Tag: feminism

Feminist Book Fortnight – watch this space!

 

by Jim Taylor & Mairi Oliver

Back in the summer of 1984, the inaugural International Feminist Book Fair was held in Covent Garden, London. Supported by a growing feminist reading audience, the fair was followed by a ten day-long celebration of feminist ideas and women’s writing held in bookshops and community centres across the UK, dubbed “Feminist Book Week”. Over the next few years, this became an annual fixture for the book trade, stretching to a full two weeks every summer, and thus was the Feminist Book Fortnight born.

This summer, from 16th-30th June, Feminist Book Fortnight (FBF) is being resurrected by a group of radical and independent bookshops across the UK, headed up by Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham. There will be two weeks of events and book displays up and down the country, celebrating both the centenary of some British women getting the vote, and the recent boom in feminist publishing. As the official FBF website states:

There has been an explosion of new feminist publishing in the last two to three years.  Books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Laura Bates, Mary Beard, Laurie Penny, Rebecca Solnit, 404Ink and many others have become bestsellers. Younger feminists are also discovering feminist classics by writers and activists such as Audre Lorde, whose writing was recently republished in the UK by Silver Press.”

Lighthouse Bookshop is proud to be a part of FBF. As a feminist bookshop, we recognise that feminism is hugely important in the fight for progress and equality, both at home and abroad, and yet still massively misunderstood and underused as a way of challenging structures of power. We’re delighted to have an opportunity to shout about our vision of a truly intersectional feminism concerned with social and economic justice, and we hope that the coordinated events will draw publishers’ attention so we can bring some high-profile authors in on the conversation and reach new readers.

It’s also true that feminism faces some major challenges at the moment. As a bookshop we champion a pro-active, inclusive feminism, and the FBF offers us an opportunity to showcase writers and voices which chime with our mission, as well as the chance to make new converts and challenge outdated or exclusive forms of feminism. Feminism should be about striking at the heart of inequality and injustice so naturally we’re concerned about the increasing commercialisation of ‘feminism’, particularly within the publishing industry.

That Penguin, for example, can in the same year publish its feminist women series and bring out books by Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker shows real hypocrisy. It can’t sit well that the industry is making bank with all the suffragette inspired books coming out, whilst also having endemic problem with pay inequality based on gender and class. To us, this is evidence that for many, feminism, equality and diversity are just buzzwords and tick-boxes, rather than vibrant, exciting and necessary ways of working and publishing.

The Lighthouse’ FBF will follow the example of the indie publishers who are leading the way in both spirit and action. Like & Other Stories, 404Ink, Cassava Republic, Oneworld, Tilted Axis, Silver Press and Bloomsbury, we must bring brilliant stories and voices to readers, voices which bridge gender, class, sexuality and race. The Lighthouse will be running a series of events which uses this variety of thought and experience to help us better understand, engage with the world around us with a feminist perspective. We’ll have Feminist story/craft sessions for little ones, talks on economics with the likes of Ann Pettifor and much more.

Specifics will be announced over the next six weeks, but for now it suffices to say that, in an age when the #MeToo movement is necessary, when we have to fight tooth and nail to repeal the 8th amendment, and when the gender pay gap is manifested everywhere we look, feminist voices and ideas are more important than ever, and we hope you’ll join us for a fortnight of debate and discussion which puts them centre-stage. Watch this space!

There is no centralised organisation behind Feminist Book Fortnight 2018, but information can be found here:
Website: https://feministbookfortnight.wordpress.com/
Facebook: @feministbookfortnight
Twitter: @FeministBkFt18

In the meantime, do join us in our solidarity fundraiser for the #Repealthe8th campaign, Thursday 19th April, 8pm: details HERE.

Radical Book Fair Launch : Shami Chakrabarti on Women (RBF)

 

Ticket sales are now disabled online, but there will still be tickets available on the door at the event.

 

Civil rights campaigner, author, politician. Shami Chakrabarti has been one of the most influential voices in British politics over the last decade and a constant presence in the frontlines of political debate.

Chakrabarti opens the 2017 Radical Book Fair with a talk inspired by her new book Of Women, a powerful, urgent and timely polemic on why women still need equality, and how we get there.

As we move forward in the twenty-first century, a time of crises the world over, Shami Chakrabarti lays out the huge challenges we face with honesty and clarity. We have not yet done enough to create a more equal world: one where women and men share power, responsibility and opportunity. One that is potentially happier and more peaceful. One where no life is wasted, and everyone has a chance to fulfill their potential. Instead, we’ve been playing around at the edges. What’s needed now is radical change.

From the disparity in the number of births to issues of schooling, work, ownership, faith, political representation and international diplomacy, Of Women outlines what needs fixing and makes clear, inspiring proposals about what we do next, putting women’s rights at the centre of the progressive political agenda.

Chakrabarti Currently serving as the Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales, Shami was also one of the panel members of the Levenson Enquiry, chaired the 2016 investigation into anti-semitism in the Labour Party and was the only person nominated to gain a lifelong peerage by Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Prime Minister’s Resignation Honours.

 

Ticket sales are now disabled online, but there will still be tickets available on the door at the event.

 

BOOKING FOR THIS EVENT: * Our 150 FREE places have now booked up, only our £5 spots remain, but remember these also include a £5 voucher redeemable at the Fair!

This event is part of the Radical Book Fair: a four day, bookshop run  flea-market of books and ideas! Most event places are free, however you may also book Event Supporter Vouchers for just £5 – these vouchers are fully redeemable against the books showcased at each event,  help us cover the costs of the Fair and enable us to offer Free places to others so that we can make the Fair as accessible as possible. Please consider this when booking your places below!

Women in Translation

Figures show that we are nearing an equilibrium in novel sales between the genders. Almost as many books sell by female authors as books by male authors. The difference according to many book sales charts is as little as one or two percent in both many areas of genre writing and literary fiction. That said, it is hard to shake the feeling when you enter any bookshop that the fiction shelves are populated by fewer female names than male. Could this be a hangover from history? As the shelves aren’t purely populated by modern books, could the sexist history of publishing be maintaining a sexist present in bookselling? I don’t claim to have answers, but it is an interesting issue to query. There is one area of fiction which still inarguably suffers from a very modern gender imbalance, and this is fiction in translation.

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