Image

WITS Study Hall is a collaborative learning space for adult learners to actively participate in anti-racist conversation and enjoy the works of writers of color. We focus not just on anti-racist discourse, but celebrating the range of genres and stories by BIPOC authors.

WITS Study Hall explores one book every two months and is open to all readers. You can sign up to join our virtual meetings, or use this framework to start your own book club. We’ll provide the book selection, discussion questions, and supplemental resources. Whatever your engagement, we hope you join us in this important reading.

currently reading

Image
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Daughters of smoke and fire

On January 31 we will discuss Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa. In her debut novel, Daughters of Smoke and Fire, Ava Homa brings readers to her former home of Iran and invites them inside the struggle of two generations of Kurds trying to survive in a country that does not want them. Homa unfurls the history of an oppressed people fighting for their right to live, love, thrive, and create. Daughters of Smoke and Fire is the first novel published in English by a female Kurdish writer.

"A story of slowly-building self-liberation and resilience. . . . Our conversations around this book are going to be meaningful, engaging, and urgently necessary.” - Roxane Gay

Our next meeting


January 31  2024


5:30-6:30pm CST


Zoom Link will be emailed



Sign up to attend

Please fill out this form to sign up for the next Study Hall meeting


  • We will use this number to text you reminders about meetings.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - Daughters of Smoke and Fire


Keep in mind the following discussion questions to get you thinking as you read:

One

Which character did you relate to the most and why?

Two

Has this book changed anything about how you see immigrants, especially as Chicago and other cities struggle to house asylum-seekers?

Three

Daughters of Smoke and Fire is the first novel published in English by a female Kurdish writer. What did you learn about Kurdish culture through this book?

Four

If you were to recommend this book, why would you say it is an important book to read?

SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES - Daughters of Smoke and Fire

These additional resources will help integrate learning from our Study Hall books with additional interviews, articles, and podcasts. They may be referenced during WITS Study Hall meetings, so check them out.

WHAT WE ARE READING THIS YEAR

September 2023 - May 2024


The year so far

Mikki Kendall Hood Feminism Book Cover with Image of Mikki Kendall on a black background.
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Hood FEminism

On November 30 we will discuss Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall. In this searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut (with a combined 14 weeks on the NYT Bestseller List and over 200,000 copies sold), Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live the true mandate of the movement in thought and deed.

"In prose that is clean, crisp, and cutting, Kendall reveals how feminism has both failed to take into account populations too often excluded from the banner of feminism and failed to consider the breadth of issues affecting the daily lives of millions of women. . . . Throughout, Kendall thoughtfully and deliberately takes mainstream feminism to task . . . [but] if Hood Feminism is a searing indictment of mainstream feminism, it is also an invitation. For every case in which Kendall highlights problematic practices, she offers guidance for how we can all do better."
- NPR

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - Hood Feminism


Keep in mind the following discussion questions as you read:

One

What types of negative narratives have you heard in your life about food stamps and other meal assistance programs? Does Kendall address those arguments in her book? What does she say about them?

Two

Did you find sections of this book uncomfortable to read? Which ones, and why? Did it change your thinking about any issues?

Three

After reading this book, how would you articulate the goal of white feminism? What about hood feminism?

Four

What are some practical steps for someone who wants to be a better intersectional feminist and transition from ally to accomplice?

SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES - Hood Feminism

These additional resources will help integrate learning from our Study Hall books with additional interviews, articles, and podcasts. They may be referenced during WITS Study Hall meetings, so check them out.

Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed

On September 26 2023 we discussed Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora. In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, bestselling and award-winning authors as well as up-and-coming voices interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx diaspora. These fifteen original pieces delve into everything from ghost stories and superheroes, to memories in the kitchen and travels around the world, to addiction and grief, to identity and anti-Blackness, to finding love and speaking your truth. Full of both sorrow and joy, Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed is an essential celebration of this rich and diverse community.

"With a standout roster of authors that includes Naima Coster, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is the kind of anthology we’d gladly wait all year for. In fifteen works of poetry and essays—from tales of the supernatural to takedowns of anti-Blackness—this collection offers something for just about every kind of reader." - Harper's Bazaar

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - WILD TONGUES CAN'T BE TAMED


Keep in mind the following discussion questions as you read:

One

What are common stereotypes and preconceptions that the contributors face and interrogate?

Two

How does colorism operate within the Latinx diaspora, as we see in this anthology?

Three

Did any of the pieces in this book change the way you think about assimilation? Is there pressure to assimilate? Are their consequences of assimilation?

Four

Was there a piece in this book that resonated with you? If so, which one and why?

SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES - Wild Tongues can't be tamed

These additional resources will help integrate learning from our Study Hall books with additional interviews, articles, and podcasts. They may be referenced during WITS Study Hall meetings, so check them out.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Tag @witschicago and use #WITStudyHall to let us know you’re reading along with us!

Image
Image

ENJOYING THIS RESOURCE? CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION.

With your support, we provide quality literacy enrichment and teacher professional development programs at zero cost to our city’s divested neighborhoods.
MAKE A DONATION