Spotlight on Her Voice Bookclub

Jennifer

Here at Avid Reader we facilitate ten different Bookclub meetings over the first week of each month. As bookclubs coordinator I’d like to introduce you to the character of some of our bookclubs via short interviews with our talented, interesting and at times quite passionate, bookclub facilitators.

Her Voice is a bookclub that features and celebrates female perspectives across diverse genres of fiction and non-fiction. 

Being a relatively new bookclub, Her Voice is still growing and establishing its membership, so if you're looking to join a bookclub this one would be an easy one to step into, either on your own or with a friend.

I sat down with Kasia Janczewski, who runs Her Voice along with Mary Sullivan, to chat about the bookclub and the rationale behind her magnificently eclectic reading choices.


J: What made you want to start Her Voice?

K: Mary and I actually already had an unoffocial bookclub of our own for a couple years when she was my beauty therapist and we would talk about books during my waxing appointments! When I returned to work for Where the Wild Things Are after a few years of my departure from Avid Reader, during which I was a teacher and then gave birth to my twin children, I wanted to sink my teeth back into intellectual discussion with my own bookclub but wanted a point of difference from all the other amazing ones that were on offer and well established. I decided that I wanted to platform and explore all the incredible female voices, stories and perspectives I could see on the shelves across various genres from Classic to Contemporary Literature and Non-fiction. I also knew I wanted to co-run the bookclub due to the unpredictability around having two young children, so I thought who could be better to join me on my new feminist voyage than Mary? We had wrestled with so many feminist concerns, when discussing books during my appointments, so I contacted Mary and she was keen for us to do it together!   

J: You curated such an interesting reading list over 2018. What has guided your reading choices for Her Voice?

K: We are both interested in sharing and exploring as wide a diversity of female perspectives as we can across cultures, history and paradigms. We aim to present and experience the complexity and breadth of what women go through in order to connect with them, but also challenge and open up our own points of view and hopefully facilitate that experience for our members. We basically want to blow up the constructs we often don't even realise we have until we read and have to discuss material that confronts our 'normal'!

J: What are your hopes for Her Voice in 2019?

K: A wider membership of diverse voices for our juicy discussions! Everyone is welcome!

J: Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford was voted Best Bookclub Book of the Year by Her Voice members. What made it the winning title?

K: Ford's latest book was validating, hilarious, shocking and heartbreaking for all our members for different reasons. It really blew the lid off how certain injustices and oppression are normalised, and not only accepted but encouraged by the patriarchal structures that govern our society. It made us rethink what we accept as women and for men, and how devastating and confining this can be for both genders and those who do not conform to those binaries. Definitely a reread!

Her Voice is a bookclub for anyone interested in fresh perspectives and challenging the status quo! Join the discussion with co-facilitators Kasia Janczewski and Mary Sullivan at 7.00pm on the first Thursday of every month.

February’s discussion will focus on My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh and in March Her Voice will discuss My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

If you would like to know more, email Jennifer at [email protected]