It’s important that we try to stay connected during this lonely time. A lot of us have regular contact with friends, family and work colleagues which has stopped since the world went into lock down. Something I want to talk about today is a brand new online platform which can help you to join a book club during self-isolation.
Women’s Writes is an online platform offering free events through Zoom, including a weekly book club on a Monday evening. It’s founder is Sophie McDermott, an intelligent, strong woman who I have the pleasure of calling my friend. Sophie is dedicated to reading, technology and feminism. She has combined these passions to create this amazing online space for making feminism accessible to women and men all over the world.
“Fundamentally, our growth is based on one value – that we are elevating and empowering women’s voices, and we want everyone to feel there is a story there for them to connect to.“
– Sophie McDermott, Founder of Women’s Writes
What’s included in the membership?
At the moment, the Women’s Writes platform is completely free for you to join! With affordable memberships due to be released in the summer, you have plenty of time to try Women’s Writes for yourself! Find out if this is a community for you – I think you’re going to love it! The events are hosted at different times during the week to accommodate for different time zones, as well as ad hoc events.
HOW TO GET FREE MEMBERSHIPS
Donations to the site during this start-up phase will get you freebies!
£10 will enter you into a raffle for a stack of free books!
£40 will get you TWO YEARS free membership!
£50+ will get you THREE YEARS free membership!
£100+ will get you a LIFETIME free membership!
Check out Women’s Writes Funding page here!
Once the memberships are launched, your monthly or annual fee will get you a whole bunch of exciting goodies. You can expect full access to the digital book clubs and speakers, discounts on merchandise and invitations to face-to-face events, globally! The memberships also offer add-ons such as receiving books every month, including never-seen-before pre-released manuscripts and gifts from female-run businesses.
And if that’s not enough, Women’s Writes is supporting a local charity by donating a portion of all sales and subscriptions. Found is a charity that does outreach into schools to work with young boys and girls about the importance of writing, literature, and voices.
Q&A with the founder!
The site has an amazing concept behind it, where did the idea for Women’s Writes come from?
Since before I can remember I would be devouring books. These stories introduced me to characters with vastly different world views. I went to study History and Politics at university where I focused very quickly on Feminist Theory and I was shocked at how women’s voices are being minimalised, ignored or even erased. The future of work is digital so I took a course on coding. I combined my passions of reading, feminism and digitalisation – that is how Women’s Writes began.
What has been your favourite Women’s Writes event so far?
Our very first book club, which was discussing Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez was definitely my favourite. I was amazed at how well attended! It was the first event and we had barely any followers, with women all over the world joining. The great thing about these clubs is that you don’t have to have read the book to join in discussion of the themes. I came away feeling empower and inspired to work harder than ever to make this business a success.
How would you like Women’s Writes to grow in the future?
I’d love to see a more international, and more cultural theme emerge. Because we are digital, there’s so much scope to host international authors, even in different languages, and work with women from vastly different cultures all over the world.
I’d also like to work closer with businesses. I have a particular interest in workplace equality, and diversity and inclusivity are a big part of this. By sharing women’s stories, women of colour, women with disabilities, women who are religious and so on, we can make feminism more accessible. I think part of the problem is that, by law we are ‘equal’. Actually, it is the more subtle societal inequalities affecting women every day that needs space to be discussed.
How to join a book club during self-isolation
Head over to Women’s Writes and check out their events page. When you find an event that you’d like to join, simply register for that event and you will receive an email to a link. On the day and time of the event, that link will allow you to join the meeting for free.
I attended my first online book club yesterday (without even reading the book first) and it was everything. If you want to grow intellectually, emotionally or spiritually, this platform is for you. I left the meeting feeling empowered, having met other women for the first time who, like me, wanted to be heard and validated.
And now you know how to join a book club and stay connected during this period of self-isolation! Lock down won’t last forever, but the empowerment and connections that you will make with Women’s Writes will stay with you for a lifetime.