Shadows of Olive Trees

Before the #MeToo movement, there was the 1970s and three girls – Tessa. Athena, Jenny looking for love, best friends, and what they want to be. Breaking traditional roles, there are challenges from parents, the church, school. But there’s college and new freedoms, except they can be dangerous.  Then there are the guys with their own challenges.

A story of women’s empowerment set against background of the emerging women’s movement, this is a story that has relevance today.

Set in Sydney in the mid-70s, this is the story of Tessa, who must reconcile her Greek background with entering university and the emergence of the women’s liberation. ‘It is also a story of friendship and love, reminding me of Looking for Alibrandi. Gervay gets better with every book.’ Spectrum Sydney Morning Herald.

Gervay advocates that feminism is never about men against women. It is about gender equity and opportunity. As an author, educational consultant and activist, Susanne has lived the second rise of feminism and now the #MeToo campaign. Her books which address all ages from children’s, young adults to adult, empower young people to engage in feminism and human rights. You’ll find Susanne at the Istanbul Literary Festival speaking to thousands of young adults about women’s rights when Turkey is facing terrorism and threats to democracy.  You’ll find her in remote indigenous communities empowering women elders and children through her stories. Her powerful speech at the World Burn Conference in New York on her novel Butterflies addressed feminism and disability. In a juvenile detention centre, Susanne shared her books inspiring teenage girls who deserve a future. She was awarded the Social Justice Literature Award for her body of works by the International Literacy Association. She has also been awarded an Order of Australia for youth literature, is a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Award and a writer ambassador for Room to Read with its affirmative action for girls in developing countries.

Her novel Shadows of Olive Trees lays bare feminism. ‘This makes Gervay the first writer to reinterpret the lived experience of young women in the seventies for an audience of young readers today.’ (UTS)

Susanne is a national and international speaker, ambassador for literacy and social justice organisations.

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