Deborah Frances-White: My Five Favourite Books

Photo of Deborah Frances-White for her Bookshelfie episode

In this week’s Women’s Prize Podcast, Yomi Adegoke hosts a Bookshelfie with Deborah Frances-White, comedian, host of The Guilty Feminist, and lifelong book lover (“I was one of those kids who have a torch under the covers when I was meant to be asleep”). Their warm conversation ranges from discussions of her overflowing inbox, to exploring white supremacy, sisterhood, intersectional feminism, and why Deborah is a better feminist now than when she started her podcast.

Read on for Deborah’s five favourite books by women, and you can listen to her episode in full here.

Underfoot in Show Business

It’s a book about show business, where fame is the stock in trade. Each year there are hundreds of stagestruck…

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“Her story is not one of great success, her story is one of great effort, and joy in that effort, and all of the wonderful funny things that happen to you along the way and the people you meet. It’s a celebration of a life well lived, doing the thing you want to do and not allowing success to be your metric – seeing that life isn’t success.”

The Mill on the Floss

Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her…

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“I remember finishing it in Holland Park Tube station, because I got off the Tube., and I was so compelled, I couldn’t leave without finishing it. I sat down on a bench in a quiet part of the station, finished it and wept, on my own. I was so broken by this book but I was like “Well, this book has ruined my life.”

Song of Solomon

Macon ‘Milkman’ Dead was born shortly after a neighbourhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at…

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“This was picked for me by somebody else, and I had to read it so I could discuss it. And I was like, “Where has Toni Morrison been all my life? This is absolutely the best book I’ve ever read.” It’s beyond anything else I’ve ever read. If you have not read any Toni Morrison, I am about to change your life. And I want you to tweet me “@DeborahFW Thank you. You’ve changed my life…”

Lullaby Beach

Lullaby Beach takes the reader on a journey through three generations of a complicated, close-knit family whose joys and misfortunes…

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“If you want to get a greater understanding of Windrush through fiction, this is a wonderful way to do it. Stella is such an intersectional feminist, there are all sorts of wonderful things explored. Coming through fiction and being caught up in a story is a great way sometimes to explore things that otherwise we might find very traumatic to deal with.”

“It’s about a young woman in a relationship with a man who just disappears, and completely stops contacting her. At the same time, her father is losing his memory because of Alzheimer’s. I think these are very important and relatable 21st century topics. In some ways Dolly is a modern day Jane Austen, because she writes about dating and manners. I’m sure ghosting has existed for centuries, just not in the digital sense.”

Listen to the full conversation on the Women’s Prize for Fiction Podcast here >

If you enjoyed Deborah Frances-White‘s Bookshelfie, make sure you subscribe to the podcast as next week Yomi will be joined by DJ and novelist Annie Mac.

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.