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Black Women Writers and Radical Friendship

‘It began with an email of simple praise. A senior scholar reached out to me about my academic writing. Her words were hospitable and soft; and, I responded. Now, almost a year later, we continue to write…’ Celeste Henery on the radical importance of friendship for Black women writers and scholars.

Radical Friendship

This is the first in a series of pieces about Radical Friendship. The feature is intended as an exploration of different configurations of friendship, both intimate and symbolic, and the radical potential of these relationships.

Deliberative Friendship in the 1790s

The opening stages of the French Revolution helped generate widespread enthusiasm for reform in Britain.  It did so especially amongst a group of intellectual and literary women and men who contributed to the emerging ‘revolution controversy’ in pamphlets, poetry and novels and were bonded together by acquaintance and friendship in an increasingly febrile political atmosphere.

Striking Solidarity: Friendship and the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike

There are many stories of friendship during the miners’ strike. The importance of this was in part the sense – in the middle of extraordinary hostility from multiple directions – that they weren’t alone. One Cannock miner talked about the support from London printworkers: ‘although the money aid is crucial to our cause, the feelings of warmth and friendship and solidarity with which they bring with them gives us heart to carry on the fight.’ The long-term, mutual and egalitarian relationships signalled by the word ‘friendship’ during the miners’ strike should be embedded in our organising, anticipating the type of world we want to make.