Author wearing red polka dot bandana, smiling, while holding book open

Jessica Khouri-Charysz’s writing has become part of a published book entitled Women Let’s Rise. It was officially released on Amazon on Oct. 11.  

Paperback Girls co-founder now published author

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 22, 2020

Co-founder of the Paperback Girls Jessica Khouri-Charysz has accomplished her lifelong goal of being published.

She has written a chapter in the co-authored anthology, Women Let’s Rise. The book was officially launched on Amazon on Oct. 11.

“I’ve dreamed of being a published author for as long as I can remember,” said the writer and businesswoman. “I was excited to be able to share my writing with a larger audience and to write about a topic that’s very close to my heart.

“I still can’t believe it,” she added. “It feels incredible and validating, and I’ll never get tired of seeing my name on the front cover.”

Women Let’s Rise is a collective work that aims to ignite the fire within every woman to step up and empower the world with her presence.

It’s a look at women’s leadership in all its forms.

“I wrote a chapter for the book called Girl Gang,” said Khouri-Charysz. “It’s a mix of humour, fun, and self-reflection that gives readers a step-by-step guide to building inclusive communities, with a focus on women in business. I am a strong believer that we lead better when we collaborate and work together.”

This is a theme in which she is well-versed. Most of her academic, volunteer and professional work has revolved around building and fostering feminist communities. So she was delighted to be invited to take part in the project.

A lot of factors made this feel like the right opportunity for me,” said  Khouri-Charysz. “For one, our book’s lead author, Lola T. Small, had an incredible vision for this book, and her leadership and work speaks for itself. So, I was excited to be part of her vision of bringing together diverse voices to talk about empowerment.”

The publisher, Golden Brick Road Publishing House, also focuses on books that promote social change, which aligns with her mission and values when it comes to business.

As it is a subject that she is passionate about, she was comfortable writing. Though she did hit a few early mornings and late-night writer’s blocks, she knew what she wanted to say and just had to tailor it to the audience.

“The hardest part was talking about my experiences and being really open about my own downfalls and insecurities,” said Khouri-Charysz. “That and trying not to be too academic. I come from an academic writing background, so citations and research tend to be a security blanket for me. I needed to make sure it sounded like an everyday read that was supported by both academic and pop culture references.”

Response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive.

“So many of the people who support The Paperback Girls have reached out with congratulations, positive messages and inquiries about purchasing books,” Khouri-Charysz said. “I think the topic of the book fits in with our Paperback Brand and so it just seems like an extension of the work I already do, which in a sense it is.”

When not typing up a storm at her computer keyboard, she can often be seen out and about and has become a familiar face in the event and fundraising communities; most of her work is done through collaboration with other strong businesswomen and artists.

“I truly believe that community and collaboration are key to personal and professional success,” she said. “For women, in particular, we face a number of obstacles in our lives because of gender-based power relations, that we need community, support, and information that helps us succeed.”

This has shaped her desire to leave a positive impact on others and build communities where women can feel safe, validated and supported.

It is no surprise that she has been a feminist longer than she even knew what the word meant. Coupling that with her academic experience in Women’s and Gender Studies, it is no surprise that her ultimate goal is to use her skills for the betterment of everyone, but particularly of women.

“I think we live in a society where we’re constantly told we’re not enough,” said Khouri-Charysz. “Not pretty enough, not successful enough, not smart enough. There are so many messages telling us we can’t and we shouldn’t, that there’s something very powerful in women supporting each other to pursue their dreams.”

Building communities has been a key to her success, both with the written word, her business and her personal life.

She plans to continue her writing career. Right now, she is focusing on copywriting for her clients at The Paperback Girls, and she is also working on a second book for next year.

“I love writing, it’s something I genuinely enjoy doing, so I’ll always be doing it in one form or another,” she said.