A woman in a red dress conjures particular images, emotions and stereotypes. Eroticism. Lust. Passion. With I Am a Red Dress, acclaimed writer and performer Anna Camilleri confronts these images and stereotypes in essays, stories, and poetry.
Combining the political with the intensely personal, Camilleri’s intimate writings are premised on a search for selfhood—strong, queer, female—within and outside of her bonds to other women in her family. She says, “My work is motivated by a deep desire to understand, and in the words of Dorothy Allison, to ‘remake the world.’”
Despite the perception that we live in a progressive society, Camilleri is not convinced that we live in a world that is necessarily better for women, indigenous people and people of color, queer people, or the poor and the working class. But she recognizes that the imagination is a powerful force that can lead to better lives, and a better world.
I Am A Red Dress is Camilleri conjuring her imagination, as she seeks to find her rightful place in the world. Like a flashing red light, this collection of stories and essays signal a changing of consciousness. It’s also Camilleri attempting to unravel memory, a trace that is inextricably tied to her culture and class, and the imaginations of women in her family.
Her voice is the sound the status quo makes as it crashes to the ground.
Anna Camilleri is a Toronto-based writer and performance poet. She was co-editor of Brazen Femme, shortlisted for a Lambda Award, and co-founded Taste This, with whom she collaborated to publish Boys Like Her, winner of a ForeWord Magazine Literary Award.