Anti-racist activist, author and #TEDxLondonWomen speaker Sophie Williams has kindly agree to share the 5 books that made her – enjoy!

As part of the celebration of my TEDxLondonWomen talk going live, I was asked to write a short blog about the 5 books that made me. It was a hard choice to make, but here are my selections!

1. Quick, Let’s Get Out Of Here by Michael Rosen

As a child, my first love of books was fostered through audiobooks. I very clearly remember going to the library with my mom each Thursday (the best day to go because that was the day it was open the latest) and maxing out both mine and her borrowing capacity for books on tape. 

Listening to Michael Rosen’s self-read poems about his life was the first time I realised that words could be fun, as well as functional, and I firmly blame/credit him for my life long love of words.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another book that I first discovered as an audiobook, The Handmaid’s Tale is a beautiful example of storytelling with a message – and an eye to the future. Atwoods feminism and biological futurism is always so fascinating to me, and there has been more than one moment in my life when I’ve been scared by a challenge (like doing a TEDx talk, perhaps) and have thought ‘c’mon – June could do this.’

3. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book is a masterpiece. Everything about it, from the writing to the marketing campaign (large excerpts from the book posted to billboards), is chef’s kiss perfection.

4. Work Wife: The Power of Female Friendship to Drive Successful Businesses by Erica Cerulo & Claire Mazur

Highlighting and celebrating the power of female friendships in business, Work Wife is a small, but perfectly formed book. Work Wife looks at several female owned and run businesses and does deep dive interviews with their founders in a way that’s so human and honest you can’t help but be drawn in. I love it, and have gifted it to many of the amazing women I’ve been lucky enough to work with.

5. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Davis

Angela Davis is incredible. Obviously. And Freedom Is a Constant Struggle is certainly no exception to that rule. This book is a collection of essays, interviews, and speeches, on topics from Black Lives Matter to prison abolition, which are sadly as pertinent and needed today as they were the day the book was published. Angela Davis is a life long inspiration and if you get the chance to read her work, or see her speak, jump at that chance!

We’d like to say a big thank you to Sophie for providing these 5 books that made her! Let us know what books made you – tag us on social media @tedxlondon on Instagram and Twitter. Remember you can watch Sophie’s talk on here.

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