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Biography & Autobiography Women

Notes From a Feminist Killjoy

Essays on Everyday Life

by (author) Erin Wunker

Book*hug Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2016
Women, Feminism & Feminist Theory
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2017
    List Price
  • Audio

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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Winner of the Atlantic Book Awards 2017 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award
Winner of the East Coast Literary Awards 2017 Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award
Finalist for the 2017 Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Erin Wunker is a feminist killjoy, and she thinks you should be one, too.

Following in the tradition of Sara Ahmed (the originator of the concept "feminist killjoy"), Wunker brings memoir, theory, literary criticism, pop culture, and feminist thinking together in this collection of essays that take up Ahmed's project as a multi-faceted lens through which to read the world from a feminist point of view.
Neither totemic nor complete, the non-fiction essays that make up Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life attempt to think publicly about why we need feminism, and especially why we need the figure of the feminist killjoy, now. From the complicated practices of being a mother and a feminist, to building friendship amongst women as a community-building and -sustaining project, to writing that addresses rape culture from the Canadian context and beyond, Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life invites the reader into a conversation about gender, feminism, and living in our inequitable world.

About the author

Erin Wunker is Chair of the Board of the national non-profit organization Canadian Women in the Literary Arts ( and co-founder, writer, and managing editor of the feminist academic blog Hook & Eye: Fast Feminism, Slow Academe. She teaches courses in Canadian literature and cultural production with a special focus on cultural production by women. She lives in Halifax with her partner, their daughter, and Marley the dog. Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life, forthcoming from BookThug in the fall of 2016, is Wunker's first book.

Erin Wunker's profile page


  • Winner, Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award
  • Short-listed, Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing
  • Winner, Margaret and John Savage First Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“I want to gift the book to everyone I know and share the experience of reading it with them. In a time when I needed one, I read this book and found a friend.”—The Chronicle of Higher Education

“This collection by Erin Wunker…is the spiritual successor to Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me. The essays are air-tight, intertwining traces of memory and theory, the best kind of non-fiction. Wunker takes up the figure of the Feminist Killjoy and explores its political potential, bringing an essential stream of feminist theory to a wider public.”—Large Hearted Boy

Notes From a Feminist Killjoy is an honest, personal feminist work essential to this moment, when reminders of why we need feminism are all around us.”—Vagabond City

“Engagement with this book means subscribing to ideals that might better the lives of those who have been used and made voiceless by a patriarchal society. And so, the reading of the book itself is a political act with great weight.”—Atticus Review

"Erin Wunker's first book is a useful navigational tool even for those steeped in the precepts of women's studies. Her Notes represents a smorgasbord of reflection."—Sarah Murdoch, Toronto Star and Metro Canada (Toronto)

"Notes from a Feminist Killjoy is an answer to what is needed now—a self-consciously contingent rejoinder to the question of 'who needs feminism?' "—

“Wunker’s book demands that readers find new ways to talk about things.”—Atlantic Books Today

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy is an answer to what is needed now — a self-consciously contingent rejoinder to the question of “who needs feminism?” —

“Over 209 pages of linked notes, the volume wends like a passionate discussion over a long afternoon with your very-smart-and-ready-to-disrupt best friend.”—Hamilton Review of Books

“I love the way the narrative thread of Wunker’s book makes its way with seeming effortlessness. There is nothing laboured about how a discussion of rape culture leads to the Jian Ghomeshi trial leads to women coming together leads to a chapter on friendship.”—Pickle Me This

“Wunker’s vulnerability is honest in a way that speaks instantly to the concerns and struggles faced by those who take up the mantle of being a feminist killjoy.”—The Town Crier

"Wunker renders the label 'feminist killjoy' one that readers can be proud to wear." —Quill and Quire (starred review)

“These essays quench my thirst for clear, smart critical theory, written with love and footnotes and personal stories and experiences. Why has academic writing consistently tried to separate the heart from the head? Why? Erin Wunker’s essays are perfect, especially Chapter 2—”Notes on Friendship.”—49th Shelf

“One of the greatest merits of Notes from a Feminist Killjoy is its style of personal musings: by employing brief and often unfinished thoughts, Wunker lends us the opportunity to complete the feminist killjoy sentiment, filling in blanks and empathizing with our own set of experiences.”—The Goose

“What is a Feminist Killjoy? In Erin Wunker’s introduction to her new book, she attributes the term to Sara Ahmed and calls the FK “that irreverent figure who lights a match and joyfully flicks it into the dry hull of patriarchal culture.” With everything that’s happened, you bet your bottom dollar we’re on board.”—All Lit Up

"Written as a series of linked notes, Erin uses her training as an academic to name and articulate the things we feel in our bones but do not have the words for, rendering intelligible to us the things we experience moving through the world in gendered bodies.”—Hook and Eye

“This book should be considered essential reading.”—rob mclennan's blog

“In Notes, Wunker’s literary erudition, pop-culture references, and memoir fragments work together as a model of intersectional feminism and allyship.” —Canadian Literature

"Women reaching out to one another, telling each other our stories. This is a structural tactic. It is also crucial to the work of justice and social change. Let us take Wunker's core message to heart and continue this messy, complex, and vital conversation."—The Fem

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