About the Book Club
My Body, My Book Club aims to connect people and create communities. We read fiction books (with the odd memoir here and there too) that deal with different aspects of how we understand bodily autonomy and exemplify how we can get involved and support each other.
Issues such as gender-based violence, racism, homelessness, displacement, abortion, obstetric violence, and the rights of marginalised communities, like the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ groups, are just some of the topics we cover.
How it Works
We know this is heavy stuff, but the book club hopes to foster empathy as well as raise awareness and question established narratives. Our main goal is to connect communities. So, for each session, we partner with a charity working with the subject we will be reading about in the novel, and we invite an expert on the topic to join our chat. (Also, all proceeds from the sale of tickets will be donated to the month’s charity.)
Too Busy to Read the Book?
We understand that people are busy and life happens – so please do join us even if you don’t manage to finish the book in time. We will also always provide other ways in which you can get involved and learn more about the subject in the "Next Book" section, whether it’s through a video or a blog post.
About the Host
Dr Julia Martins is a historian of the body, an activist, and an unapologetic bookworm. She is an Activism Outreach Supporter with The Vavengers, a member of the Charity Committee of the FGM Education Project, and an editor at the Feminist Perspectives Collective.
She writes about gender history and history of medicine, and how history can inform contemporary feminism.
My Body, My Book Club was launched as part of her involvement in the Abortion Rights UK Activist Bootcamp.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.
Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present.
Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison’s unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature.
We encourage everyone to borrow books from their local library, but if you plan on buying a copy, please do so through here. (All proceeds will go to the charity of the month.)
About our Guest
Joanna Wolfarth is an associate lecturer in the Global History of Art at The Open University, UK. A specialist in the cultural history of Southeast Asia, she now writes widely on art, gender, matrescence, and cultural histories. Her first book, MILK: An Intimate History of Breastfeeding is out now and explores the poetics and politics of feeding babies and maternal bodies.
UKAMB is a charity that supports human milk banking in the UK and was set up in 1997. Their motto is ‘Every Drop Counts’ and they believe that the provision of safe and screened donor breastmilk makes an important contribution to the care of the premature and sick infants who receive it. Their goal is to ensure access to donor milk to every child who would benefit from its use.