Author Marion Mutala works for peace
Latest work raises funds for charity
Award-winning author Marion Mutala has just released her fifth book. This one, The Time for Peace is Now, is unique because it is a smallsized, limited edition, handmade chapbook that Mutala wrote for charity.
All Mutala’s other books have a distinct Ukrainian connection, reflecting her heritage and her Ukrainian Orthodox faith. The first, Baba’s Babushka: A Magical Ukrainian Christmas explores Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas customs from a child’s perspective. It was followed by Baba’s Babushka books about Ukrainian Easter and Ukrainian Weddings. All have been award winners and national bestsellers.
Mutala’s fourth book, Grateful, was released in 2014. She says the story was inspired by her mother who always told her 10 children, “Be grateful you have feet” when they complained about their shoe size.
Mutala wrote The Time for Peace is Now some time ago, but it wasn’t until she met Kate Hodgson at a book fair that the book came to fruition.
Hodgson and her husband, James Wood, operate Happy Leopard Chapbooks, a non-profit organization that grew out of a desire to raise money for Station 20 West in 2008. They formed Happy Leopard to produce handmade, limited edition chapbooks for fundraising purposes.
A chapbook is a smallsized theme book with fewer than 40 pages. Happy Leopard authors pick their charity. Mutala chose NASHI, a Saskatoon-based organization dedicated to addressing human trafficking, particularly in Ukraine. NASHI’s current focus is on education and awareness, and operating Maple Leaf Centre, an educational live-in youth centre in Ukraine that provides life skills development, temporary housing, and support for at-risk youth.
“When I first wrote the Peace book, I didn’t know if it was going to be a story or a poem,” Mutala says. “Now I reckon it’s my prayer for peace.
“I believe in the 21st Century we have to find ways to problem solve regarding how we can live together in peace. We need to teach and educate our children about it.”
She believes peace is something we all have to work at. “It begins with each one of us and how we treat each other. We need to treat people with kindness. Everyone has a story and I believe most people in the world want peace. I ask myself, ‘What can I do today to promote peace?’ ”
Mutala was impressed by the Love For All sign outside the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Centre on McKercher, and discovered the phrase came from the third leader of the Ahmadiyya Community founded in India in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. With permission, she used his motto, “Love of all, hatred for none,” as a dedication at the front of her book.
“The basis of my prayer for peace is that all religions would have love at their base,” she says. “It is a universal truth that God is love, and I highlight that in my book. Each page bears one or more of the 104 different names for God. They are inscribed in beautiful calligraphy by Beth Matheson. There is also a list of the names of God at the back of the book.”
Each of the chapbook’s 13 pages begins with: “The time for peace is now; now is the time for peace.” Page 1 continues: “Babies cry for it. Children hunger for it. Teenagers rock for it,” and concludes: “The time for peace is now; now is the time for peace.”
Kate Hodgson did the artwork for the book, and also created a ‘peace bubble’ with the names of world organizations that work for peace, like UNICEF, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Str8up, Farmers Helping Farmers, Free the Children and more.
“So many innocent people in the world are suffering,” Mutala observes. “They just want a life, to raise a family and get an education, but they’re caught in the middle of conflict not of their own making. I believe most people in the world want peace. But if we don’t start talking about it, promoting it, and teaching about it, peace will never happen.”
Mutala is launching The Time for Peace is Now at McNally Robinson Booksellers on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. Kate Hodgson is the M.C. The Imam from Ahmidayya Muslim Community will offer a prayer. Mutala says The Raging Grannies are coming to sing a peace song, and a representative from NASHI will also be present.
“We’ll have traditional Ukrainian bread and salt, and a basket of peace things for a draw,” she adds.
One hundred handmade, hand-sewn books were produced by Happy Leopard. They sell for $20 each, with all proceeds going to NASHI.
Mutala eventually hopes to have paper copies of her book available to charities to use for fundraising.
She says, “I feel God has blessed me tremendously, and this is my gift — a book for charity.” Learn more at: www.babasbabushka.ca.
“IT BEGINS WITH EACH ONE OF US AND HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER. WE NEED TO TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS. EVERYONE HAS A STORY AND I BELIEVE MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WANT PEACE.” MARION MUTALA
Award-winning author Marion Mutala has released her fifth book, The Time for Peace is Now.