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An exploration of the work women do together.

Covens. Girl bands. Ballet troupes. Convents. In all times and places, girls and women have come together in communities of vocation, of necessity, of support. And wherever women gather, magic happens. Female farmers change the way we grow our food. Online beauty communities democratise the intricacies of skincare. Teen girls invent phrases that enter the urban lexicon, and choose our next pop superstars.

Patriarchal societies have long been content to uphold men’s and boys’ clubs, while viewing groups that exclude men as sites of rivalry and suspicion. In this deeply personal exploration of what women make together, Sam George-Allen delves into workplaces, industries and social groups to dismantle the cultural myth of female isolation and uncover evidence that these groups are formidable.

Thoughtful, intimate, and convincing, Witches is a long-overdue celebration of the power and pleasure of working with other women.

Reviews

It’s this emphasis on the lived experiences and words of her subjects, above her authorial interpretation of their lives, that makes Witches such an honest and considered collection of thoughts on girl- and womanhood. While it takes into account the lived experiences of many kinds of women, it never offers one fixed definition of what it is to be a woman. Instead, it highlights the endless possibilities of what women can achieve by boosting each other up.

Ellen Cregan, Kill Your Darlings

The West has a history of discrediting feminine knowledge. In exploring different communities of women, George-Allen offers a sense of collaboration – she doesn’t keep her interview subjects as just subjects, she also lets them tell their own stories; when she writes outside her own experience, she literally collaborates with her subjects, giving them space to write in their own words. Witches honours the heritage of the women who have come before us and those still fighting for equality today. George-Allen represents girlhood as something multi-faceted that isn’t easily defined, but shows how the power of women working together is magic.

Cindy Morris, Readings Carlton

Witches uses interviews, historical research and critical theory to tell the stories of 13 distinct sets of women. [George-Allen's] book shines a great light on women and the work they do that so often gets trivialised or goes unnoticed. It's a thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written study. Witches also articulates an intimate self-appraisal of the author's own experiences and beliefs – her feelings towards childbirth, her feelings about religion – and she doesn't shy away from interrogating those feelings.

Catie McLeod, The Sydney Morning Herald

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780143788294

    March 5, 2019

    Vintage Australia

    288 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780143788300

    March 5, 2019

    Random House Australia

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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  • Audio Download

    9781760891084

    March 5, 2019

    Penguin Random House Australia Audio

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Audible AU
    • Google Play Audio AU
    • Kobo Audiobook
Q&A
Sam George-Allen Q&A

Rapid-fire questions for the author of Witches: What Women Do Together.

Book Clubs
Witches Book Club Notes

Sam George-Allen celebrates the powerful concoction of women working with women.