We accept! In 2018, we’ll only publish books by women.
The Guardian and The Bookseller published a talk Kamila Shamsie gave at Hay Festival as part of Writers’ Centre Norwich’s National Conversation. It lit a fuse by talking about the fact that books by and about women are still significantly less likely to win literary prizes or to receive as much recognition as their male counterparts. She therefore challenged publishers to have a Year of Publishing Women in 2018, and we’ve accepted!
So far as literary fiction is concerned, we have no doubt that she is right and that the industry is biased towards male writers. But why? That’s the million dollar question! We alone cannot redress any numerical imbalance in the representation of men and women in our bookshops and in the media, but we hope to help widen the debate, as well as to make an impact in the area of publishing women in translation (where the statistics are even more skewed towards men).
We want to focus our attention on this issue and share our experiences. We will look at our submissions and acquisitions processes and consider whether there’s any inherent gender bias in the way we choose books. We see it as a continuation of our ongoing project to open up publishing, which started with our brainstorming events, our subscriber supporter base and our reading groups for discussing foreign language books we could publish. Our senior editor Sophie Lewis wrote more about our Year of Publishing Women for The Independent.
We’re really excited about the books we might discover, and we hope you will be too! Keep an eye out for our writing about how it goes – we’ll be sharing our experiences at events, in the media and on our Ampersand blog.