Top 10 books for activists in 2020!

If you’re a book-nerd like me, then you’ll love the blog below. Find out the top book recommendations for activists from Bootcamp staff and graduates here!

This image shows 10 colourful book covers, split into two rows of five. The books show: Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit; Natives by Akala; Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown; Pride against prejudice by Jenny Morris; Impossible Desires by Gayatri Gopinath; New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; Prison: A Survival Guide by Carl Cattermole; Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown; How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell.
The top 10 books for activists picked by Bootcamp alumni and staff.

1. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

“It’s my favourite book and it’s always a good motivation to keep going when things seem bleak.”

Recommended by Becky, Bootcamp grad

2. Natives by Akala

“Excellent read or listen! Akala frames his personal experiences of the intersections of race and class in Britain of the 70s, 80s and 90s into today and broadens it into the historial, political context of globally and in the UK specifically. It’s a great insight into systemic injustice, the impacts of this and also touches on potential solutions.”

Recommended by Anu, Campaign Bootcamp Fundraising Manager

3. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown

“This book helped me find deep connections between activism, healing and community building. It’s easy to read – more like a conversation than a manual – but it will guide you in building sustainable community campaigns centred in healing justice. It’s revolutionary.”

Recommended by Nish, Campaign Bootcamp Environmental Outreach Coordinator

4. Pride against prejudice. Transforming Attitudes to Disability by Jenny Morris 

“One of the most influential British disability activists and theorists. This is a must-read to anyone who is involved in any type of social activism and human rights education.”

Recommended by Magda, Bootcamp grad

5. Impossible Desires, Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures by Gayatri Gopinath

“I like one of the last chapters which mentioned Bollywood nights in the UK, which reminded me of Hungama LDN.”

Recommended by Aza, Bootcamp grad

6. New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby

“This important book includes the writings of African diaspora women from around the globe, organised chronologically by decade of the writer’s birth. It documents the lived experience  and creative talents of black women through a combination of prose, poetry and essays.

It is a huge volume which will stand the test of time. It was launched on International Women’s Day 2019 and I am honoured to be a contributor. All of us waived our fees to provide an annual bursary for an African woman to study at SOAS.”

Recommended by Zita, Bootcamp grad

7. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

“I love this book. It imagines the historic underground railroad, a network of secret routes in the United States used by enslaved African-Americans to escape, as an actual underground train system operating in the 19th century. We follow Cora, an escaped teenage slave, on her haunting journey across and underneath America. I read it two years ago and it is the book I most want to return to for a second time.”  

Recommended by Rhianna, Campaign Bootcamp Community Coordinator

8. Prison: A Survival Guide by Carl Cattermole

“I met Carl at an event about prison abolition in which we explored ideas around transformative justice and community accountability. Carl is an ex-prisoner and campaigner, who wrote this book to help inmates cope with prison life, although I would recommend it to anyone. The book is thoughtful, heart-breaking, funny, and inspiring. For those without direct experience of imprisonment, it’s a real eye-opener to the bleak reality of prisons in the UK. It’s an easy read as well, for those of us who struggle to get through more wordier books!”

Recommended by Sophie, Campaign Bootcamp Programme Manager

9. Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown and Octavia’s Brood, edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha

“Octavia’s Brood is a collection of social justice-oriented sci fi and fantasy short stories. Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown is about the politics of feeling good, rooted in the belief that social change work should feel good!”

Recommended by Rowan, Campaign Bootcamp Interim Training Manager

10. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

“This is not a book of campaign strategy or tactics. This is a book that considers you as a whole person and the many roles you play within communities. The threads that tie the book together are technology, art, productivity, and creativity. Read it if you need reminding of what part you play as an activist as part of the wider tapestry of life.”

Recommended by Fiona, Bootcamp grad

Be the first to hear about new training opportunities:

Previous & Next Articles

Blog :

Communities of Resistance 2020 Conference Round-up!

Over 80 of our Bootcamp and Everyday Activism alumni attended our Communities of Resistance conference earlier this month. Read on to find out everything that we got up to...

Blog :

Pioneering the Polish disabled women’s movement

We sat down with Bootcamp grad Magda Szarota, one of Poland’s leading activists fighting for disability rights. Read about her experiences, from advocating at the UN and building grassroots movements.