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After the Crisis of the Last Year: This Is How We Come Back Stronger

Posted on 22nd February 2021 by Mark Skinner

Boasting a remarkable roster of literary talent from Sara Collins and Lisa Taddeo to Laura Bates and Yomi Adegoke, This Is How We Come Back Stronger is an anthology of writing born out of Feminist Book Society's author events and discussions. In this exclusive piece, the editors of the anthology explain how the pandemic hastened the necessity for such a volume and what they hope will be its lasting legacy.  

We are Feminist Book Society, the proud editors of This Is How We Come Back Stronger, an inspiring and fiercely optimistic new feminist anthology that we are determined will turn crisis into empowering change.

Feminist Book Society began as an events series: a monthly night of conversations in Waterstones stores with feminist writers from totally different genres discussing themes pertinent to their writing and to us as feminists – a place to hear and join in with the kind of wide-ranging, inclusive discussions you just can’t find anywhere else. Our speakers have included some of the world’s most prominent authors, alongside new and emerging voices – and now we meet virtually, bringing together global audiences.

When the pandemic hit, it became horrifyingly clear that it was going to worsen the conditions for essential debate, action and progress in the fight for gender equality. And change came quickly: not even a week into lockdown in the UK, we started seeing reports of heightened threat in just one area that disproportionately affects women and non-binary people of all backgrounds and experiences, and where gender inequality is a matter of life and death – calls to domestic abuse helplines were up by 49%.

Feeling helpless as we sat isolated in our homes, we put our heads together. What could we do? We wanted to make practical, lasting contributions, but like so many people, we had no idea where to begin. We took a step back. What do we do best? Words. Bringing people together. We create conversations – conversations which inspire people and have a lasting impact.

So we decided to use the best resources we had: our platform and our networks. We contacted some of the amazing authors we’ve hosted at our Feminist Book Society events, as well as others that we’ve admired – and asked them for their words. We were astonished by the response we got. And out of that response, we’ve put together an international, intersectional project that we are determined will, in some small way, turn this crisis into change.

Our anthology prioritises and platforms the work of an inclusive and incisive group of feminist writers, giving them an opportunity to highlight their vastly different experience of life over the past year. We asked them to capture a moment and share with us the thoughts, issues and hopes most on their minds as the year progressed. And, crucially, to offer thoughts on what will come next in the fight for equality. 

Our goal is to spark debate, to amplify feminist voices, to respond to this unprecedented moment, to inspire readers in their own individual journeys, and to champion feminist leadership in what happens next. We also aim to use our work and our words to direct support to the continuing, urgent and essential work of charities on the frontline of the fight against domestic abuse.

A unique collaboration with brilliant indie publishers And Other Stories in the UK and The Feminist Press in the US, This is How We Come Back Stronger is the feminist anthology for 2021, an anthology that will inspire, empower, comfort, ignite debate and drive action. Most importantly, 20% of the cover price for every sale goes to domestic abuse charities Women’s Aid and Imkaan.

Our contributors are: Amelia Abraham, Yomi Adegoke, Rosanna Amaka, Laura Bates, Fatima Bhutto, Lauren Bravo, Molly Case, Catherine Cho, Sara Collins, Melissa Cummings-Quarry and Natalie A. Carter, Juli Delgado Lopera, Lindsey Dryden, Stella Duffy, Sarah Eagle Heart, Fox Fisher, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Mireille Cassandra Harper, Kerry Hudson, Akasha Hull, Juliet Jacques, Jude Kelly, Dorothy Koomson, Kuchenga, Helen Lederer, Francesca Martinez, Gina Miller, Jessica Moor, Kate Mosse, Jess Phillips, Layla F. Saad, Radhika Sanghani, Jenny Sealey, Shaz, Lisa Taddeo, Michelle Tea, Virgie Tovar, Sophie Williams

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