This whole pandemic has really put a lot of my life into perspective. I never before realised how much support and community meant to me. In fact, it is integral to my happiness and my motivation in life.
Pre-lockdown I thought I was basically invincible; I did not necessarily need a large support group and I definitely did not need to be supported online by anything like a book club. I liked to live in my very real life rather than online. But then lockdown hit me. I could not see my friends, or half of my family. The internet became my saviour, the thing I could turn to in order to regain my sanity. But instead of purely wasting my time aimlessly scrolling through the internet, I turned to joining a book club to enter into a new form of support: a community that has my back because we are all womxn who are being united in our love for books.
So what can Women’s Writes actually offer?
Without buying a membership, you can see that we are ALWAYS active on social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram. We run things alike audiobook challenges where we all listen to 30 minutes of the same audiobook and then discuss it at night, we run little fun literary quizzes, we offer the chance for discussions about our favourite books of 2020, our favourite indie bookshops, our favourite genres. We also offer many author events. An amazing day for us was when Lucy Cuthew took over our Instagram, and you could ask her questions about her new book. We also host Instagram lives with authors who are not involved with our book subscription service, but have new books coming out. We like to think we are actively seeking out newly published books so that you are being put at the forefront of the publishing world, seeing authors speak about books just as the world is beginning to realise how special these novels really are.
But what happens when you move from interacting with us on social media to becoming one of our members?
When you buy a subscription with us, you can buy either an online subscription or you can sign up to receive between one and two books a month through the post. This will be a book by a female author, and one that we will have a book club discussion on. We LOVE to engage with the author of this book, so you can expect to see author interviews within that month also. For me, this was a very new experience. Books were definitely detached from their authors for me, they were something I consumed and did not connect with someone very real with very real life experiences. But, these authors are so important. If a theme is important in a book, the author usually has a very good position to stand from regarding it, and so can educate us about this matter. Talking with them and listening to their opinions is such an enlightening (and enjoyable) experience.
But with a subscription what you also get is access to a LOT more events, as well as being a formal member of our community. Events that are only open to members mean that you get exclusive events with authors and exclusive book discussions, as well as other events that we decide to put on that month. And by moving the connection with Women’s Writes from social media to being part of our book club through membership, you are being welcomed even further into our network of support. You can talk to people through our member’s Facebook group, where you can chat about feminist topics, book recommendations and whatever you feel may interest you! You are seeing the same people on zoom each week and forming a friendship with them that allows you to pop up to them and message them asking what books you should buy when you know you both like thrillers. Just as you would go down to the pub for a quiz with friends, you can open up zoom and have our monthly quiz with your new found friends. We may all be up and down the country (and in more than one country), but we are a community; a virtual one, but a solid one.
I cannot tell you how important Women’s Writes has been to me during lockdown. I feel privileged to be a part of it, I love to help out with it, and I have found some of the most lovely friends and book recommendations. Becoming a member made me move from vaguely knowing some of the names that came to these events, to being friends with them.
Thank you, is all I have to say, and please do come and join us.
Soph Wilson x
Image by Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash