The Apocalypse Reading Room | Free Word

An on-site reading room curated by Ama Josephine Budge 


During a time of many social, political and environmental apocalypses, could we read enough to shape a new future?

The Apocalypse Reading Room transforms Free Word’s café into a post-apocalyptic bunker filled with books exploring alternatively gendered and ungendered worlds, as part of our All The Ways We Could Grow Season.

Discover futuristic odysseys like Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower; sample vital academic texts like Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider; explore international traditions through works such as Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones or Queer Magic by Tomás Prower; sink into classics like The Color Purple by Alice Walker; peruse zines including Skin Deep’s Imagining 2043 issue or delight at children’s books such as Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love.

Come in and browse through our collection with dedications from Free Word’s partners and Season artists, suggest titles of your own or be inspired to sit and write.

The reading room has featured two exciting in conversation events as part of our All The Ways We Could Grow Season programme, including with poet and activist Kai-Isaiah Jamal and Ted Hughes Award winner Jay Bernard.

The Apocalypse Reading Room is curated by Ama Josephine Budge in partnership with Free Word and with support from The Reading Agency.

Ama Josephine Budge is a speculative writer, artist, curator and pleasure activist. Her work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism. Ama’s fiction and non-fiction has been published internationally by Aperture, The Independent Newspaper, Dispatch Feminist Moving Image, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Media Diversified, Skin Deep, Consented, CHEW Magazine and B. Dewitt Gallery.

The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. Their vision is for a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life.


Graphic Design: Denny Kaulbach

Photography: Rowan Spray


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