January 8, 2016
Emma Watson is launching a feminist book club
by Zeljka Marosevic
On Tuesday, we asked Is Bill Gates the new Oprah? Today, we ask Is Emma Watson also the new Oprah, and maybe actually a better new Oprah?
Ok, ok, enough riddles.
On Wednesday, Watson created a stir on Twitter when she revealed she was considering launching a feminist book club. She tweeted:
Hi Team, ❤️ I want to start a feminist book club but so far have only brainstormed ‘Feminist Book Club’ and ‘Emma Watson Book Club’.
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) January 6, 2016
This was followed by a call for ideas for “a more inspiring name”:
I am almost certain there is a more inspiring name out there…. Does anyone have any thoughts ?! #Emma‘sBookClub — Emma Watson (@EmWatson) January 6, 2016
Watson was inundated with suggestions for a new name, and finally settled on “Our Shared Shelf.” Along the way, followers proposed potential book club members, including Taylor Swift and, of course, JK Rowling. Reading recommendations included the feminist writer bell hooks, who Watson met and took a selfie with in December:
It’s scary to meet people you admire. Will you disappoint?Will they? @bellhooks was ALL the things.And so LOVING too pic.twitter.com/kDfWh4yeCj
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) December 17, 2015
The move is not entirely surprising. In 2014, Watson was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and last year she launched the HeForShe campaign. She also holds a degree in English literature from Brown. And finally, she played Hermione Granger for 10 years; of course she wants to set up a book group. The only difference is that now she no longer has Harry and Ron cramping her style.
Watson promised there would be “More info coming soon…” and by the end of yesterday, Gloria Steinem had tweeted at Watson to say she wanted to be involved. A Goodreads page entitled “Our Shared Shelf” has since appeared with a letter apparently written by Watson herself. It reads:
As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.
The plan is to select and read a book every month, then discuss the work during the month’s last week (to give everyone time to read it!). I will post some questions/quotes to get things started, but I would love for this to grow into an open discussion with and between you all. Whenever possible I hope to have the author, or another prominent voice on the subject, join the conversation.
If you fancy it, please join up and participate. Everyone is welcome. I would be honoured!
Is Emma Watson the new Oprah? Probably not. But she may be just about to help sell a lot of feminist titles.
Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.