Tell us a little about your Book Club
We are a book club for Black people and people of colour to read novels and essays written by Black people. Through our monthly meetings we congregate to discuss what we read, the good and the bad, how it made us feel and how what we have read informs our lives as Black people. On top of that, we catch up and gist during the meetings about how life in a global pandemic is going! We are only 6 months old, so we have not had the chance to meet in person, but we are excited for how we will engage with each other in this setting!
Have you a preferred theme or genre?
We read across a variety of genres be it political theory, fiction or history. Naturally there's a focus on texts that emphasise on Blackness as well as how blackness intersects with the other modes of being there are, such as sexuality, gender and citizenship.
Have you a preferred theme or genre?
Not really, we are an open lot - we rotate the home where Book Club is held and the host then chooses the book. This gives us a good chance to read genres different to what we might usually choose. Lately, we have been on a kick of books set during/just after World War II. We regularly use the library ordering system for our book choices and it’s almost never failed us!
Is there a title that stands out amongst others?
I think it can be universally agreed that Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi was a stand out for us all. The author writes so beautifully crafts a story detailing the life of a Nigerian person living in America as Igbo mythology interacts with gender expression and ways of being. The story is riveting and engaging and leaves you wanting more when you reach the end of the book. We would recommend everyone to read it.
A book that changed your mind about something?
This is not a book but one of the texts we read really changed our thinking of what it means to be Black and queer and of a minority gender. The Combahee River's Statement discussion on Identity Politics is so revolutionary and it is interesting how once you read the statement, it is evident how much the statement has been co-opted and distorted of its true meaning. Understanding what it means to be positioned as a minority gender and Black opens up a myriad of ways of considering what equality and freedom can mean. Without a doubt, it would've been impossible to engage in such important thought without the work done by the Black Lesbians in the Combahee River Statement.
What was your most divisive / challenging title?
It probably was Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, primarily because her novel gives us great insight into the lives of so many people in Britain primarily Black women and how they interact with British society. What made it so divisive is the ways in which we were exposed to differing opinions on how one should live their life which we had some discussion with in our meeting. Issues of transphobia, racism, misogynoir were teased out in our meeting in a respectful manner, as we uncovered both the lives and the prejudices of the characters in the book.
What are you reading right now?
We are reading Another Country by James Baldwin, a very important gay man in Black American history, as part of the Black History Month in the United States. We would encourage any Black person or person of colour, regardless of whether or not they're queer, to feel welcome to attend our book club meetings! Our next meeting is on the 12th of March, but you can keep up to date with all upcoming meetings by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Your recommended read?
We would recommend reading the Combahee River Statement, in order to properly appreciate what identity politics can offer.