Feminist Dystopia Reading & Discussion Group

You Think It's Bad Now, Just Wait: A Feminist Take on What's Around the Corner

A book discussion facilitated by author and Professor Emeritus Louise A. Blum

The news getting you down? Combat the isolation of these waning winter months by immersing yourself in a book discussion group! Focusing on women’s continuing struggle for equality, we will read novels by noted authors such as Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman. These feminist dystopias will allow us to discuss both how bad things could get and what a feminist utopia might look like. Remember—there’s nothing a good book and a little camaraderie can’t make better. Please plan to attend all four sessions if at all possible so we can foster a supportive and respectful atmosphere. Attendance is capped at 15, so don’t miss your chance to sign up!

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, originally published in 1985, examined a fictional society governed by a Christian theocracy in which men wield absolute power. The advent of the series on Hulu juxtaposed with the current political climate have sparked a burst of contemporary feminist dystopias, which occurred simultaneously with a host of restrictive new abortion laws passed in a number of states. Approaching the discussion through the lens of women’s struggle for equality, we will read and discuss these books:

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, so relevant when it was first published, is only too relevant once again. The novel shows how gradually true horror can be orchestrated—and how dangerous our ability to adapt can be.

Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks depicts an America in which abortion is illegal. Though currently fiction, recent events such as Ohio’s infamous Heartbeat Law make it clear that such a dystopia is all too possible in this country.

In Christine Dalcher’s Vox, women are permitted to speak no more than one hundred words a day—and to make sure they do, they’re outfitted with bracelets that shock them if they go over their limit.

Naomi Alderman’s The Power asks what might happen if women had physical power over men. Given this “power,” would women wield it more gently? Wisely? Kindly? This book challenges our assumptions about what femininity really means.

Dates of Each Session:

February 18, 2020: The Handmaid’s Tale

March 24, 2020: Red Clocks 

April 21, 2020: Vox

May 19, 2020: The Power

All sessions will be held at the Southeast Steuben County Library in the Conference Room from 5:30-7:30pm.

Books will be provided for the first 15 people to sign up and they will be yours to keep. The first book can be picked up at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, 79 W. Market St. Corning, NY.

About Louise:

Author of the critically acclaimed memoir You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? A Lesbian in Small Town America and the novel Amnesty, Louise A. Blum is a writer and Professor Emeritus who has taught and written extensively on dystopian literature, disaster fiction, and the challenges we face when our definitions and ideals of a “better world” collide with one another.

Please Register in advance.

I'm sorry, but this group has reached its maximum number and is no longer accepting entries.


This series would not be possible without funding from:


Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Thank You 2020 Sponsors!

Title Sponsor

Three Rivers Corp


Corning Credit Union