Life is War – new HammerOn title

We are super excited to announce news of the next HammerOn title: Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania by Shannon Woodcock

It will be published 25 April 2016 in Paperback, Hardback and EPUB.

Life is War is a collection of oral histories that guides readers through the decades (1944-1992) in which everything was Book-cover-Life-is-War-Shannon-Woodcockcontrolled by the Communist Party; what work one could do, what food was available, and even who one could marry.

The reader accompanies Shannon, the author and historian, through intimate interviews with six Albanian men and women. We hear how everyday people survived shocking living conditions, political persecution and oppression dependent on ethnicity, political status, gender and sexuality.

This is a thorough and vivid history of lived communism in Albania, charting political and ideological shifts through the experiences of those who survived. Life is War stands as remarkable and profound testimony to the resilience of humanity in the face of unrelenting political terror.

An accurate and precise historical work, engagingly rendered from life narratives, it plunges the reader into the difficult emotional truths that are at the core of remembering Albania’s communist past.

Life is War is a valuable contribution to studies of everyday life under communism and dictatorship. Eloquently written and expertly researched, it will appeal to readers interested in life histories, war, communism, European history and trauma studies.

Cover design: Eva Megias

Fat Activism Launch 8 January Gay’s the Word

Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement by Charlotte Cooper

Official Book Launch!!!

Friday 8 January 2016 at Gay’s the Word, 66 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AB, 6.30-9pm

It’s the book you have been waiting for! And the launch event will be a blast.

Join Charlotte Cooper to discuss her new book at Gay’s the Word and get your mits on a copy.

Scrumptious non-alcoholic drink and cake will be available.

No formal booking, please just turn up!

Facebook event page here.

Pre-Orders are now available on this site.

Help Promote Fat Activism

As well as sharing our fabulous pre-order publicity video, Charlotte has compiled a list of ways you can promote Fat Activism.

Contact us about review copies or to invite Charlotte to speak at an event.

Here it goes…

Charlotte stands with Fat Activism books stuffed into stockings hanging from the wallNo money, no time

Tweet about the book, Instagram the cover, take and post a selfie.

Add me to your Facebook and Twitter and share stuff I post about the book.

No money, some time

Contact all the libraries you know and ask them to order a copy. Read the book. Borrow the book as many times as you like.

Blog the book.

Give me testimonials that I can use in book publicity.

Make art about the book and show it to people.

Nominate my book for an award.

Review my book for a website, magazine, newspaper, podcast, radio show, TV show, YouTube channel, book-selling website, cereal box, in fact anywhere that does reviews.

Write a better book and cite my book.

Write a paper and cite my book.

Write and tell me what you thought about the book.

Research how to promote a book about fat people with no money and few people and tell me what you find out.

Some money, no timeCopies of Fat Activism covered in fake snow and adorned with tinsel

Buy copies of the book for all your friends.

Buy copies of the book to donate to organisations you care about. This could include prisoners’ reading schemes, queer and feminist archives, fat activist groups, whatever floats your boat.

Tweet and social media the shit out of the book.

Some money, some time

Buy and read the book.

Invite me to speak about the book. I am a really good public speaker.

Organise an event supporting the book.

I will come to speak at any gathering or location, including bookshops, libraries, groups, Ladyfests, Anarchist Bookfairs, community researchers, classes, whatever! I will need travel and accommodation covered if it is far from London. I will need a place where I can sell books. NB. Act now, my calendar gets full pretty quickly.

Loads of money, loads of time

Let’s charter a yacht with a helipad and do a world tour.

Don’t know anyone

Get a copy of the book, read it in public and strike up a conversation with someone. Use the book as a cruising aid.

Know a few people

Buy and read the book and talk to your friends about it.

Invite your friends round to talk about the book, have a Fat Activist afternoon, make a zine together.

Know lots of people

Buy and read the book and tell everyone you know.

Tell me about people, events, places that would love to support this book.

Charlotte posing with the book sporting a camp poutHave a professional interest

Buy and read the book.

Invite me to speak. I will need travel and accommodation covered if you are far from London. If you are part of an institution that has funding, an endowment, resources, I would need you to pay for my labour, for which I have a sliding scale.

Get in touch if you are or know:

  • A fat-friendly journalist interested in writing or broadcasting about fat activism
  • An editor who wants to commission me to write about the book
  • Organisations that support work by small presses, that provide travel money for writers and activists, that support and disseminate research justice studies.
  • A health professional, an occupational therapist, a social worker who would like me to talk at their workplace
  • A teacher of any kind looking to teach the book, I can supply study questions
  • The hand-wringing boss of an obesity prevention NGO, a bariatric surgeon, the franchise holder of a diet company, or any other kind of tool of The Man. I am happy to show you what’s what. It may sting a little but you could grow to like it.

To be continued!

Fat Activism Pre-Orders Available Now

Pre-order your copy of Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement by Charlotte Cooper from today, 23 November.

Books will ship on 4 January 2016 to help you get through the post-holiday weight loss season.

All UK pre-orders will get a free badge and a special voucher you can print off to give to people as a gift.

Please share our promotional video widely.

Thanks to Emma Thatcher for making such a fabulous thing!

Recommendations for Charlotte Cooper’s Fat Activism…

…are coming in.

Here is a couple of them:

Charlotte Cooper’s fierce new book Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement should be required reading for scholars and activists. Cooper draws on extensive interviews with fat activists to render a trenchant analysis of our field of motion. She takes a penetrating look at activist efforts and self-understandings, eschewing easy praise in favor of discernment that ultimately promises to invigorate the movement.

Kathleen LeBesco, Marymount Manhattan College (Associate Dean)

Charlotte Cooper is once again in the vanguard of radical social change with this book about fat activism. She has captured the history of the fat rights movements, interviewed fat activists, and demonstrated the extensive and exciting breadth of fat activism in a global setting. Fat activism is often portrayed as ineffective when in fact its lack of conformity and interdisciplinarity can serve as a model for other social movements.

Esther Rothblum, Editor, Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society

Read more about Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, that will be published on 4 January, here.

HammerOn Book Production

Book production is a complex and collaborative task.

It involves working with authors, of course, but also proof readers, copy editors and graphic designers.

We are lucky enough to know and work with a range of talented people who help get our books out into the world.

This post is a celebration of designers and copy editors who actually make books become a real life thing, whose work often goes if not unnoticed, then at least unsung.

Way back in 2010 Michal William designed the HammerOn logo. He also typeset Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory. The wonderfully talented graphic designer and illustrator Caroline Duffy designed the cover.

Jan Martin designed the catalogue for Sistershow Revisited: Feminism in Bristol, 1973-1975, which is probably our swankiest book and showcases Jan’s aptitude for elegant graphic expression.

We worked with Tamzin Forster to produce The Exciting Life of Being a Woman and Prejudice and Pride: LGBT Activist Stories from Manchester and Beyond, two complex and ambitious books from a graphic design perspective.

Eva Megias has designed and typeset Are the Kids All Right?, The Para-Academic Handbook and Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement. Eva wins the prize for vibrant, ultra-gay design prowess.

Graeme Maguire helped design the cover concept for The Para-Academic Handbook.

Talented copy editors we have worked with include Hannah Austin of Austin Editorial and Natalie J Brown.

All of these folks are brilliant, hard working and creative maestros in their own right.

A massive thank you from HammerOn for helping us develop and grow.

Here’s to more books!


Fat Activism Pre-Order Badges

A badge saying Fat Activist pinched between a finger and a thumbYou will be available to pre-order Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement on this site from late November.

As part of the package you will receive this rather fabulous badge.

More news on how to pre-order will be posted soon!

Charlotte continues to blog about the book in the run up to publication in January.

Her latest post explores her worries about publishing the book, read more here.

If you are interested in covering Fat Activism in your magazine, blog, zine, newspaper, podcast, radio show, etc., contact HammerOn to discuss your ideas.


Fat Activism on Obesity Timebomb

Black and white cover of Charlotte Cooper's Fat Activism Over at Obesity Time Bomb Charlotte Cooper, author of the forthcoming HammerOn title Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, is blogging about the book in the run up to publication in January 2016.

Her first post discusses creating an index for her book.

She writes…

‘Doing the ground work for building an index is both boring and exciting. Trawling the text takes time and focus, it’s hard work, but the pleasure is in thinking about what this index might look like.

Here are some potential entries: Archives, Emotions, Grassroots, Killjoy, London Fat Women’s Group, Mama Cass, Power, A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline, Radical Lesbian Feminism, Research Justice, Spud Guns, Standpoint, Venus of Willendorf, White Supremacy.

How might my understanding of fat have been different if I’d come across an index like this when I was researching fat activism? I feel some grief that nothing like this was out there, and now some hope that it’s going to exist.

Maybe other fat activism indices will exist in the future too.’

Read the full post here.

Para-Academic Handbook – 1st Anniversary!

The Para-Academic Handbook is one year old!

To mark the occasion the editors have written these reflections…

If you have any para-academic stories, inspirations or grumbles get in touch and we will share them on the HammerOn blog!


When we decided to produce a collection of ‘para-academic’ voices it was because we felt that certain experiences were being marginalised, feelings were not being discussed and some things needed to be said. Knowing that our experiences are a small shred of what it means ‘to be’ a para-academic, we invited others to contribute.

We received texts, illustrations and photographs from people in Australia, South Africa, US, Ireland, UK and Germany. Contributions came from people who were employed at universities and from that myriad population who hover in that space in, between, alongside, against or outside the academy.

It is fair to say that the book is rooted in complex feelings associated with trying to find a way to express individual and collective dissatisfaction, anger, and discontent.

We know that some readers of the book have found it a little too bleak and in that bleakness not all that helpful. Negative criticisms of the university can perpetuate a certain tendency of academics to bemoan their lot rather than make reflexive and revolutionary changes of consciousness, sentiment, and practice. To be cynical is to stay rooted in a hegemonic posture; it doesn’t shift positions.

Our introduction was written from a place of political desperation and profound anger but we wanted that anger to be mobilised. The rest of the collection is populated by diverse voices, working experiences, writing styles and creative practices. The variety of voices and stories is itself an act of resistance against academic practice that is all too often homogenised, and stultifying.

The impulse to produce The Para-Academic Handbook was as a mode of resistance against the cannibalisation of the academy by neoliberal capitalism. It aims to create a platform for voices that share similar political affiliations.

It was also an opportunity for precariously employed, hourly paid lecturers to discuss how they felt, and how flexible labour conditions in the academy—which are of course not exclusive to it—affected them. Often this revealed frustration, but it also indicated points of negotiation and scholarly independence.

When we were editing the collection we didn’t consider para-academia in relation to debates about #altac (alternative academic careers). Indeed, nobody contributed an essay drawing on these debates.

This oversight of #altac debates perhaps reflects our concerns as scholars interested in the fate of knowledge and education within the university, and society at large.

We did not intend to highlight supportive networks and practices for those seeking to exit academic life; we wanted to foreground possibilities for the emergence of Other scholarly lives.

An #altac collection would, no doubt, offer many welcome resources for the large amount of people in this situation and we hope someone is collating it right now.

Crisis and worry, as Ruth Barcan has noted, might actually be the very architecture of the university – shaping it with a cynicism which can guarantee its authoritative position.

Hannah Arendt, across whose work hope and its discontents operates, was also painfully aware of the centrality of crisis for education. Writing in 1954 she wrote that, “Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable.”

For Arendt to write about education as that which can save the world from inevitable ruin in the spatial, political, physical and psychic devastation of the Second World War is a profoundly brave hope which, we fear, has been left unrealised.

Placing education as the fulcrum between a love and a responsibility for the wider world is learning to enact a little of utopia in the here and now.

The Para-Academic Handbook is not perfect. Its imperfections make it. In not being perfect, in being both bleak and hopeful, in being rough around the edges, it allows for possibilities, languages, feelings, practices, bodies, and imperfections all too often refused by the academy to take up some space.

The stories – the very different stories – collected in the volume are a performance of the education Arendt hoped for; one that aspires to responsibility and love.