The much-talked-about UN #HeforShe campaign launched earlier this week, bringing the issue of gender inequality to the forefront of the media.
In a nice bit of synchronicity, Friday 19th September was also the For Books’ Sake fourth birthday party. If you haven’t heard of them already, For Books’ Sake are changing the literary scene; the not-for-profit, volunteer-run company are campaigning for equality in the representation of female authors. Currently only 25% of book reviews focus on books written by women and for the past four years For Books’ Sake have been dedicated to addressing this imbalance through writing reviews, featuring female authors on their website and hosting literary events.
The Unbounders were invited to the birthday celebrations at a special boat location. So, sea legs at the ready, we headed to Tamesis Dock to show our support and hear three talented – but very different – female author readings.
Sarah Perry – After Me Comes the Flood
Sarah Perry read from her debut novel, After Me Comes the Flood, a haunting story of John Cole’s arrival at a remote house inhabited by strangers who have been expecting him. Sarah confessed that after publication she was filled with a sense of terror at the realisation that people would be reading her book. She needn’t have worried; the book has received a fantastic reception and has been long-listed for the Guardian First Book award. She also thanked the important work For Books’ Sake does “for obscure women writers”. I’m sure Sarah won’t be considered an obscure writer for much longer.
A. Bello – Emily Knight: I Am
Author A. Bello regaled us with her tale of reluctant superhero warrior, thirteen-year-old Emily Knight. A “mix of X-Men and Harry Potter”, Emily Knight: I Am sees the young protagonist battling to control her supernatural powers whilst struggling to fill the shoes of her absent father and brother. You can find out more about A. Bello and Emily here.
Sabrina Mahfouz – Poetry
Sabrina Mahfouz wowed the crowd when she performed her powerful poetry exploring the modern ideas surrounding femininity and the body. Her limitless energy shone through all three of her poems, particularly one in which a woman seizes her body with two hands and reclaims it for herself. Humorous yet thought-provoking, Sabrina’s poems encapsulated the importance of ensuring every voice is heard and illuminated the image issues facing many women today.
The Unbounders had a great night meeting the For Books’ Sake team in perhaps one of the coolest possible locations for a party. Most importantly we learnt a lot more about the great cause to which For Books’ Sake has dedicated itself and the significant work that they are doing for female writers. The #HeforShe campaign may have brought gender equality to the attention of mainstream media, but For Books’ Sake continue to be footsoldiers for the equality for female writers everywhere. To find out more about the team, how you can get involved or to discover some wonderful authors, read here.
Thanks all for having us!
No party is complete without cake, and if there were ever to be a competition, this beauty would win it. Great British Bake Off eat your heart out!