Emma Watson Curates Her ‘Essential Feminist Bookshelf’

Emma Watson feminist book club
Emma Watson runs an online feminist book club (Getty Images)

Emma Watson has chosen ten books for her “essential feminist bookshelf”, so if you were looking for something to read, look no further.

The actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador was invited to curate a collection to fill empty shelves in a library created in 1860 by Georgina Verney, “an enthusiastic champion of women’s reading, women’s education and ultimately, women’s suffrage”.

Georgina lived in Warwickshire mansion Compton Verney with her husband, the reclusive 17th Lord Willoughby de Broke. She worked hard to promote literacy in her local community and designed a “mock library” in her home, featuring imitation book covers to symbolise the absence of any real books available to women at the time.

Emma was tasked with “unsilencing the library” after the success of her online feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. Local school students, a prison reading group and Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson were also asked to take part.

Her eclectic selection include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which “articulates vividly what it feels like for a woman to lose power over her own body; Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which “makes the invisible visible and redeems people who seem irredeemable”;  and Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, which had Emma “laughing out loud” on a transatlantic flight.

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The list in all its feminist glory:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

Half the Sky by Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Persepolis: The Story of Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Unsilencing the Library opens on 28 June. Visitors are invited to “sit down, learn about Georgina, the history of the room and about what women read in the late Victorian era”. The curators’ choices will be freely available to read and will also be on sale in the gift shop.


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