Introducing one of our longest standing members, Spitalfields original and style queen: Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
We caught up with engineer turned author and broadcaster about how she remedies writer’s block, the inspiration for ‘Talking About a Revolution’ and her book recommendation of the moment.
What is your name and how long have you been at Second Home?
Yassmin Abdel-Magied, since Jan 2018! 5 years 🙂
What do you do?
Mostly a writer – of books, tv and plays. I am also a broadcaster and a social advocate of sorts, always organising and agitating and trying to make this world of ours a slightly fairer (and more liveable!) place for us all.
What’s the most daring career choice you’ve made?
Left my lucrative engineering career to go on a book tour and become a writer, lol. This shit don’t pay the bills.
What would be your number one book recommendation?
The Quran? Lol jokes, it’s better in Arabic anyway. Probably… right at this very moment (Jan 2023), probably ‘Small Things Like These’ by Claire Keegan. A slim book – like 130 pages – beautifully written, like a fable. I adored it.
What inspired you to write TALKING ABOUT A REVOLUTION?
TALKING ABOUT A REVOLUTION is a collection of my best non-fiction work written throughout my twenties. I put this collection together for two main reasons – one, to reflect on all the issues I spend my time thinking about (how do we build power, why I don’t want to monetise my hobbies, what it means to be Black when you constantly move continents, how do you build power), and also to explore my own political journey. TALKING ABOUT A REVOLUTION is as much about my personal political evolution as it is about systems and structural change.
What is the main thing that you hope people will take away from the book?
That we should spend more time talking about the hard hard questions about the world we want to build. How can we achieve revolution if we don’t even know how to talk about it? If it feels scary to talk about, perhaps that’s exactly where we should be spending our time.
I honestly love the community. Second Home made London home for me. I made my first friends in this city through this building - at the cafe, at drinks, in those bendy, clear, plant lined hallways.
How do you remedy writer’s block?
Twitter. Then TikTok. Then a new TV show binge… then maybe some water colouring, then a walk, then I try again.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on two main projects, a novel for adults and a TV show I created that’s recently been commissioned. Less non-fiction, but always thought provoking (and fun!) I hope 🙂
What is your favourite thing about Second Home?
I honestly love the community. Second Home made London home for me. I made my first friends in this city through this building – at the cafe, at drinks, in those bendy, clear, plant lined hallways. The friends I have made at Second Home have become part of my life, came to my wedding, are my chosen family. Oh, and I love that I have a permanent mail box – never again missing an DHL or FedEx drop off is a pretty special thing.
What’s been your greatest creative collision or collaboration at Second Home?
Working with Joy from Words of Colour and Magdalena’s team at SH to bring my various books to a wider audience through 2H has always been such a wonderful experience. Also, many of the conversations I explore in TALKING ABOUT A REVOLUTION reflect some of the very same chats I’ve had in (or just outside!) the roaming area over the years.
In October 2022, Second Home Spitalfields hosted Yassmin Abdel-Magied in conversation with Sofia Akel about why we need resistance and revolution to build a better world for us all. You can check out the live stream on her Instagram channel.