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.
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
Zoom Link will be emailed
Sign up to attend
Please fill out this form to sign up for the next Study Hall meeting
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - Daughters of Smoke and Fire
Which character did you relate to the most and why?
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?
If you were to recommend this book, why would you say it is an important book to read?
SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES - Daughters of Smoke and FireThese 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
"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."
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS - Hood Feminism
SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES - Hood FeminismThese 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:
What are common stereotypes and preconceptions that the contributors face and interrogate?
How does colorism operate within the Latinx diaspora, as we see in this anthology?
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?
Was there a piece in this book that resonated with you? If so, which one and why?
SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES - Wild Tongues can't be tamedThese 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.
Tag @witschicago and use #WITStudyHall to let us know you’re reading along with us!