12 Days of Feminists: Anne T. Donahue on Fierce Truth-Teller Scaachi Koul

This month, we’re celebrating the relentless women whose work helped us to resist, persist and get the f-ck through 2017. First up, writer Scaachi Koul

A portrait of writer Scaachi Koul in a leather jacket-inline

(Photograph: Barbora Simkova)

Whether she’s parsing our collective disappointment in Louis CK, the language of whiteness in beauty products, or the glibness and lack of diversity in Canadian media in the wake of the tragically ignorant Appropriation Prize, Canadian author and Buzzfeed writer Scaachi Koul sifts through the spoils of empty rhetoric to deliver truths and realities we might not want to hear but desperately need to. She reminds us that we have no excuse but to be better, and she won’t take “I didn’t know” as an answer—a stance we need more than ever in a year relentless in its misery.

These are also the themes woven into her first book, released earlier this year. One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter is chock full of essays that are as sharp as they vulnerable. In it, Scaachi uses her own experiences as the gateway into themes like family, race, feminism and the pain of growing up and into the person you decide to be. Her life lessons aren’t tied up in a bow or delivered as a guide we’re expected to follow as a path to success. Instead, they remind you that to be alive is painful, complicated, messy and often without closure. And in doing that, they make you feel so much less alone.

It’s also a book that’s so warm, so well-written, so honest, and so funny that it’s absolutely unfair. It’s the type of book that feels alive, like a friend who sits next to you while you consume it and laugh and cry (or, if you’re me, tell yourself not to cry because crying is the worst). Which is why, unsurprisingly, it quickly became a Canadian bestseller and earned some serious praise. Sex Object writer Jessica Valenti called it “impossible not to love,” while Rolling Stone referred to Scaachi as a “voice-of-their-generation-type writer.” (Which, like, duh.)

“Your book would make me want to be a writer if I wasn’t one already,” I texted Scaachi after I read it this spring.

“Shut up,” she wrote back, almost immediately.

Of course, Scaachi’s honesty is one of her greatest gifts.

Which Scaachi’s going to hate me saying. In fact, she’s going to hate that I wrote any of this. (I’m betting on the imminent text or tweet branding me her enemy.) But that’s the thing about Scaachi Koul: for as much as she does, she’s never going to sit back, dust her hands, and pat herself on the back for a job well done. She, in a year that makes it tempting to just curl up and pray for sweet death, just keeps going. And that makes her even better.

More from FLARE’s ‘12 Days of Feminists’ series:
Day 2: Sadiya Ansari on Fearless Supernova Jane Fonda
Day 3: Janaya Khan on Mary Hooks Bringing Black Moms Home
Day 4: Meghan Collie on “Unf-ckwithable Voice of Reason” Lauren Duca
Day 5: Nakita Valerio on Effervescent Community Leader Nasra Adem

Day 6: Anne Thériault on Tanya Tagaq Singing Truth to Power
Day 7: Laura Hensley on Unapologetic Activist and Entrepreneur Jen Agg
Day 8: Jennifer Berry on Exuberant Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante