Last week, actress and activist Emma Watson treated a handful of lucky Londoners to some unexpected Underground surprises. As a “Book Fairy” for Books on the Underground, she gifted London’s Tube with hidden copies of Mom & Me & Mom, the final installment of Maya Angelou’s moving memoir series. Intended to be “taken, read, shared, and most importantly, enjoyed” by commuters, each railway read featured a handwritten well-wish from Watson. While the actress has completed her duties as a London-based Book Fairy, she has not completely shifted gears. Now, in the wake of a particularly polarizing presidential campaign and an undeniably alienating election result, Watson has arrived in New York City to give its subway riders a reason to smile.
Not unlike her role as Book Fairy for Books on the Underground, Watson’s sneaky stint for Books on the Subway is rooted in her impassioned activism. At just 26 years old, the actress is a UN Global Goodwill Ambassador. She is also celebrated as a contemporary champion for women’s rights, and is applauded for her wide-reaching feminist platform. Given her inspiring girl-power persona, her gravitation toward Angelou’s work is not surprising. And, given the current climate following the victory of Donald Trump—a controversial candidate who has isolated and offended many women on his way to the White House—her journey to New York isn’t, either.
On the day that the seemingly never-ending election’s unexpected result was announced, Watson, with an air of great determination, posted her plan on Twitter: “Today I am going to deliver Maya Angelou books to the New York subway,” she declared. “Then I am going to fight even harder for all the things I believe in.” Following her inspired and empowering message, she shared an Instagram photo portraying her plan in action.
As she clutches two copies of Mom & Me & Mom in New York City’s 23rd Street Station—poignantly, the site of a recent attack—Watson is shown cleverly tucking one into its new hiding place: a not-so-obvious nook in an ordinary beam. Since sharing the photo, which has now been “liked” over 1.2 million times, Watson hasn’t divulged any additional hints or clues about the whereabouts of the other literary treats. But one lucky commuter has found one in Clark Street Station, so all New York-based bookworms should continue to keep an eye (or two) out.
If you’re not based in the Big Apple but still interested in leafing through Mom & Me & Mom and other Watson-selected literature, be sure to check out her feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, a refreshing safe space where all are welcome to read along.