Rebecca Fisseha is the 2020 fiction contestant judge and Growing Room Festival author of Daughters of Silence. Her novel has received wide recognition, including being listed among the most anticipated fiction titles of 2019 by CBC Books and the 49th Shelf, in addition to being one of Quill and Quire’s breakout debut novels of 2019.
Rebecca Fisseha will be attending the March 11th-15th 2020 Growing Room Literary and Arts Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia. Rebecca can be found at:
Rebecca says of her novel, Daughters of Silence, that “it’s the story I had to tell as a writer beginning my career.” Daughters of Silence weaves the seamless history of a family, their migrations, and the resistance to colonization while meditating on a deep secret. The protagonist, Dessie, is a female Habesha survivor, who as the novel takes shape begins piecing together her first painful steps towards recovery under the backdrop of grief.
Rebecca writes in an article for Literary Hub of when her own mother died, and how she asked herself, much like her character Dessie asks in Daughters of Silence: “why were we not burying her in Ethiopia?” Like Dessie, Rebecca had to look at the things which were not said or the things which were being left out to find answers on what she calls: “the double robbery that is childhood and sexual abuse, and the silence about it in the Habesha community.”
With the popularity of the Me Too movement, Rebecca searched for other Habesha women like herself, but because of the fear of exposure they remained silent. Women’s need to remain anonymous was evidence of this fear of exposing something hidden and terrible. Rebecca writes that she herself was not immune to this fear either, and that it was one of the reasons why she used the semi-anonymous filter of fiction to write Daughters of Silence.