Kate Braid

From the blog

Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman

Kate’s new book of essays and stories, Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman, published by Caitlin Press, is available in Canadian bookstores, on-line and directly from the publisher now.  It will be available in the US in spring 2021.

In the long-awaited follow-up to her 2012 memoir, Journeywoman, Kate Braid returns with an honest and thought-provoking collection of essays, stories and notes reflecting on her career in a male-dominated profession and on the changes female tradespeople have witnessed.

In 1977, Kate Braid began work as one of the first women to stumble (literally) into construction. Since then, feminism, the #MeToo movement, pay equity legislation and other efforts have led to more women in a wider variety of careers. Yet, the number of women in blue-collar trades has barely shifted—from three percent to a mere four.

In Journeywoman, Braid told a personal story of working almost exclusively with all-male construction crews. In Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman, Braid returns to the trades with courage, compassion, and humour. Connecting her lifetime of experiences as a construction worker, as well as an educator and writer, Braid reflects on the culture of labour and recalls the thrill of realizing her own skill and capabilities.

Through stories, articles and speeches, Hammer & Nail sheds new light on our ideas of traditional gender roles—and how those ideas change in small but profound moments of gentleness, strength, humility and clarity on the job. Hammer & Nail is a thought-provoking collection of the highs and lows, the laughs, the heartaches and some of the lessons of Braid’s journey.


Hammer and Nail reads like sports reporter Alison Gordon’s baseball memoir Foul Ball! in its often humorous and always pointed examination of a traditionally male sphere resistant to female intrusion. In essayistic chapters, Braid offers insider information about things we’d never know as laypeople. […] framing her years of working as a journeywoman through the more current lenses of the pandemic, #MeToo, and the struggle for diversity in the workplace.”
Quill & Quire

“Through a series of micro-essays she provides details of her working life, practical advice for women in trades, and feminist readings of male spaces. … Braid deftly threads herself throughout the narrative as a constant guide through rough yet rewarding terrain. Woven throughout the whole text is a beautiful love story where the reader gets hints and samples of Braid’s passion for her craft.”
The Ormsby Review