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Queers Gone By Reading Challenge

I am so pleased to announce my participation in the Queers Gone By Reading Challenge! I’m actually one of the hosts and today I’m going to talk to you about what the reading challenge means, how you can join, and my own recommendations.


Important info/rules;

1. For every single challenge you complete you’ll receive 2 entries into the giveaway. If you complete all 5 challenges for one woman, you’ll receive an extra 5 entries. Please feel free to use the hashtag #queersgoneby when posting on social media! Make sure to keep count of your entries.

2. One book you read CAN count for multiple challenges if it applies.

3. Alongside this reading challenge there will also be an art competition for which you can find the rules at the bottom of this post.

4. Both the reading and art challenges begin June 1st and will go on until August 30th. Please submit your entries via a survey which will be posted on my twitter @bibookishbabe on the 30th. You will have until September 1st to submit your entries and winners will then be chosen randomly by September 6th.

5. To prevent this post getting crazy long, details of the giveaway prizes are in a separate post which you can find here;

6. In brackets next to each woman on the list below is the name of one of the hosts. This indicates that they came up with the challenge ideas for this woman and will be posting a book recommendation post to help you out!

7. Last but not least, enjoy! It’s been so much fun creating this challenge and if it goes well, I hope we’ll be able to do it again next year!

And our lovely hosts for this Reading Challenge:

Molly; https://bibookishbabe23.wordpress.com @bibookishbabe

Laura; https://thebookcorps.wordpress.com/ @laurabookcorps

Kitty; http://jellyfable.weebly.com @jellyfable

Kathy; https://www.youtube.com/kathytrithardt @kathytrithardt

Lili; https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/ @utopiamind

Sarah; https://writtenwordworlds.com/ @sarahrhatch

Eloise; https://www.eloisewrites.co.uk/ @eloisewrites

Info About the Art Challenge

1. You have to create a piece of art/photography based on at least one of the 15 women listed below this rules section.

2. For a piece of art based on one of the women you’ll get 2 entries into the giveaway. For any additional women from the list you include, wether that be in the same piece or separate pieces, you’ll get an extra 5 entries.

3. You can enter work you’ve completed previously or years ago as long as it’s of the women named on the list and wasn’t created as part of any other competition. 

4. Your work can be any form of art for example a sketch, painting, collage, photography, lino print, digital art etc.

5. Your piece of art can be your interpretation of the woman/women. So whether that’s referencing a photograph, reimagining her in a modern setting, creating a collage based on things strongly associated with her etc. As long as it has a clear resemblance or tie to the woman, it counts!

6. You CANNOT enter someone else’s work and claim it as your own.

7. Please use the hashtag #queersgoneby or tag me @bibookishbabe on twitter or instagram when entering so I can find entries easily. There will also be a survey posted on my twitter @bibookishbabe on August 30th so you can submit your entries.

8. The competition closes on August 30st and the winners will be announced by the 6th of September. 

The 15 women you can choose from;

1. Frida Kahlo
2. Sophia Jex Blake
3. Janelle Monae
4. Edith Craig
5. Ann Bancroft (the explorer not the actress)
6. Laverne Cox
7. Marlene Dietrich
8. Hannah Gadsby
9. Helen Hull Jacobs
10. Ethel Waters
11. Amy Levy
12. Alice Dunbar Nelson
13. Blair Imani
14. Josephine Baker
15. Jamie Clayton

The Challenges (in depth)

Sophia Jex Blake (MOLLY)

1. Read a book written or set during 1840-1912.

2. Read a book about female doctors or women in science. Sophia became the first practising female doctor in Scotland and one of the first in the UK and Ireland.

3. Read a book set in London or Edinburgh. These are the locations where Sophia founded two medical schools for women at a time when no other medical schools trained women.

4. Read a book exploring rejection or perseverance. Sophia applied to the University of Edinburgh in 1869 but was rejected on the grounds that the University could not make the necessary arrangements ‘in the interest of one lady’. This is when the Edinburgh 7 was formed.

5. Read a book about female friendships/support systems. Sophia was one of the original Edinburgh 7.

Edith craig (MOLLY)

  1. Read a book written or set during 1869-1947.
Read a book about suffragettes. Edith was an early pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement in England and was involved in suffrage groups, selling newspapers on behalf of the cause.
Read a play/book of plays OR a banned book. Craig founded the Pioneer Players, a theatre society in London, known for producing formerly banned plays, plays on social humanism, women’s suffrage and feminism.

  4. Read a book about fashion/ costume. Edith was a prolific theatre director, producer & costume designer, noted for her expertise in historically accurate costumes and became a dressmaker as Edith Craig & Co in Covent Garden until 1903. 

  5. Read a translated book. From 1915 Craig & the Pioneer players produced foreign plays in English.

Laverne Cox (MOLLY)
1. Read a book written or set during 1972-present.
2. Read a book with a transgender MC.
3. Read a crime book/ a book set in prison. Laverne is best known for her role in the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black which is set in a women’s prison.
4. Read a book nominated for a lambda award in any transgender category from any year. Laverne has been nominated for several awards such as ‘Woman of the year’ and an Emmy.
5. Read a book with an orange or black cover.

Ann Bancroft (KATHY)

  1. Read a book written or set during 1955 to present

  2. Read a book with an all female cast. Ann led the first all-female expedition to cross the ice to the South Pole.

  3. Read a book set in the future. Future expeditions Ann has planned include to Africa in 2019, Oceania in 2021, South America in 2023, Europe in 2025, and Antarctica in 2027.

  4. Read a book featuring climate change or other dire weather issues. In March 2007, Bancroft and Liv Arnesen took part in a trek across the Arctic Ocean to draw attention to the problem of global warming.
Read a book based on adventure. Ann has travelled to places including the arctic, antarctic, india, greenland, north pole and south pole. 

Frida Kahlo (KATHY)


Read a book written or set during 1907-1954
  2. Read a graphic novel. Frida Kahlo is a world renowned artist.

  3. Read a book with a disabled MC. Frida was born with spina bifida, developed polio aged 6 and was in an accident aged 18 which left her with numerous serious injuries and chronic pain.
Read a book set in Mexico or with a mexican MC. Frida was born and raised in Mexico. Alot of her work was also inspired by mexican nature, artifacts and culture.
  5. Read a book with an aesthetically pleasing cover. Frida is well known for her style and decorative house.

Janelle Monae (LAURA)

1. Read a book written or set during 1985-present.
2. Read a book, fiction or nonfiction, about a female musician or actress. Janelle is a singer, songwriter, actress and producer.
3. Read a book with a black female MC.
4. Read a book with a pansexual main character. In April 2018, Janelle came out as pansexual.
5.  Read a dystopian or sci-fi novel. Janelle’s most recent concept album, Dirty Computer, blends dystopian sci-fi elements with a totalitarian government that represses people’s sexualities and identities.

Josephine Baker (LAURA)

1. Read a book written or set during 1906-1975.
2. Read a book about a spy or World War II. Josephine was an American-born French dancer and is most famous for her aid of the French Resistance during World War II.
3. Read a book set in the Roaring 20s. Josephine was one of the most celebrated performers of her time and one of her costumes, a girdle made of artificial bananas, became an iconic symbol of the Jazz Age of the 1920s.
4. Read a book with a bisexual main character. While she was married to four different men, Josephine had many relationships with women, the most famous being with Blues singer Clara Smith.
5. Read a book about mother/child relationships. During her work with the Civil Rights Movement, Josephine adopted many children from diverse backgrounds and religions, naming them her “Rainbow Tribe.”

Marlene Dietrich (SARAH)


1. Read a book written or set during 1901 – 1992

  1. Read a book with a character who’s an actor. Marlene acted on stage and in silent films.

  2. Read a book by a German author or with German characters. Marlene was German-American and born in Germany.

  3. Read a novel set during World War 2. Marlene was known for her humanitarian efforts during the war, housing German and French exiles, providing financial support and even advocating their U.S. citizenship.

    5. Read a book with gold foiling on the cover. Marlene traded on her glamorous persona and looks, and became one of the highest-paid actresses of the era.

Hannah Gadsby (SARAH)

  1.  Read a book written or set during 1978 – present

  2. Read a book by an Australian author. Hannah was born in Australia.
Read a book with autism or ADHD representation. Hannah was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in 2017.
Read a funny novel. Hannah is a comedian and won the national final of the of the Raw Comedy competition for new comedians in 2006.
  5. Read a book that has been adapted into a book/film that is on netflix. Hannah is widely known for her Netflix show ‘Nanette’.

Blair Imani (LILI)

1. Read a book written or set during 1993-present
2. Read a book with a muslim MC (ownvoices preferred). Blair is an African American muslim.
3. Read a non-fiction book about overlooked figures throughout history.
4. Read a book which features feminism and/or activism. Blair is Executive Director of “Equality for HER”, a feminist organisation as well as a member of the Black Lives Matter movement.
5. Read a book about/featuring social media or by your favourite author to follow on social media. Blair is known for her voice on Twitter and Instagram.

Amy Levy (LILI)

1. Read a book written or set during 1861-1889
2. Read a book with a Jewish MC (bonus points of also by a Jewish author). Amy is remembered for her experience as the first Jewish woman at Cambridge University.
3. Read a sapphic poetry collection (or just any poetry collection). Amy was a poet and explored themes of sapphic love in her work.
4. Read a book exploring depression/ mental health. Amy suffered from episodes of major depression from early age which worsened.
5. Read a book with a deaf MC.

Helen Hull Jacobs (ELOISE)


1. Read a book written or set during 1908-1997
2. Read a historical fiction book set in WW2. Jacobs served as a commander in the U.S. Navy intelligence during World War II, one of only five women to achieve that rank in the Navy.
3. Read a book based around sport (either non-fiction / autobiography or where the characters are involved in sport). Helen was an american tennis player and won 9 grand slam titles.
4. Read a book that has been banned at some point in history or a book that broke tradition (i.e. Carol being one of the first f/f where neither woman dies at the end). In 1933, Helen became the first woman to break tradition by wearing man-tailored shorts at Wimbledon.
5. Hall of Fame: Read a book that has been highly praised – whether on bestseller lists or just twitter talking about it a lot! (a.k.a “bookstagram made me read this”). Helen was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1962 and into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Alice Dunbar Nelson (ELOISE)

1. Read a book written or set during 1875-1935
2. Read a diary, or letter collection (e.g. Anne Lister). Alices diary was published in 1984 and detailed her life during the years 1921 and 1926 to 1931. As one of only two journals of 19th-century African-American women, her diary provided useful insight into the lives of black women during this time.
3. Read a book with an African American MC (preferably own voices author too).
4. Read an anthology. Alice was the editor of two anthologies.
5. Read a book / anthology written or edited by Alice. Alice was an editor, poet, journalist, and political activist.

Ethel Waters (KITTY)

  1. Read a book set during 1896-1977
  2. Read a book about a character who is both queer and Black. Ethel was bisexual and Black.
  3. Read a book where the main character defies societal expectations. Ethel was the first African American to star on her own television show and the first African American woman to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
  4. Read a book that has been adapted into or from a broadway show or that features broadway in the plot. Ethel was a broadway performer.
  5. Read a book that features a carnival or circus. Early in her career, Ethel sang and danced in a traveling carnival.

Jamie Clayton (KITTY)

  1. Read a book set during 1978-present.
  2. Read a book with a trans main character.
  3. Read a book as an audiobook. Jamie narrated the audiobook for Alex Gino’s novel, George.
  4. Read a book about a character who makes a big change to pursue their dreams. Jamie originally moved to NYC to be a makeup artist.
  5. Read a book about a woman involved in or pursuing a STEM career. Jamie is well known for playing Nomi Marks in Sense 8, a political blogger and hacker.


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