We’ve long been committed to promoting women who write, and as this year sees the anniversary of some of the landmark moments on the path to gender equality it felt like the perfect time to do something really big. In that spirit, we’re extremely proud to present Phenomenal Women, our year-long celebration of great books by great women. Throughout the year each of our shops (and our website too) will host revolving displays made up of women writers from across a range of genres and subject areas. Every month we're also choosing one modern classic to offer at half-price, by way of an introduction to an author's body of work.
So, go on: read a Phenomenal Woman today.
Elif Shafak is a supreme storyteller. With each book I read, I admire and love her work more. They are perfect slices of the everyday and the unusual sandwiched with piercing social critique. There’s not one that doesn’t grab you heart and soul and fill you with magic and wonder. I recommend them all, but The Bastard of Istanbul is a great place to start if you haven’t read any yet. It is predominantly set in contemporary Istanbul with the Kazanci family, three generations of women under one roof, but takes in the Armenian-American community and a swathe of history. There are so many vital themes touched upon - memory; family; community; naming; language; history - that it takes a deft hand to weave them into the narrative while not disturbing its rhythm and life. Shafak is that deft hand. It is a generous book, full of warmth and hospitality. It also has a moral core that allows for a world in which wrongs can be atoned for in unconventional ways.
Sarah Digital Content Manager
£8.99 Buy now for £4.49
The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya
To survive the horrors of genocide is extraordinary but to then have the capacity to forgive would seem superhuman.
But that is exactly what Clementine Wamariya manages to do in this epic and transformative account of her journey both physical and emotional from war torn Rwanda to the 'Land of the Free'.
Jasper, Buying Team
No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein
If, like me, you’re more than a little scared and angered by the world we find ourselves living in, this book offers something important – hope. Klein starts by setting out how we’ve managed to get here, and the terrifying things we can expect to see over the coming years, but then moves on to set out a coherent, cohesive and holistic set of ideals on which to base a radically different society on. Based on The Leap Manifesto these ideals set out a way that we can live in a truly equal and sustainable world. It is no longer enough to simply say no, it is time to offer something different.
Lauren, Charing Cross Road