Gillian Anderson: ‘Why do we read if not to feel something?’

We are absolutely buzzing about this week’s episode of The Women’s Prize Podcast! Our lovely host, Vick Hope, was joined by award-winning film, television, and theatre actor Gillian Anderson to discuss the five books that have most impacted her life. Gillian also discusses the importance of proper representation in the arts, what she’s learned from filming Sex Education and her very exciting new project, Dear Gillian, inviting women from around the world to share their secret sexual fantasies. Tune into this exclusive episode of the Women’s Prize Podcast here. This is one you don’t want to miss.

My Secret Garden

Welcome to Nancy Friday’s secret garden, a hidden place where ordinary women are free to express the sexual dreams they…

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‘It’s quite shocking. But not necessarily in the way that you’d expect. The level of intimacy and honesty from the women who were interviewed is just completely extraordinary. Women are sharing their deepest fantasies in an unfiltered, raw way. That, you know, it’s almost as if they’re, they’re not masking themselves for a reader at all.’

Sorrow and Bliss

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her…

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‘I think it’s in the title, to be honest. I mean, it’s the duality of humour and despair. It’s one of those rare books that kind of makes you cackle with laughter one moment and then rips you off the next moment and utterly destroys and devastates you. I think that’s what you want when you go to fiction. At least that’s what I want.’

Three Women

All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a…

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‘It was unlike anything I’d ever read before. It’s narrative journalism. It had that kind of curious, incisive journalistic perspective. But it’s also a book that really cares about and honours its subjects. So it’s about these three women, but it’s really about who we are, as women. It asked big, profound questions about sexual power, politics, desire. It covers quite a lot when you dig down into it.’

Such A Fun Age

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive…

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‘I remember tearing through this book. Just desperate to know what was gonna happen and how any of these impossibly awkward situations are going to be resolved. I also found myself thinking back to it for months after I read it. You know, everything that Kiley Reid writes about in the book is painfully true.’

The Salt Path

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of…

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‘The journey takes them through not only the journey of releasing attachment to these material things, it takes them through the journey of letting go of the resentment of being forced to give up their life that they had built everything, that they had an attachment to that we as human beings are attached to. I think it hit me so hard’

To hear more about Gillian Anderson’s Bookshelfie choices and her groundbreaking new project, listen to the full episode here.

You can listen to the inspiration behind Dear Gillian, Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden with our partners Audible, where Friday’s full backlist is available. Want more great episodes like this one? Explore the rest of this season for brilliant book recommendations from guests, including Green MP Caroline Lucas and Women’s Prize-winning author Maggie O’Farrell, and hit subscribe to be the first to know when the next episode drops.

And don’t forget, wherever you are in the world and whatever age you are, you can write to Gillian with your most secret fantasies from now until the end of February. Head to www.deargillian.com to submit your

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.