Fri, 02/23/2024 - 8:52am Nicola Wilson

We are delighted to announce the publication of The Edinburgh Companion to Women in Publishing, 1900-2020. This has been a long-running editorial project led by MAPP's co-directors Alice Staveley, Helen Southworth, Claire Battershill, Nicola Wilson, and Elizabeth Willson Gordon, with additional editors Marrisa Joseph, Daniela La Penna and Sophie Heywood.

The book is the fruit of many years' collaboration and editorial labour, stemming from two international conferences we organised in 2019.  

The volume highlights the long history of women's work as editors and publishers, designers, booksellers, type drawers, illustrators, agents, and more. With thirty-three deeply-researched chapters, it goes beyond the Anglosphere and aims to define a new field of intersectional feminist approaches to book and publishing history. 

As Alice Staveley explains: 'For me, this book represents in both its editorial design and its historical contents the power of collective feminist action to change longstanding critical or institutional narratives about women, work, and publishing, both within and without the academy.  What began with the efforts of a subset of our editorial team on MAPP, led to a desire to expand the range, diversity, and archival resources for where the ‘lost’ stories of women’s manifold roles in the publishing industry might be found and brought back to public view.  Our unconventionally large editorial collective was in service of that goal. We were lucky to work with Edinburgh University Press who wholeheartedly allowed us to ‘go big by going together’.  What I loved about working with such a dynamic group of women editors, too, was how our many conversations resonated with the traces of women’s talk sprinkled liberally throughout this book, unearthed by our superb contributors: from Toni Morrison’s letters to Toni Cade Bambara; to Grace Hogarth’s letters from America to her associates in the UK; from Barbara Smith to Audre Lorde at Kitchen Table Press; to Natalia Ginsburg's editorial work at Carcanet.

We invite our readers to share in this rich colloquy, and hope it encourages others to expand upon our work, taking it in unforeseen directions.'

The book includes Marrisa Joseph's interviews with eight contemporary women in publishing (Helen Huthwaite, Natalie Jerome, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Jennifer Mack-Watkins, Rathna Ramanathan, Hannah Schofield, Rebecca Smart, and Farhana Shaikh), alongside Emma Shercliff's opening chapter which includes new interviews with Margaret Busby, Verna Wilkins, Rosemarie Hudson, Nana Ayebia Clarke, Elise Dillsworth, Ellah Wakatama, and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf. 

As we argue in the Introduction (available open access here), we need a feminist publishing history to uncover the previously undervalued creative and intellectual labour performed by women in the creative industries.

To join the online book launch on Monday March 4th at 10am PST / 11am MST / 1pm EST / 6pm GMT please sign up here: Meeting Registration - Zoom

Join us and the contributing authors and interviewees for lightening talks, Q and A, and discussion.