"It was a lot of work writing this book. I'm not gonna say it was easy. I was a mess": Bikini Kill/Le Tigre's Kathleen Hanna announces 'raw and insightful' memoir Rebel Girl

Kathleen Hanna Rebel Girl book
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc / Leeta Harding)

Kathleen Hanna, vocalist of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and Julie Ruin, has revealed that she'll be releasing her autobiography next year.

Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk will be published by Ecco/HarperCollins on May 14, 2024.

A synopsis for the book, which the publishers describe as 'raw and insightful' reads:

'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.'

Famously, it was Hanna's graffiti on Kurt Cobain's bedroom wall which inspired the title of Nirvana's breakthrough hit Smells Like Teen Spirit, and as well as charting her musical career with three groundbreaking and highly influential bands, the book will touch upon her friendship with Cobain, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye, Joan Jett (who produced Bikini KIll's classic Rebel Girl single) and Beastie Boys, plus her subsequent marriage to Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horowitz. The book will also detail Hanna's thoughts on living with Lyme disease.

Hanna's life story was previously told in the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer

Talking about her forthcoming memoir in an Instagram post, Hanna says, "It was a lot of work writing this book. I'm not gonna say it was easy. I was a mess. But it was also really awesome, and I got to revisit a bunch of, like, amazing joyous moments where I lost my creativity, and found it back, and lost my confidence a million times and got it back."

Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk is available now to pre-order.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.