Laura Whitmore: ‘I always have a book in my bag’

Love Island is back on our screens, which means summer has truly arrived and you’re probably in need of a good holiday reading list. We’ve got you covered! This week on the Women’s Prize podcast host Vick Hope catches up with TV presenter, author and the nation’s favourite cupid, Laura Whitmore, to find out about her five reading essentials (plus a couple of honorable mentions). From rousing poems to absorbing novels, Laura gives us plenty of inspiration for the season ahead.

Keep on reading for a peek at Laura’s top picks and listen to the episode here for the fascinating conversation in full. 

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

Sometimes Sara Pascoe confuses herself. She gets wildly and pointlessly jealous. She spends too much time hating her bum. And…

Explore this title

‘It’s funny, it’s smart, it’s sad … Although it’s about the female anatomy, I think it’s an incredible read for any man as well. [Sara Pascoe] talks a lot about her body, about consent, about abortion and about relationships … It’s the one book I say everyone should read.’

Against Love Poetry

These powerful poems are written against the perfections and idealizations of traditional love poetry. The man and woman in these…

Explore this title

‘Ireland is a beautiful island of saints and scholars, as they say, but poetry was always a man’s preserve in Ireland. And then came Eavan Boland, who basically shook the patriarchy to its roots and changed the canon forever.’

Love Warrior

… Just when Glennon Doyle was beginning to feel she had it all figured out – three happy children, a…

Explore this title

‘You can have so much love coming at you … but until you love yourself, or until it comes from you, the pain won’t stop, the suffering won’t stop. So you can’t put the blame on other people … I felt very lucky that I read this book when I did, because it helped me grapple with things I was going through.’

Butterly:From Refugee to Olympian, My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph

It’s important the world understands what many ordinary people must endure to find a safe place to live.If it will help…

Explore this title

‘I just can’t believe this is a real story … It’s an insight into the challenges for those who are trying to settle into different cultures … I think for lots of young women who are finding themselves displaced, to have [Yusra] as a role model is beautiful.’ 

The Girl With The Louding Voice

All you have are your words. Meet Adunni, a teenage girl born into a rural Nigerian village. Aged fourteen, she…

Explore this title

‘It’s a beautifully written book about how courage can get you through … It’s one of those books I need to read in the privacy of my own home and not on the bus. I’ve done some ugly crying on buses.’ 

To hear more about the books Laura likes to press into the hands of her friends listen to the full episode here. And don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast for more brilliant book chat from guests including Emma Dabiri, Minnie Driver and Sara Pascoe.

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.