Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates

This book changed my writing, my perception of character, and my life. Richard Yates gives a freedom to his characters I had never encountered before. April Wheeler is the literary hero you didn’t know you needed – her bravery (and by extension Yates’ bravery) is an inspiration.

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton

I came to Lucille Clifton late and I’ve now made up for lost time. Here are poems of love, life, loss, womanhood, blackness, religion, family, America. This is poetry at its finest, most raw and playful, it is required reading for…everybody.

Music For Torching – AM Homes

I have a soft spot for suburban fiction but this book is something else entirely. AM Homes is Richard Yates on speed, showing us characters that are real people, there is no judgement, they are who they are, even though their actions and inaction have devastating consequences.

The World’s Wife – Carol Ann Duffy

I remember reading this book for the first time and whispering, yes, to myself. I love returning to old stories and looking at them from a different point of view. Duffy does this seamlessly with this extraordinary collection, each poem from the point of view of the unseen woman standing beside the famous man – Mrs Quasimodo, for example, who pisses on her husband’s bells as revenge.

The Vagina Monologues – Eve Ensler

Quite frankly, Eve Ensler is a God and every single one of her books should be read. But The Vagina Monologues, a series of poems and essays exploring sexism, honour abuse, the war on women, among many other topics, is such an important, sacred, feminist text that I demand every man read it. You will not be the same again.

Thomas Stewart is a welsh writer based in Edinburgh. His poetry pamphlet, ’empire of dirt’, was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2019. It was among the Poetry Book Society’s Spring 2019 Selections. His work has been featured in The Glasgow Review of Books, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Litro, Anomaly Literary Journal, Oh Comely, among others. His poem ‘Calamity Jane’ was highly commended in the Verve 2019 Poetry Competition. He can be found at @ThomasStewart08

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