Born in TX; children: three.
Home—Mill Valley, CA. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, lecturer, and educator. Graduate Theological Union Center for Women and Religion, Berkeley, CA, research associate and professor in residence; Images of Divinity Research Project, founder, director, 1987—.
Hedgebrook Writers Invitational Residency; various awards for writing from the California Arts Council.
Women in the Wilderness, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1980.
Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna: A Ten-Year Journey, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.
The Bond between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Love Cemetery: Unburying the Slaves, HarperSan-Francisco (San Francisco, CA), 2007.
Writer China Galland is an advocate for religious equality for women, firmly believing that spirituality has no division between men and women. She is the founder of the Images of Divinity Research Project, part of the Center for Arts, Education and Religion of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, a project that developed from her own research into the idea of female enlightenment. In Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna: A Ten-Year Journey, Galland addresses the need to find a female identifier in a religious figure, stressing that if humanity is created in God's image, that image must be both male and female. The book looks at a number of religions and cultures, examining each for evidence of religious equality between the sexes. Having experienced a number of religions herself, Galland defines religious practice as that which works for the individual. Her book focuses on Tara, the female Buddha in the Tibetan belief system, as a supreme example of the feminine image in religion. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote of Galland's book that ‘her intensely personal narrative is a disquieting spiritual odyssey."
The Bond between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion recounts Galland's experiences traveling around the world in search of more female examples of spirituality. She focuses on what she refers to as the ‘sacred feminine,’ delving into the cultures of India and South America, attending religious festivals and meeting with women leaders in different parts of the world. She also speaks out against ill-treatment of women and abuses such as prostitution, revealing her own abuse. In a review for the National Catholic Reporter, Gary MacEoin remarked: ‘This is a story of much sadness, of much killing, of much injustice. Yet it is a joyous story, full of song. It leaves the heart uplifted.’ A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found Galland's effort a ‘compelling, if open-ended and oc- casionally swampy tale.’ Sally Cunneen, writing for Cross Currents, dubbed Galland's effort as ‘a book in which the ideas are not imposed; they explode out of the observations and encounters in the narrative itself. Highly original, credible, and surprisingly inspiring."
In Love Cemetery: Unburying the Slaves, Galland shifts her focus to racial discrimination and abuse. The book focuses on a group of black women bent on cleaning up an old cemetery in Texas, but Galland expands on that, turning her book into more than a story about a local effort to improve a community and into a look at the scars of racism in that community. She includes information on slave history, and the involvement of Texas in the slave trade, as well as anecdotes she recalls hearing during her childhood. Her efforts include aiding the crew cleaning the cemetery by going out and finding additional volunteers. The act of cleaning the cemetery and taking pride in the graves of ancestors is one of showing respect for those who suffered under prejudice in their lifetime. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that ‘this fresh if not always coherent tale will appeal to women readers eager for an uplifting story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 1998, Donna Seaman, review of The Bond between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion, p. 1397; March 1, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of Love Cemetery: Unburying the Slaves, p. 45.
Commonweal, January 25, 1991, Lawrence S. Cunningham, review of Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna: A Ten-Year Journey, p. 75.
Cross Currents, summer, 1998, Sally Cunneen, review of The Bond between Women.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2007, review of Love Cemetery, p. 205.
Library Journal, November 1, 1980, review of Women in the Wilderness, p. 2341; September 1, 1990, Carol J. Lichtenberg, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 225; March 15, 2007, Kathryn Stewart, review of Love Cemetery, p. 80.
National Catholic Reporter, November 22, 1991, Linda Hardy, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 34; May 15, 1998, Gary MacEoin, review of The Bond between Women, p. 14.
New Statesman & Society, November 30, 1990, Sara Maitland, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 38.
New York Times Book Review, September 30, 1990, Carol Zaleski, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 3; August 25, 1991, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 22.
People, June 29, 1981, Michael Winn, ‘Wilderness Taboo Buster China Galland Wants Women to Keep on Trekking,’ p. 73.
Publishers Weekly, July 20, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 44; August 23, 1991, review of Longing for Darkness, p. 56; March 9, 1998, review of The Bond between Women, p. 60; March 26, 2007, review of Love Cemetery, p. 74.
Whole Earth Review, spring, 1992, Carolyn Garcia, review of Longing for Darkness; summer, 1998, Suzie Rashkis, review of The Bond between Women.
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (October 3, 2007), author profile.
Images of Divinity Web site,http://www.imagesofdivinity.org/ (October 3, 2007), director profile.
Our Weekly Online,http://www.ourweekly.com/ (October 3, 2007), Terri Schlichenmeyer, review of Love Cemetery.
Small Swords Online,http://smallswordsmagazine.com/ (October 3, 2007), ‘Not That China: The Secret History of Slaves."
Sounds True Web site,http://store.soundstrue.com/ (October 3, 2007), author profile.
Spirituality & Practice Web site,http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ (October 3, 2007), Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, review of Longing for Darkness.