Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk

By Kathleen Hanna

An electric, searing memoir by the original riot grrrl and legendary frontwoman of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre

Hey girlfriend I got a proposition, goes something like this: Dare ya to do what you want.

Kathleen Hanna’s rallying cry to feminists echoed far and wide through the punk scene of the 1980s, ’90s, and beyond. Her band, Bikini Kill, embodies this iconic time, and today their gutsy, radical lyrics of anthems like ‘Rebel Girl’ and ‘Double Dare Ya’ are more powerful than ever. But where did this transformative voice come from?

In Rebel Girl, Hanna’s raw and insightful new memoir, she takes us from her tumultuous childhood home, to her formative college years in Olympia, Washington, and on to her first years on tour, fighting hard for gigs and for her band. As Hanna makes blindingly clear, being in a ‘girl band’, especially a punk girl band, in those years was not a simple or a safe prospect. Male violence and antagonism threatened at every turn, and surviving as a singer who was a lightening rod for controversy took limitless amounts of determination.

But the relationships she developed during those years buoyed her – including with her bandmates Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Karren; her friendship with Kurt Cobain; and her introduction to Joan Jett – and they were a testament to how the true punk world nurtured and cared for its own.

Hanna opens up about falling in love with Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys and her debilitating battle with Lyme disease, and she brings us behind the scenes of her later bands, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin. She also writes candidly about the Riot Grrrl movement and its decline, documenting with love its grassroots origins but critiquing its later exclusivity.

In an uncut voice all her own, Hanna reveals the darkest, hardest times along with the most joyful – and how it all fuelled her revolutionary art, from the 1980s to today.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 14 May 2024
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0-00-836534-9
Kathleen Hanna is a singer, musician, artist, feminist activist and writer. She is the lead singer of Bikini Kill and was the frontwoman for Le Tigre and The Julie Ruins. Hanna pioneered riot grrrl, an underground feminist movement that helped women express anger, rage and frustration, and talk about issues like rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, racism, patriarchy, classicism, anarchism and female empowerment.

”'Gripping” - NYLON, selected for 'The It Girl’s Summer Reading List’

”'Hanna delivers a searing memoir in which the pioneering punk icon recalls her journey through music and activism … She makes the case for hope and resilience in the face of hardship - illustrated by … the lasting positive impact of her work” - W Magazine,'The Best, Most Talked-About Books of 2024 (So Far)'

'A fantastic journey into an unconventional life, pulsing with raw energy and vulnerability that I witnessed firsthand. It’s honest, funny, witty and smart. And most of all, it's important to the herstory of Kathleen’s place in blazing new trails' Joan Jett -

'Until I started reading this book, the idea of Kathleen Hanna seemed more real to me than the person. But with every word, Kathleen exposes the fleshy humanness of being a cult icon on a mission. While Rebel Girl is as defiant as the song that inspired its title, there’s a counterweight of humility and openness that adds new perspective to the songs and stories of Kathleen’s life. This book is something special' Hayley Williams -

'Hanna’s book is raw, honest, poetic, insightful and often funny. Her political evolution is particularly gratifying… An impressively perspicacious memoir from one of feminism’s most influential artists' Kirkus Reviews -