There is a handful of English bookshops in Paris, for those who know where to find them. Yet none of them are as famous as the one standing in the shadows of Notre-Dame, the one with yellow and green lettering. The one known as Shakespeare and Company.
Since August 2019, French authorities have issued over 450 fines for sexist behaviour, with new legislation threatening fines in excess of up to €750 for being caught cat-calling or shouting degrading comments.
When I hear Fleabag declare that she has a terrible feeling that she’s a “greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can’t even call herself a feminist”, I feel relief. Most days, I have the exact same worry.
It’s 4am in America, a Tuesday in March 2016. In a haze, you notice something start to go wrong with the TV. It seems as though it’s picking up CCTV footage of a suburban family, preparing for a kid’s party while a teen lies silently on the floor – apparently sulking.
The heart of World Book Day is encouraging book haters to become book lovers, to tackle the elitist stereotypes around reading, to give a child a form of escapism. How can we not justify this scheme being useful for adults?
“When I write, I’m not a woman, I’m not a Moroccan, I’m not a Muslim, I am whatever I want.… Love has no nationality,” says author Leïla Slimani. This raises the question, and a paradox for our age: Should authors from a minority background be restricted to writing novels based on their own experience?
Mainstream literature can learn a lot from YA fiction about writing characters. It should be remembered that not all characters need to be straight and white. YA provides a great, safe place for BAME and LGBT+ writers and readers alike to see themselves represented.