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  • Published: 31 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9781761044595
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $34.99

Talking About a Revolution

With her trademark optimism, sass, boldness and search for answers, across a collection of new and revisited essays, Yassmin Abdel-Magied explores resistance, transformation, and revolution.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied started out a dynamic, optimistic, naïve, youthful grass-roots organiser and oil rig worker before she found herself taking on the heft of the Australian political and media establishment, unintentionally.

From her new home in Europe she brings her characteristic warmth, clarity and inquisitive nature to the concepts of 'the private and public self' and 'systems and society' that structure this collection.

In 'The Private and Public Self’, Yassmin shares her passions for cars and cryptocurrency as well as the personal challenges around her activism and leaving Australia. She provides a hearty defence of hobbies and expands on the value and process of carving out a private life and self in an incredibly public-facing world. The concept of identity when one is a 'forever migrant' - by ancestry, and by choice - is interrogated, as is what it means to organise for social justice when you aren't sure where you belong.

In 'Systems and Society’, through essays on cultural appropriation, the meaning of citizenship, and unconscious bias, Yassmin charts how her thinking on activism, transformative change and justice has evolved. She brings an abolitionist lens to social justice work and, recalling her days as a young revolutionary, encourages younger generations of activists to decide if it is empowerment they are working towards, or power.

In all these essays, written with the passion, lived-experience and intelligence of someone who wants to improve our world, the concept of revolution, however big or small, is ever-present.

  • Published: 31 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9781761044595
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese Australian writer, recovering mechanical engineer and award-winning social advocate who writes and speaks on politics, society, culture and technology. She has published three books with Penguin Random House, including two middle grade novels (You Must Be Layla and the award-winning Listen, Layla), which she is now adapting for screen. Yassmin is also developing a slate of projects for the stage and screen.
A globally sought-after adviser on issues at the intersections of race, gender and faith, Yassmin has spoken in over twenty-five countries on social justice and inclusive leadership. She founded her first organisation, Youth Without Borders, at the age of sixteen, leading it for nine years before co-founding two other organisations focused on serving women of colour. Her TED talk ‘What does my headscarf mean to you?’ has been viewed over 2.5 million times and was selected as one of TED’s top 10 ideas.
In all her work, Yassmin is an advocate for transformative justice and a fairer, safer world for all.

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Praise for Talking About a Revolution

Bravery doesn't cut it, it isn't fearlessness either, it's that unshakeable conviction in telling it like it is. And here it is, everything that needed to be said aloud - that line in the sand that is both the beginning and the end of this discussion. I don't think anyone could understand what Abdel-Magied has endured for being herself, for drawing attention to the distinction between right and wrong, truth and hypocrisy - all whilst standing below that empty space where a flag was snatched away. Generously, on these pages is a glimpse, and yet so much more. This book thunderclaps back.

Tara June Winch

This awareness is the heartbeat of the collection: how do we collectively untie the knots in our ideologies and industries? What she is proposing is not simply action and disruption: in order to transform how we live, we must also address how we think. This is a gathering of ideas and experiences from a matured Abdel-Magied, who speaks more freely and purposefully now as she interrogates how to operate in a world of absolutes, where social media in particular forces us into dispiriting circular "culture wars". It's a confident, curious voice. If you believe that some people are destined to be a defiant voice of a generation, Yassmin Abdel-Magied fulfils the criteria. She may be talking about a revolution, but her continued personal evolution might be just as interesting.

Amal Awad, The Saturday Paper

A brilliant, entertaining and fascinating walkthrough of our world today and the factors that shape it. Yassmin Abdel-Magied has created a beautiful, funny and searingly intelligent collection of essays that feels a lot like an after-dinner conversation, but the kind that leaves you thinking about it for months afterwards. Talking About A Revolution is the book that we all need. There are no two ways about it. I shall be returning to its pages over and over again. A gorgeous read.

Salma El-Wardany

This engaging collection really does show a mind at work, as Yassmin contemplates an alluringly diverse range of subjects, from Boris Johnson’s ‘brownwashed’ cabinet to the 'carceral logic’ that defines so much modern discourse to her own personal evolution from a young brown Muslim activist from Brisbane to the London-based self-identifying Black woman global activist and thinker she has become.

Anne Summers

Yassmin Abdel-Magied might write of the ending of innocence, but I much prefer her age of revolution that has replaced it. Whether writing about the complications of race, language, discrimination, geopolitical upheaval and the climate crisis, this book captures a young woman’s hard-won wisdom. We’re so lucky that she’s willing to share it.

Benjamin Law

This collection is full of humour and love and indomitability. A collection that assures Abdel-Magied her place in the canon of this country’s feminist thinking. She is an intellectual force — towering, playful, unflinching and more necessary than ever.

Sisonke Msimang

Talking About A Revolution is the book I have been waiting for Abdel-Magied to write. It is sharply observed, honest, vulnerable, courageous, and brimming with characteristic humour, and grace under fire. With this timely selection of new and collected essays, Abdel-Magied has truly come into her power.

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Yassmin muses on the most critical issues of our time with generosity, vulnerability, and rigour. As with everything she touches, Yassmin offers a lens often missing from the discourse, always compelling and clear...And just like its transcendent namesake, so too is this collection timeless, its reflections will no doubt reverberate across our generation and beyond.

Sara Saleh

Exhausted by hot takes and Instagram infographics… this book is the antidote for our times, because Yassmin has delivered a book that speaks to multiplicity, where many disparate moving parts are held and synthesised to form one fluid whole. I believe Yassmin’s skill as a writer and thinker is to straddle myriad ideas, grappling with complexity. As a writer, she is a true revolutionary - someone ahead of her time, because she has within her, the ability to dissect complex ideas, distill and disseminate them. From one of the deepest, most generous and considerate thinkers of our generation, this is a powerful meditation on who we are, and who we might become.

Sophie Hardcastle

Exquisitely written, Talking about a revolution, is a must read for anyone committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. This book is the revolutionary heart we need to dismantle systems of inequality and reimagine a better world.

Michelle King, Author of The Fix, Managing Director Equality Forward

A mix of mini-memoir and thoughtful pieces on subjects such as racism and global politics.

Theo Chapman, Australian Financial Review

We know Yassmin Abdel-Magied as the petrolhead with a social conscience, but this series of essays reveals her as an uncompromising (if bruised) optimist, self-deprecating yet unapologetic, and still grappling with the fallout of that tweet back in 2017. Abdel-Magied writes about faith, grief, living online, nationality and race from the different contexts of the countries she has resided: “Sudan, Australia, England, France. Two former colonies, two colonisers.” But Australia looms large. The place where she lost everything – “my public standing, my job, my safety” – also drove her to fight for “nothing less than substantive, transformative and unconditional equality”.

Sophie Black, The Guardian

In characteristically erudite, personable style, Abdel-Magied explores the concept of transformative change at both individual and systemic levels.

Sylvia Bozym, Roaring Stories

Synthesising a collection written over a long period of time and covering a range of topics is naturally a challenging task. But Abdel-Magied makes optimal use of her usual openness, trademark optimism and critical lens. She does, in the end, manage to convey a coherent argument around the importance of both personal and collective struggles for social justice. Her reflections on activism, belonging, diversity and social transformations provide an authentic exposé of the lived experience of a racialised female, Muslim activist.

Fethi Mansouri, The Conversation

A rallying cry for those who want to make the world a better place.

Jessie Stoelwinder, the West Australian

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