And Other Stories to publish only women in 2018

On 5 June, Kamila Shamsie offered publishers a provocative challenge: only publish women for one year.

In the Guardian, she argued:

I would argue that is time for everyone, male and female, to sign up to a concerted campaign to redress the inequality. Last year a number of readers, critics and at least one literary journal, the Critical Flame, signed up to a “Year of Reading Women” (for the Critical Flame it was female writers and writers of colour). Why not take it a step further? Why not have a Year of Publishing Women: 2018, the centenary of women over the age of 30 getting the vote in the UK, seems appropriate.

Of course, there will be many details to work out, but the basic premise of my “provocation” is that none of the new titles published in that year should be written by men. I’ve been considering literary fiction so far but other groups within fiction – and non-fiction – publishing could gain from signing up too. The knock-on effect of a Year of Publishing Women would be evident in review pages and blogs, in bookshop windows and front-of-store displays, in literature festival lineups, in prize submissions. We must learn from the suffragettes that it’s not always necessary or helpful to be polite about our campaigns.”

As you know, here at the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival we are dedicated to challenging the male bias in our cultural world, giving women writers and platform, and celebrating women’s creative work. So, we say YES! to Kamila Shamsie’s provocative challenge.

And we’re not the only ones. And Other Stories have answered the challenge too, and have committed to only publishing women in 2018.

We can’t wait to see 2018’s list! And thank you And Other Stories for taking notice of sexism in publishing, and doing something about it.

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