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  • Heady Mix: The noteworthy book box showcasing underrepresented groups

    Heady Mix: The noteworthy book box showcasing underrepresented groups

    I heard about Heady Mix for the first time this morning, when I was listening to ‘Secrets of The Side Hustle, a podcast with Scarlett Russell, entertainment editor at The Sunday Times Style. This podcast is made up of a series of conversations with inspiring female founders, about their career stories and how they built their side hustles into successful businesses.

    I loved the concept behind Heady Mix so much that I wanted to write about it and share it on here as soon as possible – which is rare! Usually things sit untouched on my to-do list for at least a month before any real action is taken, I’m ashamed to admit…

    In the podcast episode I listened to earlier today, Scarlett Russell spoke with Justina Cruickshank, avid reader and founder of Heady Mix, the inclusive, feminist book subscription box that includes books written by authors from a range of underrepresented groups.

    I love the concept behind Heady Mix so much. It’d make the most perfect and thoughtful gift for the bookworm in your life, or just for yourself, of course! Then you can finally spend less time deciding what to read and more time reading books that will genuinely offer you something new and different to what you’d normally go for. It’s a fantastic way to support emerging authors and help those who are yet to be discovered and rightly celebrated for their work.

    It seems so obvious that everyone’s personal libraries should feature books by women, ethnic and racial minority groups, diverse nationalities, Indigenous peoples, the LGBTQI+ community and people with disabilities, and yet so many of our bookshelves are most likely outweighed with books written by white middle-class authors. Obviously I don’t speak for everyone when I say this, and to be honest I don’t know how fair or equal my own bookshelf would be, but I think a lot of people would be surprised at their own collections if we all took the time to check.

    The idea for Heady Mix was first born when founder, Justina Cruickshank, took her first trip to Nigeria.

    The Chibok girls were still missing, held in captivity by the terrorist group Boka Haram. I wondered what life would be like growing up in a country where schoolgirl kidnappings were frequent. It got me thinking about equality, about how women are treated and represented, and about the role that books play, how they shape our lives and storytell the female experience.

    Justina then started to look at her own reading choices, and began to wonder whether they truly represented the diverse world we’re living in, with different viewpoints represented other than her own.

    The crunch point was when I read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers – a stunning book set in deep south USA in the late 1930’s (published in 1940), about a group of ‘misfits’ as they were called then. We wouldn’t call them ‘misfits’ now. They were just people from underrepresented groups; a Deaf man; a teenage girl and a black male doctor. The only one that was treated with any respect in that time was the male cafe owner. 

    The book left a lasting impression on Justina, and it made her think twice about her own reading choices. Carson McCullers, the author, wasn’t from the D/deaf community, but she wrote about the experience of the main character intuitively, and it made her realise she’d never read a book written by someone from the D/deaf community before, and wondered if that was the same for others. 

    Since then, the debut collection Loud Silence featured incredible female writers from the D/deaf community, Afrofuturism, the second collection, showcased writers from Africa, and Feminist Fairytales redefined ‘happily ever after’ with female writers from all over the world. 

    Justina believes this is her small part in helping make the world a better place.

    Thanks for reading, I hope this can inspire you to look at your own book collections and maybe think of your next order slightly differently, or you can take the task out of your hands and leave it to Heady Mix!

    Please feel free to leave a comment below with any book title suggestions, or if you took the plunge and signed up for yourself! I’d love to know. 🙂

    P x

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