Radio 2 Book Club: The Kingdom of Women

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The Kingdom of Women by Choo Waihong will feature on the Radio 2 Fact not Fiction Book Club with Jonathan Ross on Thursday 30 March.

We have an exclusive extract available for your reading group.

You can also win 10 copies for your reading group. Not yet a member of Reading Groups for Everyone? Sign up here.

The Kingdom of Women

From the moment she stepped into the Kingdom of Women, Waihong was captivated. The Mosuos – who worship the female spirit, celebrate every aspect of womanhood and structure their social hierarchy according to maternal bloodlines – were a stark contrast to the male-dominated world of law through which she had navigated for years. Waihong then became the first outsider to move into the heart of the tribe, where she stayed for six years.

Raising important questions about gender roles and modern society, this is a unique, thought-provoking glimpse into a hidden way of life that teeters on the very knife-edge of extinction in modern China.

Selection panel review

The book was selected with the help of a panel made up of staff from The Reading Agency and public libraries from across the UK. Our panel loved learning about The Mosuos from the The Kingdom of Women – here are some of their comments:

“The subject of this book is the Mosuo tribe who live in a remote area of Yunnan province in China. It is a remarkable tribe whose customs are radically different to the vast majority of other societies for two reasons – 1) the power is held by the women in what the author calls a matriarchal and matrilineal society and 2) there is no such thing as marriage. The author says that the Mosuo have been studied by anthropologists but her take on the subject is very personal and not at all academic.”

“This was a fantastic book. Well-written, engaging and thoroughly interesting.”

About the author

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Choo Waihong was a corporate lawyer with top law firms in Singapore and California before she took early retirement in 2006 to travel and write. She lived for six years with the Mosuo tribe and now spends half the year with them in Yunnan, China.

Get involved

Tune in to the Radio 2 Arts Show on Thursday 30 March to hear an interview with Choo talking about her book.

Have you read The Kingdom of Women? You can share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #FactNotFiction.

You can also see what other readers thought, or add the book to your group’s reading list.

Want to find out more? Take a look at the Radio 2 Book Club Twitter feed or visit the Radio 2 Book Club website.

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