Emma was a wizard – now she’s an underground ‘book fairy’


Emma Watson joined the Books On the Underground project and dropped free books in unexpected spots around London’s rail network.
Emma Watson joined the Books On the Underground project and dropped free books in unexpected spots around London’s rail network.
Harry Potter star leaves free books for London commuters - with a handwritten note inside

She was a wizard in a previous life – now she’s a “book fairy”.

Emma Watson, the Harry Potter actor and UN goodwill ambassador for women, has been craftily placing 100 paperback copies of Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom in busy Tube stations.

Watson heads an open feminist book club called My Shared Self and the Angelou autobiography is November’s required reading.

So she partnered with Books On The Underground, becoming what’s known as “book fairy” – someone who helps the community project by dropping free books in unexpected spots around London’s rail network.

On her Instagram, Watson cheekily shared her antics as she deposited the copies throughout stations and in railway carriages.

Commuters have already started spotting and picking up the tomes, hidden in plain sight. There’s even a handwritten note from Watson enclosed.

Watson went online to explain why she chose this Angelou work, the seventh in the writer’s series of autobiographies:

“Maya Angelou’s final work, published a year before her death, in 2013, when she was 85 years old, was the first book to focus on her mother, Vivian Baxter, who abandoned Angelou when she was a child and it portrays their complicated relationship.

“The story is about the special connection between mother and child; both women found a way to move on and form a profound and enduring bond of love and support.
“Many of you may be familiar with Angelou’s 1969 classic, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but that was just the first of seven works of autobiography. And, despite the length of time between their publications, some have referred to Mom & Me & Mom as a spiritual sequel to this first book.

“Angelou revisits episodes and people in her life mentioned in her previous works in a different context and all focused around her relationship with her mother.
“Vivian Baxter cuts a fiercely unapologetic figure, imperfect but admirable, and we discover not just how she had a hand in Angelou’s evolution as a black woman but also in her feminist perspective, her independence and self-awareness, all of which contributed to her unique way of looking at the world and the way she expressed herself on the page.

“As a result, this is perhaps the greatest window into what shaped Angelou as a writer and poet and a fitting end to a lifetime of amazing works.”

One Twitter user said she felt like Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when she found a book while another wrote: “The book fairies get a book wizard. Too fabulous for words.”

Those not lucky enough to snag a free autobiography in London can get in on the action by picking up their own copy and joining the book club conversation online at:


Books On The Underground started in 2012 and its fairies leave about 150 books in stations across London each week.

Watson’s next film role is playing Belle in a live-action remake of Beauty and Beast with Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley) as the Beast. First images from the film were released today.


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