Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty is guided by a simple argument: that motherhood is the place in our culture where we lodge – or rather bury – the reality of our own conflicts, of psychic life, and what it means to be fully human. Mothers are the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failings, for everything that is wrong with the world, which becomes their task (unrealizable, of course) to repair. To the familiar claim that too much is asked of mothers – a long-standing feminist plaint – Rose adds a further dimension. She questions what we are doing when we ask mothers to carry the burden of everything that is hardest to contemplate about our society and ourselves.

By making mothers the objects of licensed cruelty, we blind ourselves to the world’s iniquities and shut down the portals … More

Born OTD in 1759, English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences.

Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should receive a … More

Born OTD in 1947, Irish civil rights leader and former politician, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. After engaging, on the side of the residents, in the Battle of the Bogside, she was convicted of incitement to riot in 1969, for which she served a short jail term. After being re-elected in the 1970 general election, Devlin declared that she would sit in Parliament as an independent socialist.

Having witnessed the events of Bloody Sunday, Devlin was infuriated that she was later consistently denied the floor in the … More

“Ordinary is what most people are and I am not. I am not ordinary at all. I am a scientist. One stormy night, a group of villagers are struck by lightning. The only survivor is a baby – Mary Anning. From that moment on, a spark is lit within her. Growing up poor but proud on the windswept Dorset coast, Mary follows after her father, hunting for fossils uncovered by waves & landslips: ancient creatures, turned to stone. Ignoring other people’s taunts, Mary faces danger to bring back valuable treasures to help feed her family. But tragedy and despair is never far away..

Mary must depend upon her unique courage and knowledge to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist in a time … More

Born OTD in 1944, Australian-born, British-based socialist feminist academic and activist, author of many books & articles, & participant in many campaigns, from local community to international, Lynne Segal. Why are we so obsessed by the pursuit of happiness? With new ways to measure contentment we are told that we have a right to individual joy. But at what cost? In an age of increasing individualism, we have never been more alone & miserable. But what if the true nature of happiness can only be found in others? In Radical Happiness, leading feminist thinker Lynne Segal believes that we have lost the art of radical happiness the art of transformative, collective joy.

She shows that only in the revolutionary potential of coming together it is that we can come to understand the … More

Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, is back with a brand new wildly brilliant and accessible book about incredible women in the world of work. What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a BIG question that everyone is asked from an early age. Discover eye-opening facts about a collection of go-getting women who have pioneered careers in a kaleidoscope of different industries.

Join scientists, doctors, athletes, hot-air balloonists and more, journey back in time with these brave, bold and brilliant women and … More

Born OTD in 1944, American political activist, academic, author & a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s, Angela Y. Davis. The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America’s most historic political trials, & no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Angela, including contributions from numerous radicals & commentators such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale & Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration & the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive & thorough analysis of the prison system of the United States & the figure embodied in Davis’s arrest and imprisonment-the political prisoner.

Since the book was written, the carceral system in the US has grown from strength to strength, with more of … More

Since her suicide in 1963 at the age of 30, Sylvia Plath has become a strange icon. This book addresses why this is the case and what this tells us about the way culture picks out important writers. The author argues that without a concept of fantasy we can understand neither Plath’s work nor what she has come to represent.

She proposes that no writer demonstrates more forcefully than Plath the importance of inner psychic life for the wider sexual … More

Born on 9 January 1908, French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir. Of all the writing that emerged from the existentialist movement, Simone de Beauvoir’s groundbreaking study of women will probably have the most extensive and enduring impact. It is at once a work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, from the pen of a writer and novelist of penetrating imaginative power.

In 1946, Simone de Beauvoir began to outline what she thought would be an autobiographical essay explaining why, when she … More