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UCL Laws Feminist Book Club

The UCL Laws Feminist Book Club brings together staff and students at all levels to talk about books in an informal setting.

Our aim

The UCL Laws Feminist Book Club was set up in 2018 with the aim of creating a strong feminist network within the law school. We invite feminist students (LLB, LLM, and PhD), faculty, and staff to join us for monthly meetings in which we chat informally about a work of female-authored fiction. We have structured the group as a book club because, well, we all like to read – and we believe that it’s important to supplement our work and studies with non-academic reading. It helps to keep us grounded, enriched, and energised. The book club is an inclusive, non-hierarchical, and non-judgmental space. 

Upcoming meetings and 2021-22 book list 

All our meetings are held currently being held online. You will be sent details of how to join by contacting Ashleigh or Silvia (contact details below) to register your interest. You are welcome to drop in on individual sessions, or to attend regularly – whatever works for you.

This year’s book list is as follows (note that meeting times are usually confirmed a month in advance):

  • 27 October 2021 – Elena Ferrante, The Lying Life of Adults
  • 24 November 2021 – Andrea Levy, The Long Song
  • 15 December 2021 – Penelope Mortimer, The Pumpkin Eater 
  • 26 January 2022 – Banana Yoshimoto, Kitchen
  • 23 February 2022 – Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • 23 March 2022 – Isabel Allende, Eva Luna
  • 27 April 2022 – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  • 25 May 2022 – Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea 
  • 22 June 2022 – Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Get involved

Email Ashleigh Keall at a.keall.12@ucl.ac.uk or Silvia Suteu at s.suteu@ucl.ac.uk to be added to our mailing list.

Frequently asked questions

What does the book club do?

We get together once a month and talk about books! If there are many attendees, we split into small groups; otherwise we just engage in open-ended discussion as a group. Sometimes we use question prompts to get the ball rolling.

You are free to join the book group at any point in the year, and to attend as many or as few meetings as you wish. If you were planning to come but haven’t finished the book, come anyway! No one is testing you. 

Who can join?

All current and former members of the Faculty of Laws community are welcome – from LLB, LLM and PhD students to teaching fellows, faculty, staff, and visitors. 

We don’t expect prior knowledge of feminist theory or literary criticism. What we have in common is an openness to and engagement with feminist ideas, and a love of reading.

What do you read?

Our book list includes novels, short stories, and memoir. We profile books written by women from a range of countries and backgrounds and attempt to balance better-known authors with those who may have slipped under the radar.

In 2020-21, we read:

  • Burnt Sugar - Avni Dosh
  • Grand Union: Stories - Zadie Smith
  • The Shadow King - Maaza Mengiste
  • Her Body and Other Parties - Carmen Maria Machado
  • Weather - Jenny Offill
  • Such a Fun Age - Kiley Reid
  • Negative Capability - Michèle Roberts
  • The Round House - Louise Erdrich

In 2019-20, we read:

  •  My Life on the Road - Gloria Steinem
  • Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
  • Normal People - Sally Rooney
  • The Testaments - Margaret Atwood
  • Sour Heart - Jenny Zhang
  • Girl, Woman, Other - Bernardine Evaristo
  • The Mother of All Questions - Rebecca Solnit
  • Invisible Women: Exposing Gender Bias in a World Designed for Men - Caroline Criado Perez
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories - Svetlana Alexievich

In our first year (2018-19) we read:

  • Disoriental - Négar Djavadi
  • The Power - Naomi Alderman
  • Vera - Elizabeth von Arnim
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing - Jesmyn Ward
  • Milkman - Anna Burns
  • Stay with Me - Ayobami Adebayo
  • Woman at Point Zero - Nawal el Saadawi
  • Red Clocks – Leni Zumas

This year’s selection can be viewed in the above section.

What else does the book club do?

We also plan occasional outings or social events. In 2018-19 we held a pub night in the winter and a group excursion in the spring to see Emilia, a West End production about 16th century feminist writer and activist Emilia Bassano. 

We kicked off our second year (2019-20) with a visiting lecture from Dr Diana Fox of Bridgewater University on the themes of storytelling, women’s voices, and field work in Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road

Ideas for future events are always welcome. Just drop us an email and we’ll try to make it happen.