Feminist Sunday is a weekly roundup of all the articles/threads/news/discoveries that include or are about women which have caught my attention and/or interest.
As the beginning of Ramadan started the week before last I had a few days off work to visit a local island, relax on the beach and read! This week I finished Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and at no point did it lack in quality or coherency. Smith is a genius when it comes to writing about the intricacies of female friendship. Then, in need of some feminist theory, I picked up my first ever Bell Hooks book, Ain’t I A Woman, which was one of the first pieces of feminist literature to take into account, in depth, the situation of black women in America. From the impact of sexism on black women during slavery to the racism within the women’s liberation movement, bell hooks encapsulates many aspects of black women’s lives that hadn’t been examined and dissected before. So far Ain’t I A Woman has been an informative and eye-opening read.
Here are some of the interesting bookish/feminist related articles I found on the web this week:
- I’m sure many people around the world watched the lead up and results of the abortion referendum in Ireland this week. It’s with relief and hope that the ‘Yes’ campaign won, voting to repeal the 8th amendment that has denied so many women their rights to bodily autonomy. However, the fight isn’t over as all eyes are now directed at abortion laws in Northern Ireland. Read Lynn Enright’s poignant article in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s events where exit polls suggested an overwhelming majority in favour of repealing the 8th amendment: Feminist activism has triumphed as Ireland votes to Repeal. Also linked is a past article about abortion laws in Northern Ireland by Siobhan Fenton: Westminster can no longer ignore the horrors of Northern Ireland’s abortion ban.
- In light of the abortion referendum in Ireland on Friday, I started to think about how many times the topic of abortion had come up in the fiction that I read. I racked my brain for ages until I took to the internet and found this wonderful article on Bustle: 10 Novels That Paint A Realistic Portrait Of Abortion.
- Hay Festival of Literature and The Pool have announced the results of their #vote100books. They teamed up to create a list of 100 women writers published in the past 100 years who deserve recognition and celebration in the centennial year of women getting the vote in the UK. There’s such a diverse range of writers and mediums, from children’s fiction, YA, graphic novels and poetry and I’ve only read 36 of them!
- Here’s a wonderful round-up of the six shortlisted books for the Women’s Prize for Fiction written by Jen Campbell at Toast.
- An interesting article on Pen Transmissions: Who gets to be a woman writer? by the author of Trans: A Memoir, Juliet Jacques.
- As part of South Asian Heritage Month, here are a list of female writers from For Books’ Sake to check out.
- Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish) – a book exploring what it really means to be a person of colour in the UK – has written a review of Zora Neale Hurston’s latest book (finally published after 80 years), Barracoon: Why the extraordinary story of the last slave in America has finally come to light. My review will also be up on the blog shortly!
- I loved David Hayden’s article – “Men still too often see their writing as the canon” – on Literary Hub about the importance of reading women. As studies have proven, men generally read more male than female authors, whereas women read a more equal balance of male and female authors. As Hayden highlights: ‘People write out of their skin and their memory and their blood, out of history and culture, out of every hour they have lived, out of everything that they have read, everything that they have not read, everything they have heard and misheard: the reserves of their entire sensory experience’. It’s important to read literature by the other half of society as well as by minority groups in order to empathise with others’ lived experiences and to realise that culture is an ever-changing and evolving thing.
- In last week’s Feminist Sunday I mentioned that London was getting it’s first ever – and long overdue – statue to commemorate Mary Wollstonecraft and her contribution to the feminist movement in the UK. Last month a statue of Millicent Fawcett – one of the leaders of the Suffragist movement – was unveiled in London and here is a really interesting article from Stylist about 10 fascinating women engraved on the statue.
- Again, last week I mentioned the Bare Lit Festival that is currently taking place now in London. I’m feeling really jealous reading all the tweets and seeing pictures from the talks and workshops but, in the meantime, I’ve found a stash of talks on Youtube from 2016 to keep me entertained.