Feminist Book Fortnight
Posted on May 18, 2022
Feminist Book Fortnight is a celebration of feminist books, taking place this year between May 14th and 28th. As champions of female writers and their female characters, we think it’s more important than ever to acknowledge this celebration. Read on to find out more.
What is Feminist Book Fortnight?
Put simply, Feminist Book Fortnight puts books by and for women in the spotlight, with a feminist message. first began in the 1980s. A group of radical and independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland revived it in 2018. After a short break due to the pandemic, this year Feminist Book Fortnight is back, with range of events from all corners.
Why we’re celebrating Feminist Book Fortnight
Since our blog post for International Women’s Day earlier this year, we continue to be mindful of the many, many women most seriously affected by the war in Ukraine. In March, the UN reported that women and girls made up 54% of people in need of assistance. More recently, news outlets report horrific war crimes committed almost daily against women in Ukraine. You can read more here and here, but be advised that the content is distressing.
We believe it’s important to raise awareness of these atrocities, no matter how upsetting they are. Throughout history, women have suffered at the hands of power imbalances and have been negatively affected by laws that do not acknowledge their rights, or actively violate them.
As seen in Sue Lawrence’s The Green Lady, even women in the most privileged positions have historically suffered from a society that favours men in power.
It remains shocking that five centuries later, equality of the genders is nowhere close. Women across the world are still more likely than men to be living in extreme poverty, and male violence continues to take the lives of women – or severely damage them.
Feminist Book Fortnight is therefore an important time to highlight women’s stories that inspire empathy, understanding and action. We have always placed women’s writing high on our agenda. Today we’re sharing several recent titles that may provide inspiration over the fortnight.
Our picks for Feminist Book Fortnight:
One Body by Catherine Simpson
While One Body discusses many topics that affect women throughout their lifetime, including issues around menstruation, body image and health, it’s Catherine’s discussion about her abortion that feels especially poignant at the moment. With reproductive rights under threat in the United States, the backtracking on women’s reproductive rights is a profound shock that will certainly lead to deaths and personal tragedies, and will bolster the growth of anti-women’s rights.
Expecting by Chitra Ramaswamy
In Expecting, Chitra Ramaswamy discusses more than just what happened to her body during her first pregnancy. She talks about the emotional impact and how she sought inspiration in art and literature that might reflect the ebb and flow of her feelings. As a woman of colour, Chitra’s perspective on pregnancy is a vital read, not least because of the studies that suggest people of colour are more likely to experience a poorer quality of maternity care than their white counterparts.
Castles from Cobwebs by J.A. Mensah
Imani, the protagonist in J.A. Mensah’s Castles from Cobwebs, is just nineteen when she receives a phone call that will change her life forever. Mensah’s prize-winning novel explores displacement, identity and belonging as Imani’s story unfolds on three continents.
The Green Lady by Sue Lawrence
The Green Lady highlights aspects of the imbalance of power that women in the sixteenth-century experienced, and some of the ways in which they suffered because of it. This extended to the most privileged women of the time, even including Mary, Queen of Scots. The Green Lady reimagines and reclaims the voices of some of Scotland’s most wronged women to tell a shocking story of secrets, treachery and murder.
The Harcus & Laird series by Claire MacLeary
Intersectional feminism acknowledges the different experiences and identities of women, including class and age. In the Harcus & Laird series, Claire MacLeary writes about two PIs who are capable women, whose work and friendship lie at the centre of surprising, gritty, fast-paced action. Their stories are laced with warmth and wit. Contrary to the archaic beliefs most often portrayed by Hollywood, women can still be the heroes of their stories even after they’ve reached their mid-30s…
Shocked Earth by Saskia Goldschmidt, translated by Antoinette Fawcett
While it’s clear that climate change has an impact on everybody, IUCN acknowledges that women and girls are disproportionately affected by this issue. The UN suggests that 80% of people displaced by climate change-related issues are female. In Shocked Earth, Saskia Goldschmidt explores how someone’s identity and surroundings are intertwined, and what this might mean for the climate. Set in Groningen in the Netherlands, Shocked Earth is based on the often devastating earthquakes caused by natural gas extraction, which also caused cracks within a community.