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A Place of Our Own

Six Spaces That Shaped Queer Women's Culture - 'An inspiring celebration of lesbian camaraderie, activism and fun' (Sarah Waters)
  • Author
    • June Thomas
Regular price £22.00
Regular price Sale price £22.00
Lesbians are a people without a home. Perhaps that's why the ones we make for ourselves are so important.

A highly readable cultural history of queer women's lives in the second half of the twentieth century, told through six iconic spaces

'An inspiring celebration of lesbian camaraderie, activism and fun' SARAH WATERS

'A cracking read, and a reminder of what shaped where we are now' VAL MCDERMID

'Riveting; indispensable; and suffused with a humane warmth' ALISON BECHDEL

'A must-have for any queer bookshelf' TEGAN QUIN

For as long as queer women have existed, they've created gathering grounds where they can be themselves. From the intimate darkness of the lesbian bar to the sweaty camaraderie of the softball field, these spaces aren't a luxury - they're a necessity for queer women defining their identities.

Blending memoir, archival research and interviews, journalist June Thomas invites readers into six iconic lesbian spaces over the course of the last sixty years, including the rural commune, the sex toy boutique, the holiday destination and the feminist bookstore. She also illuminates what is gained and lost in the shift from the exclusive, tight-knit women's spaces of the '70s toward today's more inclusive yet more diffuse LGBTQ+ communities.

'Pulses with delicious dykes and the spaces we have made for ourselves over the years. I welcome this story' STELLA DUFFY

'A wonderfully rangy, conversational, and thoughtful exploration of lesbian geographies' DANIEL LAVERY

'Immensely readable . . . A celebration of what was - and can be - built, with all the hurdles and ecstasies' ROSIE GARLAND

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  • Published: Jun 06 2024
  • Pages: 304
  • 238 x 162mm
  • ISBN: 9780349018973
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Press Reviews

  • Sarah Schulman
    Fun-to-read, this breathless tour through the worlds we built, is also sobering. Lesbians accomplished so much when we weren't confused about what the straight world felt about us. The depth of culture, sub-culture, and fascinating history that comes alive in this book captures a world before the internet, when In Real Life was real life, and before corporate white-washing, obscuring the complexity of our connections and experiences. A PLACE OF OUR OWN illustrates a time when each woman had to venture out into the world of the unknown to create her lesbian life, and all the unforeseen adventures she encountered and created. Bravo June Thomas!
  • Rosie Garland
    In the words of Joan Baez - Action is the antidote to despair. Immensely readable, A Place of Our Own charts the inventive actions of queer women in the latter half of the 20th Century. With chapters devoted to lesbian bars, bookstores, softball teams (and more), the book is far more than an elegy for past times. It's a warts-and-all / how-to guide to forging community in the face of what seem like insurmountable obstacles. A celebration of what was - and can be - built, with all the hurdles and ecstasies. Ultimately encouraging and empowering, A Place of Our Own serves as a reminder that you can't change the world but you can change your neighbourhood. And the world starts at the front door
  • Alison Bechdel
    Jam-packed with fascinating nuggets of cultural history, movement lore and gossip; riveting; indispensable; and suffused with a humane warmth which Thomas extends to the younger generation of queer women, nonbinary folks, and trans men and women who are continuing the (unfortunately) ongoing struggle
  • Stella Duffy
    Thomas' meticulously researched book pulses with delicious dykes and the spaces we have made for ourselves over the years. It is a timely reminder that many lesbian spaces have always welcomed trans women, and also that few lesbian spaces ever included all of us - women of colour, women without disposable income, women who didn't look 'lesbian enough' or who looked 'too lesbian' have been excluded accidentally or intentionally. While not every space was as hopefully inclusive as we might now desire, it is important to recognise how we got to where we are now, and those who paved the way. I welcome this story and I very much look forward to one set on this side of the Atlantic

    A Place of Our Own is a wonderfully rangy, conversational, and thoughtful exploration of lesbian geographies. It's particularly enriched by the quantity and quality of personal interviews, which range from the delightful to the curious to the heartbreaking. It's optimistic without collapsing into coziness or cliche, animated by affection but not lacking in rigor, comprehensive yet brisk, and I only wish there was more of it
  • Tegan Quin

    As a queer musician, I know first-hand how important it is to have community spaces where queer people can gather and feel comfortable being themselves. In A Place of Our Own, June Thomas masterfully delves into the essence of six spaces pivotal to queer women's culture, highlighting the resilient bookstores, lively softball leagues, vibrant vacation hot spots, and under-the-radar lesbian bars that provided both refuge and revolution to a generation of queer women. As sapphic spaces vanish, so too does a part of our culture, making this book a must-have for any queer bookshelf
  • Sarah Waters
    Thomas's lively, hugely engaging book is a fascinating chronicle of the courage, tenacity and vision with which queer women have carved out spaces for themselves in an often less than friendly world. An inspiring celebration of lesbian camaraderie, activism and fun
  • Kirkus
    An engaging and informative study that defies attempts to erase people or their places
  • Mary Paulson-Ellis
    I loved A Place of Our Own. Engaging and enjoyable, informative and insightful, it enlightens us on just how much fun lesbians had celebrating their unique lives and lifestyles in the US of the 60s, 70s and 80s. A reminder, if we need one, of how important it is as queer women to understand our history. Made me nostalgic for an era of lesbian solidarity and coming together that feels as necessary now as it ever did
  • Val McDermid
    A cracking read, and a reminder of what shaped where we are now
  • Kate Charlesworth, author of Sensible Footwear: A Girl's Guide - A graphic guide to lesbian and queer history 1950-2020
    A terrific chronicle of lesbian-created spaces ... Told with warmth, wit and meticulous rigour, this is a record of a pre-internet, diverse, real-time dyke world breathtaking in its range of possibilities - and also recording the too-frequent exclusion of women of colour and the not-unusual inclusion of trans women