Charlotte Cooper performs at #BodySpectacular this Friday

On Friday night Charlotte Cooper, author of the HammerOn smash hit Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, will dance at the Wellcome Gallery as part of their Friday night #BodySpectacular programme.

On her Obesity Timebomb blog Charlotte explains the background to the performance:

“My friend E puts on events and curates things, as is the modern way. Earlier this year she asked if I would like to talk about my book at something she was involved with at the Wellcome Collection in London. For those not in the know, the Wellcome Collection is one of the world’s most august museums on medical history. They are very hot on art as a means of understanding medicine and bodies that have been medicalised. Like fat people.

I said yes, I was thrilled to have been asked, and also daunted […]

The way in which fat is framed throughout the institution and its sister organisations is very retrograde based on my experiences of rubbing up against it as a visitor and researcher. The public face of the institution’s attitude to fat people is located in a display in their Medicine Now exhibit called Obesity. This consists of a sculpture, weight loss technology, diet books, audio recordings of anti-obesity proponents and a token fat woman, and objects implying that people have become less active and over-reliant on labour-saving devices. As a depiction of Obesity Epidemic rhetoric and medicalised obesity discourse, it is pitch perfect. I experience it as a hate zone.


So I proposed a dance that I would dance with Kay Hyatt in the Obesity gallery. We’ve been working on a piece that would be suitable, called ‘But is it Healthy?’ The people at the Wellcome Collection said yes”.

Read the full blog post here.

Charlotte and Kay will be dancing to a sound track composed of home made beats and voices of fat activists Diane Denne, Judy Freespirit, Aldebaran and Judith Stein recorded by Karen Stimson in 1980.

For those unable to get a ticket for the event you can listen to the sound track here:

But Is It Healthy Beats by Charlotte Cooper, featuring Diane Denne, Judy Freespirit, Aldebaran and Judith Stein recorded by Karen Stimson in 1980.

Charlotte has also made a new zine, The Blob, which is available to download from Obesity Timebomb.

We wish Charlotte the best of luck for her performance on Friday, knowing that she will be amazing, as always.

Power to the beefer and Kay!!!

Life is War – London launch Photos

TheWienerLibrary_LifeIsWar-1What a brilliant couple of days we had in London this week celebrating the launch of Shannon Woodcock’s awesome Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania.

Thanks to Eva Megias we have a beautiful set of images from Wednesday’s event at the Wiener Library, where the audience was treated to a captivating lecture.

Massive thanks again to the Wiener Library  and Housmans for being excellent and supportive hosts.TheWienerLibrary_LifeIsWar-6

Shannon will speak at two more events before heading back to Australia early next week.

On Sunday at E Per7shme, Tirana, 4-5pm, she will present material from the work.

On Monday 6 June Shannon will be talking at Hydra Books, Bristol, from 7-9pm.

Copies of Life is War will be on sale at both events, so if you haven’t got your mits on a copy, you can do it then.

All welcome!


Life is War – Events This Week!

This week the city of London will be treated to the presence of Dr Shannon Woodcock, life historian supremo and author of the awe-inspiring Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania.

post-card of Tirana, illustratedTuesday night we hit Housmans Book shop for an informal reading, followed by a Q & A.

The reading starts at 7pm, and entry is £3, which is redeemable against any purchase in-store.

Wednesday we take over the Wiener Library from 6.30-8pm.

Shannon will give a talk, and answer questions. There will be nibbles and non-alcoholic refreshments available too!! Free entry!

Paperback copies of the book will be on sale at all events. Shannon might sign your copy if you ask her nicely.

Following the London adventures, Shannon heads over to Albania for a launch on Sunday 29 May 2016.

This will take place from 4-5pm at E Per7shme, Rruga Jul Varibo Tirana.

Shannon will then come to Bristol on 6 June for a reading and author  Q & A at Hydra Bookshop, which starts at 7pm.

Join us!!!!


Advance Praise – Life is War

Advance praise for the next HammerOn title, Shannon Woodcock’s Life is War, published on 25 April, is hitting the HammerOn inbox.

Blendi Kajsiu, author of A Discourse Analysis of Corruption: Instituting Neoliberalism Against Corruption in Albania, 1998-2005 said ‘this book is one of those rare works that combines that best of two worlds, academia and literature. The book is rigorously academic in its investigation, analysis as well as the insights it offers. At the same time it reads like a novel that you cannot put down. Through moving individual life stories Woodcock allows the reader to peer into and understand everyday life in a totalitarian system. Hence, these are not the stories of some isolated and random individuals. They are carefully chosen and detailed accounts of individual struggles, suffering and survivals that sum up the life of a whole nation under an oppressive communist regime.

Its combination of academic rigor and literary skill sets this book apart from other works on communist Albania in particular and communism in general. As an academic work the book throws a unique and penetrative gaze on everyday life in communist Albania. One of its many academic merits here is that it dispels socially held notions in Albania about the strong rule of law under communism, as opposed to a lawless transition period, by disclosing how in everyday life Albanians experienced state power as highly arbitrary and unpredictable. As a literary work the book is unparalleled in its redemptive character as far as the victims of Albanian communism are concerned. Through the act of narration this book redeems the stories and lives of its characters, which would have otherwise perished in oblivion. One can hardly ask more of a book.’

Gail Kligman, co-author of the award-winning Peasants Under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962 saidLife is War gives voice to the experiences of Albanians—men, women, Romani, Vlachs among them—who survived Enver Hoxha’s notoriously repressive and increasingly isolated regime. The stories Shannon Woodcock chronicles enrich our limited knowledge of everyday life in Albania, and are a welcome addition to social histories and collected memory studies of the communist period in Eastern Europe.’

So far we have two events lined up to mark the publication of the book. Both events will take place in London, and we are working on a Bristol event. Launches will also take place in Albania, details to be confirmed. 

Author Reading with Shannon Woodcock and Q & A: Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania
Tuesday 24 May 2016, 7pm
£3 entry redeemable against any purchase
Housmans Book Shop, 5 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, London N1 9DX

Book Launch: Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania by Shannon Woodcock
Wednesday 25 May 2016, 6.30-8pm
The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide
29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP

Events and other news

Copy of Fat Activism in the window of Gays the WordHammerOn have a number of events lined up in the next few months.

All events are free, unless otherwise stated.

We are very excited to announce that the book launch for Shannon Woodcock’s Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania will take place at The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide, London, Wednesday 25 May, 6.30-8pm.

Charlotte will be talking about her book at Queers in the Pub: Fat Activism is a Queer Social Movement on 21 March 2016, 7.30pm, The Monarch, 40-42 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8BG.

Charlotte Cooper speaks into a microphone at the Fat Activism Book launchThere will also be a Fat Activism panel discussion with Charlotte Cooper, Noreen Giffney and Naomi Segal at Birkbeck University, London on 25 April 2016. More details on that coming soon.

We hope to confirm tables at a number of radical book fairs in the coming weeks.

Another review of Charlotte’s book, written by Elaine Graham-Leigh, was published on Counterfire yesterday. Check it out!

As ever, you can get your copy of Fat Activism through the website in paperback or EPUB.

Photos from Fat Activism book launch taken by Eva Megias.