In a bid to encourage people to educate themselves about systemic racism, Emma Watson has shared her current reading list on Instagram. After acknowledging the ways in which she, as a white person, has benefited from white supremacy in an earlier statement on social media, the actor encouraged her 57 million followers to join her in picking up books by authors including Ta-Nehisi Coates and David Olusoga.
“Self-education is an essential part of any anti-racist journey, and reading has always been a huge part of my personal learning,” Watson wrote, alongside a painting by Natalie Lauren Sims. “In 2016, I started @oursharedshelf, a book club to create conversations around intersectionality, feminism, and equal rights and to profile feminist writers,” she continued. “Many of the writers and books we featured over the years are relevant to anyone wanting to understand that the struggle for racial justice has been a long one, that ALL Black Lives Matter and women’s voices are a vital part of any movement for change. Alice Walker, Bell Hooks, Maya Angelou, Roxane Gay, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Angie Thomas, Audre Lorde, Brittney Cooper, and Toni Morrison are just some of the authors we featured and which I urge you to check out if you haven’t already.”
More recently, Watson has been working her way through multiple reads by people of color. “I hope you’ll pick these up and read along with me,” she wrote.
Here, British Vogue takes a closer look at her educational reading list.
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
Published in 1961 by psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth made him the leading anti-colonialist thinker of the 20th Century. Writing about the trauma of colonization, Fanon’s text inspired anti-colonial movements thanks to its analysis of race, violence, class, and culture in a fight for freedom.
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Published in 2018, Coates’s book is essential reading in an understanding of race in America today. We Were Eight Years in Power looks at Barack Obama’s presidency and Trump’s thereafter, by delving into the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of white supremacy.
Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire
Published in 1955, Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire inspired a generation of activists fighting for liberation. In the text, Césaire describes the harsh impact of both capitalism and colonialism.
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Published in 2016, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor delves into how the Black Lives Matter movement sparked a new wave of activists. Taylor’s analysis looks at unemployment within the black community and increased police violence.
Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga look at the longstanding history between Britain and the people of Africa and the Caribbean in Black and British: A Forgotten History.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Published earlier this year, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo follows the different lives of 12 women. All young, black and British, it paints a picture of contemporary life in the UK.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Published in 2016, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is educational in helping to understand race. Moving from a personal narrative to a reimagined history, it’s intimate and remarkable.
White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society by Kalwant Bhopal
Published in 2018, White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society by Kalwant Bhopal explores the impact of race on multiple issues in our world today, from inequality to difference in society.
I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
Written as a memoir of essays, I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi (a Nigerian-American immigrant) explores her own mental health and diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety.
The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain by Beverly Bryan, Stella Dadzie, & Suzanne Scafe, Lola Okolosie
First published in 1985, The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain reclaims black women’s rightful place in Britain’s history. Long excluded from the narrative, it documents their experiences with work, education, and political struggles.
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla and others
Published in 2016, The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla and others brings together 21 black, Asian, and ethnic minority voices in the UK today. Delving into what it means to be an immigrant in modern Britain, makes for a compelling (and educational) read.