‘I loved it! Brilliantly written, probing and necessary’ PANDORA SYKES
‘Skinner goes in search of a different way of life . . . a sensitive and colourful account’ New Statesman
From the author of Jailbirds and one of Elle’s ’50 Game Changers’ (2019) comes a timely exploration of different forms of living together.
Seventy-six per cent of British adults feel that we’ve become more distanced from our neighbours in the last 20 years. We are less likely than our grandparents, or even our parents, to know the names of our neighbours, to enjoy multi-generational friendships or to share resources and childcare. With mental health at epidemic levels, the climate crisis worsening, and society feeling increasingly divided, this game-changing book asks whether there are better ways to live.
Mim Skinner sets out to explore communities that have rejected individualism and nuclear family life in order to embrace a more collective way of living. As she meets those who have had the courage to imagine a better world and start living it – in countercultural hippy communes, the disability led L’Arche communities, queer safe spaces, environmental campaign groups, rehab support networks and more – she asks how each is tackling the social issues of our time and finding greener and more connected ways to be together.
Mixing memories and reflections of her own unconventional upbringing with interviews and research into the international history of communalism, Mim Skinner challenges her own assumptions as well as ours as she searches for a more meaningful way of life and finds multiple options for alternative ways of living – from commercial co-living developments for time-starved urbanites to off-grid farm communities, low-cost co-operative estates and collaborative parenting schemes.
The result is an eye-opening snapshot of alternative communities and a much-needed new perspective on the concept of wellness. It asks whether individualism can ever give us the tools to live in healthy and equal ways and offers a glimpse into the possibility – and also the pitfalls – of life lived differently.
‘I loved it! Brilliantly written, probing and necessary‘ – Pandora Sykes
‘Visiting swanky urban “co-living” spaces, Buddhist centres and eco-villages, Skinner goes in search of a different way of life … a sensitive and colourful account‘ – New Statesman
‘Mim’s warmth and understanding make for a humane, sometimes humorous, and always perceptive account of prison life. This book is a fine achievement.’ – Ken Loach, praise for Jailbirds
‘I’ve never read a book like Jailbirds before – which shows quite how much we need it. It is very funny and very important and reminds us that women in jail are still women worth listening to. I’m only grateful – for them, and for us – that Mim was listening.’ – praise for Jailbirds
‘Skinner’s warmth and empathy radiates from the pages in this eye-opening read. Humbling, hopeful and wryly hilarious in equal measure, it serves as a powerful reminder about the importance that women’s voices – even behind bars – deserve to be heard.’ – Sunday Herald, praise for Jailbirds
‘Jailbirds is a very real and powerful account of living and working in a women’s prison – with all the complexities, pain, frustrations and hope to be encountered there. It’s a really accessible, engaging read and we will be recommending it to new staff as part of their induction.’ – praise for Jailbirds
Mim Skinner is a writer and social entrepreneur living in County Durham. She is the co-founder of REfUSE, an organisation which intercepts and redistributes food that would go to landfill. Her debut non-fiction book Jailbirds won her a place on The Elle List’s 2019’s ‘game changers of now’ and the paperback edition was listed by Stylist as one of their most anticipated backs of 2020.
She and her husband recently bought two retired train carriages which they hope to convert into a tiny home on a community farm.