutch plans to focus on teaching, writing and nourishing her other enterprise, Highwire Collective, which has been starving for attention in the last two years.

“I can’t help but seed and build out ventures. I love creating. I believe revolutionary feminist and post-capitalist enterprise work is what all entrepreneurs should be learning about today. It’s a niche form of political and economic norm-busting form of activism. It’s also a deeply creative, transformative craft. I am thinking of going super dark for a year to open up more blank space. I want to plunge into Mariana Trench of post-capitalist economics and new socialism conversation and learn how to put theory into practice at an enterprise level.”

What’s Next for All of Us?

Over the next several months, pk mutch, Kim Elliot, publisher of and the team will continue to work behind the scenes to develop and launch a new editorial plan and strategy to lift up and amplify feminist economy writing and reporting.  

One of the first initiatives executed right out of the gate is the integration of a weekly  LiisBeth fieldnote into’s weekly roundup. 

image of's newsletter format with LiisBeth dispatch included's weekly newsletter with new section for LiisBeth's dispatch.

In the meantime, as work behind the scenes continues, all of LiisBeth’s seven years of content and archives will remain live on this site.  There are over 480 articles here to explore. 

You will begin to see more changes on our home pages over time.  

Meanwhile, note that our monthly newsletter has ceased production. 

All queries are now being reviewed by’s editorial team. 

Updates to the site and posting of new content will be sporadic until the new plan is in place. 

We appreciate your patience as we go through a bit of a bumpy period as we continue to evolve the plan in the coming months. 

That said, to make sure you don’t miss a beat, we invite you to sign up to today (it’s open access) for updates. 

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Allied Arts & Media Our Voices

Women Entrepreneurs “Never Going Back”

Large white woman in reording studio singing into a mic with hands outstretched.
Singer/Songwriter Kritty Uranowski recording "Never Going Back" for International Women's Day, 2023. Click image to hear now!

LiisBeth Media has been a supporter of the women’s entrepreneur StrikeUP conference since the start. Why? Because we are both all about elevating the work of not only feminist founders but also women, queer, trans enterprise crafters everywhere. 

Our assignment from the Strike Up team? Come up with a creative way of both honouring International Women’s Day 2023 and encapsulating the year’s event; Over 4000 women across Canada and around the world participated. 

In the first year, 2021, we invited Katie Chappell, a graphic illustrator from the UK, to attend the event, summarize learnings in a graphic illustration, and also write about her experience. You can read about her takeaways here.

In 2022, we contracted Timaj Girard, a spoken word artist to attend and write plus perform a poem that captured the essence of the event for her. Her brilliant work can be found here

In 2023, in response to women’s rights rollbacks around the world, we wanted to send a message: We are never going back.  The medium? Music. 

We started looking for someone who embodied feminism, entrepreneurial spirit and the term “powerhouse” and found her!

Kritty Uranowski is an established feminist, experimental music performer, band leader and multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter who has also works with well-known bands like U.S. Girls, and Queen of Swords.  Uranowski works as a performance coach at Girls Rock Camp Toronto and Baby Pineapple Studio. Uranowski was also the producer of the 2018 Polaris Prize gala closing ceremony  She currently leads Lavender Bruisers, an experimental music project.  

Creating a song that celebrates the work and progress of women entrepreneurs was an opportunity Uranowski could not say no to. 

Learn more about Uranowski in the video interview below. 

pk mutch:  Kritty, what was your first thought when we invited you to consider the gig?

pk mutch: The current Canadian federal government has invested over $6B in levelling the playing field for women entrepreneurs since 2018 via the Women’s Entrepreneurship StrategyThe goal? To unleash $160B in untapped GDP growth over the next five years. The recently released State of Women’s Entrepreneurship Report 2023 notes that the number of incorporated, women majority-owned enterprises has increased from approx. 15% to 18% in 2023. What has been the felt impact of this initiative in your life as a musician entrepreneur?

pk mutch:  As a successful woman entrepreneur in a tough industry-music-What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs especially those in the arts?

pk mutch: Thank you so very much Kritty! 

Kritty: My pleasure. 

pk mutch: Ok. Let’s listen to the final cut!

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LiisBeth Playlist #11: ELECTION DAY USA

Need a break from sitting or the news?  We thought you might. So we asked Sue Dunham (ey/em), a writer, musician, and activist who lives in the Midwest to pull together a 10 song playlist that will get you fired up, moving and by the end, hopeful no matter what happens.

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Stand Up, Get Up: A Change Makers' Playlist

International Women’s Day is over…but LiisBeth playlist curator, Aerin Fogel, founder of Venusfest, asks “Should it be? And why is it just one day?” This playlist reminds us that struggles to transform how we relate to each other takes decades.

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Feminist Practices Our Voices

Unionizing Freelancers

Image of a woman, sitting in basement under construction holding a paint roller brush looking weary.

The number of freelancers is growing. But are freelance unions growing? If not, why not? And what would happen if freelance unions worked together?

Freelance writer Toni Main (not their real name) landed a new $6,000 gig. There was no formal contract–just a series of emails and mutual trust about what was expected, what they would deliver and how much they would make. Several months later, Main remained unpaid. As a last resort, they turned to the Canadian Freelance Union for help. 

“And that’s why we’re here, says” Nora Loreto, new President of the Canadian Freelance Union (CFU), a local of Unifor, founded in 2006 by the Communications, Energy, Paperworkers Union (CEP). “It’s also what I like most about what we do. When someone has a grievance, been harassed, or strung along by a contractor, we get involved. We use a variety of tactics to get justice for our members. And we have not failed yet.”

CFU, like other unions in the media and communication space also provide members with health care insurance options, training opportunities, contract negotiation support and press cards.

Yet, despite the benefits of joining a union and increased number of freelancers due to ongoing tsunami waves of layoffs in the media sector, including Postmedia’s recent move to cut 11 per cent of its editorial staff, CFU freelance union membership numbers (200) seem surprisingly low.

Loreto says part of the reason is that there many freelance media/communication professionals unions out there, like the Canadian Writer’s Union (1,600 members), The Canadian Freelance Guild (340 members), the  Communications Workers of Canada (6,000 members due largely to CBC worker memberships)  and CFU’s parent union, Unifor Media Council (8,000) to name a few.

Ultimately, this fragments both membership and power. There is also the out of pocket cost issue ($125-150 per year per union) and member churn; if someone gets a job, they leave.

Other reasons include the fact that the majority of Canada’s 2.8 million (15 per cent of the labour force) contractor workers and self-employed founders, are largely under informed about the existence and benefits of freelance unions and the value of collective bargaining.

However, Loreto is optimistic that will change.

Recently, Loreto co-organized a hybrid freelancer summit in Toronto at Metropolitan University. Approximately 20+ people representing a variety of organizations—or themselves—attended the event, which took place February 3. 

One of them was Chris Katsarov Luna, freelance photojournalist and founding member of the freelance union United Photojournalists of Canada. Luna says many photojournalists have recently found themselves pink-slipped due to tight budgets and then re-hired on contract terms, an arrangement that saves the company up to 25 per cent per person in staff costs. 

“Some (people) think freelancing is great, but most of us are not in the least bit interested in being self-employed and would prefer a regular, waged position with benefits,” says Luna. 

This includes soft benefits too, like corporate discounts for gym memberships, and other “soft” benefits not extended to contractors. 

Luna felt the freelance summit meeting was very productive and believes collaboration can power up and bring more negotiating power to their members.

Freelancers growing in number

Contract workers, solopreneurs and self-employed founders (freelancers) remain the fastest growing segment of the Canadian labour force. Surveys done by Statistics Canada shows the top reason for going freelance was freedom, followed by the inability to find suitable employment.  Women freelancers also cite escaping workplace discrimination, harassment and corporate glass cages as key reasons for exiting traditional employment. Although the number of people employed as freelancers dipped slightly in 2021Upwork, a U.S. based, global freelance platform with more than 14 million users, anticipates freelancers will represent over 50 per cent of the U.S. workforce in the U.S. by 2027. A 2023 study by MBO Partners, a U.S. based  independent worker management company,  shows the number of American freelancers increased by 26 per cent in 2022Experts predict similar growth trends in Canada, especially as companies begin to insist on a return to the office, a condition some workers now balk at.

The pay gap

Freelancing is tough for all, but especially women and other marginalized groups.

While income data varies by industry, age and province, the majority of freelancer workers are barely keeping their heads above water. In 2020, Canadian male freelancers earned on average $45,600, while women working in the same field made just  $34, 400–a 24 per cent gender-based wage gap. Thus, average freelancer incomes barely exceed Canada’s current poverty line ( $37, 542). When we further compare the gender pay gap in the freelance space to the waged employment space, recent OECD data shows the pay gap for women freelancers is a  whopping 40 percent higher than that experienced by women in the waged sector. The more intersectionalities you add in, the wider this income gap gets– available studies also show racialized people, single parents, and recent immigrants are over represented in the freelance and self-employment space, and even more likely to struggle financially than their white counterparts, and black freelancers often face discrimination in online hiring platforms.

Being a freelancer is clearly a tough hustle at the best of times, but with rampant inflation, no paid leave or access to subsidized health or dental plans, and chronically late pay cheques– studies show 29 per cent of freelance invoices are paid late– it’s getting harder and harder for freelancers to make ends meet. This is again, especially true if you’re a woman– while male freelancers are paid late 24 per cent of the time, female freelancers are waiting on a payment that’s “in the mail” 31 per cent of the time. 

Are Entrepreneurs Freelancers too?

Anyone who works independently, without a formal salary, according to Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) essentially self-employed aka a freelancer—and this includes consultants, contractors, and includes self-employed entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are commonly viewed as people building the next Facebook. But the fact is, 55 per cent of all incorporated businesses are enterprises with just 1-4 employees. micro enterprises–the vast majority of which solopreneur enterprises. However, a search of start-up and growth programs (such as Startup Canada and Futurpreneur) shows no mention of unions and how solopreneurs founders might benefit by joining. Instead, solopreneurs default lawyers to help with contract disputes or harassment claims.

Given that even a simple “cease and desist letter” or taking legal action to get paid can run into the thousands, many solopreneurs across industries increasingly realize they have a lot in common with freelancers when it comes to living with precarity, vulnerability and accessing basic worker rights. Nancy Wilson, founder and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, says their members, many of whom were hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic, are increasingly looking to the government for answers to systemic self-employment related exploitation issues felt more acutely now than ever before.  

“Anyone fighting to change the system can learn a lot from the labour movement. We deliberately reached out to the Canadian Freelance Union and the Canadian Labour Congress to join our advocacy alliance for self-employed individuals,” Wilson says.

Image of women, men participating in International Women's Day rally in Toronto. Holding red and white signs. Reads Women will never be safe under capitalism.
International Women's Day March and Rally ,Toronto, 2023 |Photo by Greg English.


Loreto says the February Freelancer Summit meeting was the first in a series of meetings planned for cities across Canada over the next year.

We would like to have a national forum or roundtable for freelance advocacy groups—not creating a new organization—just bringing people together in the organizations they are already in,”Loreto says. 

“There is a growing realization that “Everything about the economy is networked, and if we want to build a new economy, then the networks that we build have to be different,” she adds.,

In the meantime, Loreto says contractors and solopreneurs would be wise to research and consider a union card.

“We can help make visible (the) invisible work and highlight the challenges we face to governments to ensure freelancers, the so-called ‘precariat’, are not left behind for long,”she says. 

For more information about upcoming meetings, visit All are welcome, and women solopreneurs and micro enterprise founders are encouraged to participate.

Publishers Note: This article was  cross-published by our partner,

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Our Voices

Finding Your Way Home

Head shot of a black woman with long black braids, wearing blue shirt.
Keda Edwards Pierre, Founder of True2Soul | Photo by David Leyes

As a child, Toronto-born Keda Edwards Pierre wanted to do something many intelligent, artistic kids dream of doing; create buildings.

“In elementary school, I wanted to be an architect. I was recognized to be very creative. My grandfather was an architect,” says Edwards Pierre. “Plus, lines and structure really attracted me.”

However, the universe had other plans. Instead, Edwards Pierre a childhood trauma survivor, navigated a career path that met her profound needs for safety, structure, answers, voice and ability to advocate for others.  That path would take her from student to frontline police officer, to community liaison officer and, finally, to entrepreneur –a journey which, for her, is ultimately “true to soul”.

“Bad things happened in my life. The impact showed up in a number of ways.

In Grade 10, my typically good grades suddenly started to plummet– I saw my dreams of architecture (school) go down the tubes,” Edwards Pierre explains. “I often found escape through arts. During this time, I increasingly turned my attention to theatre and drama and ended up getting a lead part in the school play.

Edwards Pierre says she was excited about new emerging theatrical success–until playing the lead part meant having to kiss a boy on stage– an idea that made her so ill and uneasy that she gave up theatre for a time. Panning around for a new direction–one that would allow her to feel more empowered – Edwards Pierre turned her attention to law, a career which matched her passion for “advocacy, helping people and argumentative nature”.

“I developed a keen interest in the justice system. It led me to take a paralegal course in college after high school,” says Edwards Pierre. “Then one day, my class visited a courthouse to observe court proceedings, after which two classmates and I met two off-duty court officers. We later hung out. One of them advised that police were hiring and suggested that I join as a better path to law school than the paralegal path.

“I did some research and realized he was right.”

Sold on the idea, Edwards Pierre applied for a job with Toronto police, a much bigger feat than such a short sentence implies. This was the 1990’s   a time when only 6% of Toronto Police were women, let alone women of colour like Edwards Pierre, and although some things have changed since then, even today policing in Canada is still overwhelmingly white male dominated.

“I had never seen a Black woman in uniform,” says Edwards Pierre. “Plus I was considered short, just five foot five (inches), but I applied and was accepted. There were approximately 150 Toronto recruits and approximately 20 were women. I was the only Black woman.”

Over the next 27 years, Edwards Pierre would go on to hold a variety of roles with the Toronto Police Service (TPS), including court officer, parking enforcement, and eventually, a first class police officer across the city, including 42 Division which serves Scarborough, a suburb on the edge of Toronto where 73% of the population are non-white and the majority of residents are newcomers.

Edwards Pierre at one point, went on maternity leave.

Around the same time, “After a nearly 10 years with TPS, I remembered my earlier law aspirations. I applied to the Weldon Law School at Dalhousie (University)–and got in!” says Edwards Pierre. “So, at 28, while on maternity leave, I packed up my still breast-feeding baby and went to Halifax to get my law degree.”

Turned out that being a single mother, alone in a city with no family, little money for food and with a baby who had health issues, and pursuing my law degree was too much. After one year, I packed up, returned to Toronto and my baby’s medical specialists. I completed first-year law remotely and returned from leave to police work.”

Perspectives on Police Work

As a child, Edwards Pierre says her interactions with police while growing up were not negative.

Once on the inside, however, Edwards Pierre saw things that deeply troubled her.

“I witnessed how trauma impacts human potential and can destroy lives,” she says. “I saw the institutional flaws and systemic challenges that prevent police from dealing with issues in helpful ways. ‘Bad cops’ remain protected and fly under the radar and ‘good cops’ get gutted, chewed up and spat out.”

“While on the job, various misogynistic and racist officers in the ranks, management and command kept me in hyper-vigilance mode for much of my career – so I was in constant fight or flight positioning. Sometimes I won the battles I fought – and sometimes I lost miserably.”

Edwards Pierre adds “The system is far, far from perfect–however, there are good things happening between the cracks. While working in 42 division, I saw myself as part of the community. I had a great partner who loved his job.” Edwards Pierre saw how deeply connected, community-supported policing and strong community ties resulted in positive outcomes.

Despite the growing societal concerns around racism and police violence, Edwards Pierre held on to the idea that the institution could change for the better and went on to become a Corporate Liaison Officer for three years with a focus on improving Black community-police relations. “I coordinated the first month-long Black History Month celebration while in that role. I consulted with and brought community organizations and institutions together from all over the city for the first time. I also coordinated the United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere (U.M.O.V.E), a nonprofit which advocated for stronger gun control after the 2005 “Summer of the Gun”.

Edwards Pierre was also a founding member of the TPS Black Internal Support Network.

“I believe I had a positive impact, but over time, I realized there was only so much I could do.”

Edwards Pierre retired in 2020.

“My experience in policing, good, bad and even the ugly. was part of my path. It opened my eyes and showed me what I needed to see,” she says. “It prepared me for what I believe is the work I am now called to do.

For so many years, I hid a scared girl behind a fierce advocate for others. It felt easier to scream for others than myself.”

Image of two black women and one grey haired woman of colour, standing, arms across each others shoulders in unity.
From Left to Right, Keda Edwards Pierre and supporters, Canadian actress Sylvia Osei and actress/singer, Tabby Johnson

Enter True2Soul

“Something like seventy percent of us have been traumatized in one way or another. There are up to 19 different recognized areas of trauma. So if we are looking at that, and looking at how messed up our systems are, we have a lot of people inside and outside institutions who have unresolved shit and therefore, can and do perpetrate harm. Through my own lived experience, I have learned people have to heal themselves before they can heal systems.

Today, I feel I am called to work with healing people”.

So, Edwards Pierre started a company.

True2Soul is a hybrid, digital platform-style enterprise that offers safe & inclusive workshops for Black women and gender diverse folks who have experienced sexual trauma. Clients are looking to heal, be part of a discrete, supportive community, and ultimately transform their lives, relationships and career prospects.

True2Soul also creates customized treatment plans, and curates a directory of trauma-informed and allied services—all reviewed, researched and vetted by Edwards Pierre and her small team.

Their signature 12-week Chrysalis Program which launches in May, is supported by a suite of Canadian and international program delivery collaborators.

“We offer a multidisciplinary, non-judgement-based approach” says Edwards Pierre, “but what really makes our work stand out is the fact that our program is informed by lived experience few other folks have.

I have had to learn how to cope and deal with my own complex trauma, and know the flaws of the system. My personal experience and what I have witnessed in policing-both on the street and within the institution–have provided me with a deep understanding of what’s lacking and even harmful for survivors in the way of support”.

Edwards Pierre adds “I have also been supporting sexual trauma survivors for years. I’ve trained as a certified holistic health and mindfulness specialist, life coach and trauma recovery coach. I am also an ordained Minister.

While Edwards Pierre is new to entrepreneurship and venture building, she is optimistic that with the help of programs like Fifth Wave, she will figure it out.

As we end the interview, Edwards Pierre takes a slow sip of her iced tea, puts down her cup, and rolls up her sleeves to reveal matching forearm-length tattoos on both arms.

“These tattoos remind me to be true to the essence of who we are. They anchor me when I feel offside.

The bottom line. I am committed to building out True2Soul. This is who I am. I know this is where I am supposed to be. There are just not a lot of therapists out there doing this work who have also been in policing. And I know the word “police” is a powerful trigger for many people.  But I also know that what I have learned, on the inside, in the streets, is unique, authentic, real and therefore, powerful.”

Publishers Note: True2Soul participated in the Fifth Wave  Initiative, a year-round program offered by CFC Media Lab and its partners to support the growth and development of women entrepreneurs in the digital media and commerce sector in southern Ontario. All enterprise founders in the Fifth Wave community are selected for both their potential and commitment to weaving intersectional feminist ideals of equity and fairness into sustainable and scalable business growth strategies. Fifth Wave Initiative is committed to a minimum of 50% participation per cohort by members of underrepresented groups. The Fifth Wave is a LiisBeth ally sponsor at the Lighthouse level

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A beige collage that has text that reads "Every morning I wake up on the wrong side of capitalism" as graphiti text, and a Banksy image of a bar code on a cart pulled by a white tiger"


Studies have been done about the hardships that Black female entrepreneurs face. The proposed solutions are literally steeped in capitalism & white supremacy.–Althea Branton

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Righting Who Writes Code

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Allied Arts & Media Our Voices

Far Flung Feminist Futures: Four Really Dope Canadian Sci-Fi Books You Can’t Miss

Image of a woman with a steampunk helmet, wearing green, long skirt and jacket standing in the middle of the road of a dystopian city landscape.
Photo collage: pk mutch with a mix of photos from Dreamstime.

At this time of year, media becomes preoccupied with predictions for 2023. But why stop at 2023? Especially given economic (recession) and political (more unrest) forecasts for the year are especially gloomy. 

Instead, why not imagine what the world could be like in 2060?  At least that way, you can better discern what changes we need to fight for next year, or equally as important, how to derail those leading to frightening future outcomes.

Enter the art of the long view: science fiction (sci-fi), also known as “the literature of ideas.”  

Sci-fi helps our shackled imaginaries pole vault over the present day so that we might inhabit both glorious and unthinkable emerging ecologies and alternative societies. Sci-fi literature provides us with insight into how emerging science, technology and our political actions today might impact our collective future. 

Feminist sci-fi, in particular, works to explode the concept of gender and opens our minds to what a society without patriarchy, colonialism, racism and capitalism might look like.  

Sci-fi stories are essentially like crystal balls made of words. 

Not surprisingly in these times of tumult, sci-fi is a fast-growing genre across cultural industry categories (movies, books, games). Last year, book sales were $590M in the U.S. alone). It is also an increasingly diverse (though women still represent just 22% of all sci-fi writers) and global community of creators.  

To get your imagination fired up, we invite you read the work of three Canadian feminist sci-fi writers.  We also invited Ariel Kroon to provide some additional framing. Kroon is a recent PhD graduate of English Literature (University of Alberta).  Her thesis work focused on crisis narratives found in Canadian post-apocalyptic science fiction 1948-1989. She is currently a research assistant with SpokenWeb, nonfiction co-editor at Solarpunk Magazine and co-host of the podcast Solarpunk Presents.

Is Canadian sci-fi distinct?  Kroon says yes.  “On the whole “Canadian sci-fi has historically been less focused on heroic protagonists or toxic power fantasies of violence, and more on helpers or passersby and their experience in that world.” Kroon adds “In my opinion, the best of the stories I studied were those that focused on how individuals relied on community to help build a better world going forward.”

These are some of those stories. Let’s dig in. 

Imnage of author Nina Munteanu, blonde short hair, black framed glasses and book cover.
Nina Munteanu. Canadian sci-fi author and her latest book.

#1: DIARY IN THE AGE OF WATER by Nina Munteanu

Who should read this? Eco-feminists, AI enthusiasts, water activists, post-capitalists, eco-entrepreneurs, environmental policy geeks, science buffs, Maude Barlow.

Kroon’s comments (paraphrased): I am familiar with Nina Munteanu’s work as a sci-fi writer. I see her work as an evolution of classic ecofeminist thought in her acknowledgment of the ongoing struggle of Indigenous leaders (especially women and two-spirit folks) in protecting water, warning the world that water is life and there needs to be respect for water, and respect for women as water-keepers.  

About the author and book: Bronze Medal winner of the 2020 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award in Science Fiction and a finalist for the International Book Awards in Science Fiction in 2021. Nina Munteanu’s chilling cli-fi novel follows four generations of women into a world nearly destroyed by the consequences of corporate greed, environmental desecration and the short-sightedness of humanity’s complacency towards capitalism. The book explores how the impact of climate change on biological life increasingly limits human existence and upends our social and political systems. 

If you believe Canada’s water will remain free forever (or that it’s truly free now) Munteanu asks you to think again. Readers have called A Diary in the Age of Water “terrifying,” “engrossing,” and “literary.”  We call it wisdom.

Read this Free Excerpt from the Book Here.

Action you can take: Sign up to defend our water.

Author Lisa de Nikolits, The Rage Room (2020)

#2: THE RAGE ROOM by Lisa de Nikolits

Who should read this? Feminist movement funders, people with unprocessed rage, humanists, politicos.

Kroon’s Comments: This book reminds me of the classic sci-fi premise from the late 1800/early 1900s where a time traveller arrives in a future society and the novel is a bit of a mystery/whodunit to figure out the traveller got there, and what to do about it. The theme of a feminist society or army was used in many 20th-century feminist SF as a device to explore what life would look like without patriarchal social discipline. What I like about Nikolits’s approach is that she updates how the trope is used and seems to have made her feminist army explicitly political.

About the book: In Lisa de Nikolits’s The Rage Room, family-man Sharps Barkleys–whose terrible mistake kills his entire family on Christmas Eve 2055–is given a rare opportunity: go back in time and undo the horrible thing he’s done.

As fans of time travel novels might expect, things don’t go quite as planned.

Instead of resetting his life to where he left off–with an alive family on Christmas Eve–his time travelling sets a series of events in motion which lead to murder and mayhem on a dystopian scale: In 2055 he returns home to a furious populous left to vent their boredom and discontent in prescribed visits to “rage rooms,” ruled by over by an artificial intelligence who manipulates both their lives and the planet, right down to weather-controlling satellites. As Barkley leaps back and forth through time in an increasingly desperate attempt to save his family and his world, he meets either someone who is a deadly enemy or an uncertain ally: the leader of the Eden Collective, a feminist army using the data gathered from rage rooms to analyze and predict the potential and actions needed to save the Earth–even, if necessary, at the expense of humankind itself.

If you like multi-layered plots, feminist power plays and extrapolating on the courage it takes to save the world from the effects of the digital age has on our lives–and ultimately, our humanity–then The Rage Room is for you.

Read this Free Excerpt from the Book Her


Image of author Lisa Nikolits with black t-shirt that says fiercely feminist and book cover.
Author Lisa Nikolits and her latest book, Everything You Dream is Real, the sequel to The Rage Room (above).

#3: EVERYTHING YOU DREAM IS REAL by Lisa Nikolits (2022)

Who should read this book:  Edgy feminists, plastic surgeons, nefarious world leaders, anyone who read The Rage Room

About the book: The fabulous, adventure-filled sequel to The Rage Room by “The Queen of Canadian Speculative Fiction,” Lisa de Nikolits, Everything You Dream is Real drops readers into 2066, eleven years after the world war of 2055 brought an end to the plastic-based, consumer-driven existence of the previous novel. Amidst food scarcity, spotty electricity and terrible drought, a  group called “The Fountain of Youth,” has risen, a resource-rich compound whose utopian exterior belies a dark underbelly of drugs, kidnapping and sex trafficking. Searching for his stolen children, Sharps Barkley and some familiar allies square off against Alpha Plus, the power-hungry plastic surgeon–who also happens to be completely, utterly bonkers–behind the Fountain of Youth as he makes a play for his ultimate goal: global domination.  

Everything You Dream is Real was listed as one of CBC’s books to look out for in 2022.

Action you can take: Support the Joy Smith Foundation. 


Author Ursula Pflug and her recent book, Seeds and Other Stories

#4: Seeds and Other Stories by Ursula Pflug

Who should read this book:  Plant lovers,  feminist futurists, hopeful pessimists.

Kroon’s Comments: The title “SEEDS” is evocative and hopeful. The title itself is reminiscent of Octavia Butler’s Earthseed novels. I want to read these stories!

About the book: In this bright new collection of darkly hopeful short stories by Ursula Pflug,  seers, vagabonds, addicts and gardeners succeed– sometimes fail– at creating new kinds of community in a world on the edge of total environmental destruction.

Where do you plant a seed someone gave you in a dream? How do you build a world more free of trauma when it’s all you’ve ever known? Sometimes the seed you wake up holding in your hand is the seed of a new world. In 27 separate apocalypses tied together by the theme of seeds, Pflug’s characters explore the courage and resilience necessary  to survive–and thrive–in the face of unthinkable odds with what Publishers Weekly calls a “striking juxtaposition of hyperrealism with delicate fantasy.”

Read this free excerpt from the book here.

Action you can take: Download this trauma resource list from CAMH (Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).

That’s it for our list! If you enjoyed these reads, please let us know in the comment section below.

Publishers Note:  This is a sponsored article. Inanna Publications is also offering 30% off until January 3! Visit and at check out, type in the coupon code holiday22 to receive your 30% discount!

Inanna Publications and Education Inc. is celebrating 45 years in 2023 and is one of only a very few independent feminist presses remaining in Canada. Inanna is committed to publishing fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction by and about women. Its aim is to conserve a publishing space dedicated to feminist voices that provoke discussion, advance feminist thought, and speak to diverse lives of women.  Inanna is a registered charity.  You can donate here. 

To purchase any of these books elsewhere, we recommend that you support your local bookstore, or buy from any one of these feminist bookstores that will ship anywhere:

Another Story Bookstore (Toronto)

Glad Day Bookshop

L’Euguélionne (Montreal)

Spartacus Books (Vancouver)

Go to LiisBeth’s google map of Canadian indie bookstores.

SPD Books (U.S.)

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Allied Arts & Media Our Voices

Serving up “MILF and Cookies”

Image of comedian Ann Marie Sheffler in the foreground and theatre billboards in the background highlighting her shows.
Canadian actor and producer of nine one-woman shows, Ann Marie Scheffler. Photo by Time Leyes

Look, between the ongoing global pandemic, crushing defeat of Wade v. Roe and an escalating international conflict low-key threatening to go nuclear, we at LiisBeth know it’s been a tough year (or three) but rest and pleasure are an important part of resistance work. To lighten things up a little (and help you get your laugh on) we interviewed Anne Marie Scheffler, a long-time career actor, writer and producer, about her new, up-coming holiday show MILF and Cookies.


LiisBeth: Let’s start with the facts. Who is Anne Marie Scheffler?

Scheffler: I was born in Toronto, Rexdale in fact. I’m a first generation Canadian. My parents are German and Polish. My father was a bank manager and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. I started getting paid as an actor at the age of 15. I went to the University of Toronto, got a degree in English, and was at the same time booking professional acting gigs while writing my university exams. From there I went to George Brown Theatre School for formal training. And TV. Oh boy, I wanted to marry TV. With TV you could talk to the world, and I really wanted to talk to the world. Not surprisingly, I’ve been in over fifty TV commercials and love being on TV.

LiisBeth: You’re an actor first and foremost. What led you to write and produce your own shows?

Scheffler: When I got my first agent in my 20s, she got me film and TV auditions. And I was thrilled! Until I saw the roles: rape victim. Go into the audition room and scream. Look, I did go into the audition room and scream. But I kinda didn’t want to get the booking. And another audition was “girl number 1” and I went in with “guy number 1” and we had to neck. That was the actual audition. No lines. So, I’m thinking, “maybe I need to write the roles I want to play.” And so I wrote funny monologues for myself. Honestly, I wrote my first play in grade 3 that our class put on in front of the whole school. I had always been writing for myself. Doing improv. Imagining the possibilities.

When you’re hungry and ambitious in your twenties, you want to act as much as possible. My fellow actor friends and I would do open mic nights, fundraisers, anything to see if our stuff worked. I had about five monologues in my back pocket that I wrote for myself and auditioned with. Artistic directors would be like: “That was great! Where did that come from?” And I’d say “I wrote it.” And that sometimes got me writing job offers which I never took because I was an actor!

In 1994, I had a spot in the Summerworks theatre festival in Toronto. Basically you pay for a spot to put on a show in a respected theatre festival. I had been doing clowning at the time, but my clown partner had left me, and all of a sudden, I didn’t have a show! The producer Benj Gallagher said to do a one woman show. I was like, “Hell, no!” but I was working at His Majesty’s Feast as a singing wench, and my fellow wench, Sarah Sked, said she’d be my director. I sewed my five funny monologues together and created my first solo show Situation: NORMA. 

NOW magazine’s late, legendary and much-beloved theatre critic, Jon Kaplan, was at my show on opening night. He loved it so much that he sent a photographer to my house the next day. My picture appeared in the theatre section, with Kaplan’s glowing review in which he called me “a gem.” My career took off. I got a better agent, I worked even more in TV and film, and I wrote two more Norma shows: Watch…Norma’s Back and Leaving Norma.

I toured my Norma shows at fringe festivals in Canada and the US, selling out and getting rave reviews and honing my comedy chops on stage, really poking fun at what it was like to be (supposedly) following society’s norms. I make fun of myself in my comedy, spoofing the conditions I find myself in, to actually shine a light on the ridiculousness of the roles we play in order to be good.

In 2001, I went to a taping of Everybody Loves Raymond at The Warner Brothers studio in Burbank, and the penny dropped. At this point, I was doing TV roles, TV commercials, doing my own live shows, and here was a multicam sitcom. A marriage of theatre and TV. I fell in love with multicam. Soon after, my live comedy show Not Getting It long-time into a one-hour Comedy Now! special for CTV/ The Comedy Network by SFA Productions. A seven camera shoot. Of course, I’m still priming the pump for the seven season multicam series–or single camera, I’m flexible–but the path was unfolding.

Ironically, my old agent said to me: “I can see you being like the wife on Everybody Loves Raymond!” And I said “I’m Raymond!”

LiisBeth: What is your relationship to feminism? When did feminism come into your life? 

Scheffler: In terms of feminist influences, I can start with my mother. She taught me unconditional love. She is a walking love machine. My mom is, literally, love

My father told me that to have my own money is to have my own freedom. That shaped me a lot. I didn’t think in terms of being a dependent, or a wife, I wanted to make my own money, make my own success, in the way that I wanted to.

That worldview was ingrained in me. It’s why I said no to demeaning roles. I wasn’t up for a career of playing victims. I lobbied with my actor’s union to influence producers to have more women roles that reflected whole, real women.

I knew how to write, and I took charge of my career and wrote and produced “myself.” As Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) told me in an article I wrote for the Alliance of Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) on women in the business: “Don’t wait for the phone to ring–call yourself.” Now that I am older and coming from a place that is so much more whole, I have moved way beyond the “pick me, pick me, pick me!” approach to my career to one where, basically, I pick myself. 

LiisBeth: So as a woman actor making her way in a Harvey Weinstein world, how do you reconcile a highly sexualized approach to comedy and use of the term “MILF” in a world where sexualization of women in entertainment is seen by many as problematic? 

Great question. So, as a comedian, it’s my job to mirror our shared experience as a society back at that society. I push the boundaries. I say what we are all thinking but I’m not afraid to say. To quote my comedy special: “I’ve achieved my goal! I’m fuckable! But now I’m offended by it!” Honestly, the comedy special is partly based on my experiences as an actor in really inappropriate situations with a producer. Which could have been victimizing, but instead I turned it into comedy gold.

Turning on your sexy and beautiful self shouldn’t be bad and unsafe. And if it feels bad or unsafe, I’m happy to shine the light of love and humour on it and expose it.

Collection of comedy clips from Anne Marie Scheffler shows (4 minutes)

As for MILF, I renamed and reclaimed a term that really offended (some people) but now has become less charged. Maybe soon you’ll be able to google ‘MILF’ and instead of porn, mostly comedy will come up. MILF and Cookies is sexy and hilarious.

LiisBeth: What’s next for Anne Marie? 

Scheffler: Like other actors/producers such as Reese Witherspoon and Pamela Aldon, I’ve been a great artist, now I want to shift to be an equally great business person.

I’d like to turn my one woman show MILF Life Crisis into a limited series like Phoebe Waller-Bridge did with her show Fleabag, and create blockbuster comedy movies. I’ve written myself two comedic vehicles–The Bachelor Whisperer and Princess Candy Cane–and am looking for the right producing partners. 

LiisBeth: Congratulations on an incredible journey as a woman in a tough industry! What advice do you have for others? 

 I remember being in my early 40s, and being a new mom with two little boys. I was juggling childcare to go to auditions, and lying in bed at night, thinking it’s very possible my life and my career are both over. And then I turned on the TV to a new show: 30 Rock. What? A new face? Tina Fey? A woman in her 40s? A mother? Who created a TV series she wrote and stars in herself? Again, the penny dropped. There was still hope. There is always hope. The only one who can limit you is you. Find your own voice and work it. There are a million different flowers in the garden. There is room for everyone. Decide what stories you want to tell, and then tell them really well.

LiisBeth: Speaking of stories, tell us about your upcoming holiday show, MILF and Cookies. 

MILF and Cookies is Anne Marie 2.0. It’s our sexy, single lead from MILF Life Crisis, with a woman who now has decided to be comfortable as a single MILF. She owns her MILFdom but then finds herself spending Christmas eating pot cookies with her BFFs and examining all the men she’s loved, all the men she didn’t love, and the men she is about to love. People walk away feeling lighter. And stronger.

LiisBeth: Sounds a lot like you Anne Marie! Thank you for sharing your talent with the world. 

MILF and Cookies plays December 15- 23rd at Toronto’s Comedy Bar Danforth’s main stage. Tickets available at

Not in Toronto? You can catch Scheffler’s one-hour comedy special, Not Getting It, Monday December 19th on MTV2.

Publishers Note: Anne Marie Scheffler is a member of Fifth Wave Connect, a community of feminist women entrepreneurs who participate in the Fifth Wave  Initiative, a year-round program offered by CFC Media Lab and its partners to support the growth and development of women self-identified feminist entrepreneurs in the digital media and commerce sector in southern Ontario. Fifth Wave sponsors a series of profiles highlighting their work.  Fifth Wave Initiative is committed to a minimum of 50% participation per cohort by members of underrepresented groups. The Fifth Wave is a LiisBeth ally sponsor at the Lighthouse level. Fifth Wave 

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