Launch of Reclaiming The F Word

[This post was originally published in June 2010 on the website for the book Reclaiming The F Word, by myself and Kristin Aune. Since the website no longer exists, I thought I would publish it again here.]

On Thursday 3rd June we celebrated the launch of my book with Kristin Aune, Reclaiming The F Word! We’re proud to be part of a series of UK feminist books published recently, hopefully contributing to the debate along with Kat Banyard’s The Equality Illusion, Natasha Walter’s Living Dolls, Ellie Levenson’s The Noughtie Girls’ Guide to Feminism and Nina Power’s One Dimensional Woman.

If we’ve achieved nothing else, I hope that now people will no longer say that feminism is dead – if that happens, my work here will have been done!

The launch was an amazing evening and it was so lovely to be surrounded by friends and supporters, and a ton of amazing women, many of whom I hadn’t met in real life before. We also had a zine stall, which I was ridiculously excited about, organised by the excellent Marching Stars Distro – check it out!

(And, y’know, I’m sorry if this post is self-indulgent, but how often do you get to celebrate your book being published eh?)

Here’s myself (on the left) and Kristin (on the right) with Rose Holyoak, who assisted with the major survey, the results of which forms the appendix of the book. (In case you’re wondering, I’m wearing tons of badges from various feminist events I’ve attended over the years).

Me, Rose and Kristin

I actually got to sign books. Unbelievable!

Me and Karen

Here’s a small excerpt from our speech:

We intended our book to be partly a celebration of feminists today, to shine a spotlight on the feminist community that’s somewhat hidden from the mainstream. For that reason, we’ve included the voices of ordinary feminists themselves, activists, bloggers, campaigners and zinesters (many of you here tonight). To us, their words – your words – are just as important and valuable as successful feminist writers in the mainstream or famous feminists and they deserve recognition and praise.

For that reason, as you’ll have seen already, we’re very excited to have a zine stall here, kindly arranged by the Marching Stars Zine Distro. We hope this gives yet another small insight into the vibrancy and diversity of today’s grassroots feminists.

Leaning on Zines

We wrote this book because we wanted people to know about this. Even in these days of the internet, books remain hugely influential, and we know from our survey how important books are to people discovering feminism for themselves. It isn’t easy to get a popular feminist book published, and this book percolated around both of our heads for 7 or 8 years before it saw the light of day.

Writing a book is a solitary experience, and we mostly remember the endless procrastination with coffee mugs, books and papers scattered across the room – and a fair amount of Googling. But it has also been a very rewarding collaborative experience working together.

I [Catherine] would like to say that Kristin’s dedication and hard work have been an inspiration. Many a time my research consisted of emptying out my stack of zines all over the carpet and scouring them for useful quotes – meanwhile Kristin was slaving away in the British Library! I very much appreciate the way we were able to compromise together, and I’d particularly like to thank Kristin for not killing me when I adamantly over-estimated the word limit by 10,000 words…

Ruvani and Kika

Writing this book we’ve had a sense of being part of the wider feminist community – of our survey participants, people we interviewed, The F Word readers and contributors, people who read drafts of the book and academics and journalists who supported us. Thank you to all of them.

…We’d like to finish with a toast to all the hard working, brave feminists out there who’ve inspired us and continue to change the world. To the feminists!

Some more reports of the launch here:
Rarely Wears Lipstick
We Mixed Our Drinks

All photos from my own Flickr account


The new edition of Reclaiming The F Word with an updated Preface will be available in June 2013.

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