The Edinburgh Companion to Women in Publishing, 1900–2020

Edited by Nicola Wilson, Claire Battershill, Sophie Heywood, Marrisa Joseph, Daniela La Penna, Helen Southworth, Alice Staveley, Elizabeth Willson Gordon

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Explores the diversity of women’s work in transatlantic and continental publishing across the twentieth-century

  • The first international edited collection to explore women’s diverse work in book and magazine publishing in the twentieth century
  • Specially commissioned, archivally-rich chapters from leading established and early-careers scholars, edited by an international research team
  • Transatlantic and European/continental in focus, going beyond the Anglosphere, and modelling the best new comparative work in global print cultures
  • Cuts across aesthetic divisions in twentieth-century literary history and bridges the gap in understandings of women’s contributions to publishing from first to second and third/fourth wave feminisms
  • Includes interviews with 8 contemporary women in publishing, plus new oral history research

Women’s creative labour in publishing has often been overlooked. This book draws on dynamic new work in feminist book history and publishing studies to offer the first comparative collection exploring women’s diverse, deeply embedded work in modern publishing. Highlighting the value of networks, collaboration, and archives, the companion sets out new ways of reading women’s contributions to the production and circulation of global print cultures. With an international, intergenerational set of contributors using diverse methodologies, essays explore women working in publishing transatlantically, on the continent, and beyond the Anglosphere. The book combines new work on high-profile women publishers and editors alongside analysis of women’s work as translators, illustrators, booksellers, advertisers, patrons, and publisher’s readers; complemented by new oral histories and interviews with leading women in publishing today. The first collection of its kind, the companion helps establish and shape a thriving new research field.


Editors’ note

List of Figures

Notes on contributors

General Introduction: Making Fields: Women in Publishing, Claire Battershill, Alice Staveley and Nicola Wilson

PART 1: Women as Editors and Publishers (Books)

Introduction, Alice Staveley and Nicola Wilson

Voices. Interviews with Women in Contemporary Publishing: Helen Huthwaite; Sharmaine Lovegrove; Rebecca Smart

1. Black Women Publishers in the UK, Emma Shercliff

2. The Dun Emer Press: Irish, British and Transatlantic Print Culture, Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin

3. Women and Modernist Small Presses: Virginia Woolf, Anaïs Nin, Nancy Cunard, Caresse Crosby, Una Marson, Jennifer Sorensen

4. ‘Mere girls’: Grace Hogarth and Women Pathbreakers in Transatlantic Twentieth-Century Children’s Publishing, Liz West

5. Cultural Practices and the Public Arena: Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Women Editors, Pura Fernández

6. Democratising Culture and Building a New Consciousness: The Transformative Female Publishers of Post-Franco Spain, Marta Simó-Comas

7. Translating and Publishing across the Channel: Natalia Ginzburg’s Career from Einaudi to Carcanet, Teresa Franco

8. ‘I am not a cherry on top of the cake’: Inge Schönthal Feltrinelli as Publisher, Roberta Cesana

9. Toni Morrison at Random House, Charlotte Terrell

10. Intersectional Feminist Poetics at the Kitchen Table Press, Bethany Hicok

11. Women of Colour in British Young Adult Fiction: Subverting Stereotypes and Expanding Identities, Melanie Ramdershan Bold

PART 2: Women and the Periodical Press: Editors | Journalists | Activists

Part II Introduction, Daniela La Penna and Helen Southworth

Voices. Interviews with Women in Contemporary Publishing: Farhana Shaikh

12. ‘Unnamed but ever-present consulting editor’: A feminist problem, Anna Mukamal

13. The Expansive Vision of Jessie Redmon Fauset, Whit Frazier Peterson

14. A Literary Bridge between Italy and the United States: Ester, Natalia, and Lea Danesi, Sara Follacchio

15. Noémia de Sousa (1926–2002): poetry, gender, and journal cultures, Alexandra Reza

16. Periodical Publishing and the Independent Press: Nancy Chambers, Thimble Press and Signal: Approaches to Children’s Books,
Lucy Pearson and Hazel Sheeky Bird

17. Networks of Conflict and Mediation: Negotiating Socialist Feminism in the Second Wave Periodicals Red Rag and Scarlet Women, Bec Wonders

PART 3: Women Workers within Publishing

Part III Introduction, Sophie Heywood and Claire Battershill

Voices. Interviews with Women in Contemporary Publishing: Natalie Jerome, Hannah Schofield

18. Fitzi’s Library: Feminist Bibliography and Anarchist Print Culture, Catherine W. Hollis

19. Navigating publishing in the 1930s: Gwenda David translator, reader and agent, Sara Sullam

20. Like Needle and Thread: How Women connected Italy to America at the house of Farrar, Straus, Giulia Pellizzato

21. Carmen Balcells: The Agent of the Latin American Literary Boom, Dominique Lear

22. Women's Creative Labour Contribution to the American Christian Publishing Industry, Stephanie L. Derrick

23. Women Literary Agents in Canada, 1950–2000, Ruth Panofsky

24. Living the Dream: Feminist Book Publisher Memoirs and the Business of Anglo-American Feminist Life Writing in the Twenty-First Century, Margaretta Jolly

PART 4: Making | Selling | Distributing

Part IV Introduction, Claire Battershill and Nicola Wilson

Voices. Interviews with Women in Contemporary Publishing: Jennifer Mack-Watkins, Rathna Ramanathan

25. Women Editing and Illustrating in Popular Archaeology Publishing, Amara Thornton

26. A Room of One’s Own on the High Street: Women Booksellers in Early-Twentieth Century Britain and the United States, Matthew Chambers

27. Finding Miss Weaver: James Joyce and the Patron of Ulysses, Clare Hutton

28. Women in Type: Investigating Women’s Role in Type-Drawing Offices, 1910–1990, Fiona Ross and Alice Savoie

29. Marie Neurath: Designing and Publishing Isotype Books for Children, Sue Walker

30. Building Feminist Institutions: Women in Distribution, the Feminist Press, and Cultures of Small Press Circulation, Kaja Marczewska

31. Virago Modern Classics: the making of a reprint series, D-M Withers

32. Murder at The Women’s Press: Transnational Accomplices and the Feminist Crime-Scene, Rosy Mack

33. Shifting Agency: Feminist Publishing Collectives in New Zealand, Sydney J. Shep


This is a book we have needed for decades. Covering both book and periodical publishing, the contributors unearth historical examples of women’s publishing, examine roles and issues in contemporary print culture, and chart the theoretical and methodological needs of the future discipline. Relish this rich, diverse, absolutely necessary collection.

Simone Murray, Monash University
Nicola Wilson is Associate Professor of Book and Publishing Studies at the University of Reading and co-director of the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing. She is author of Home in British Working-Class Fiction (2015), co-author of Scholarly Adventures in the Digital Humanities: Making the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (2017), and editor of The Book World: Selling and Distributing British Literature, 1900–40 (2016). She is a co-founder of the Modernist Archives Publishing Project ( and is currently writing a mongraph on the Book Society, Britain’s first subscription book club.

Claire Battershill is an Assistant Professor cross-appointed in the Faculty of Information and the Department of English at the University of Toronto. Her most recent book is Women and Letterpress 1920–2020: Gendered Impressions (CUP Elements in Book and Publishing Culture, 2022). She is co-founder of the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (

Sophie Heywood is Associate Professor in French at the University of Reading, and Co-Director of the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing. She is the author of Catholicism and children’s literature in France: the comtesse de Ségur (1799–1874) (2011), and is currently writing a monograph on children’s publishing in Cold War France.

Marrisa Joseph is Associate Professor of Organisation Studies and Business History at the Henley Business School, University of Reading and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Marrisa was the recipient of the Journal of Management History Award for her paper Members Only: the Victorian Gentlemen’s Club as a Space for Doing Business 1843–1900 (2017). She is the author of Victorian Literary Businesses (2019).

Daniela La Penna is Professor of Modern Italian Culture at the University of Reading. She has edited several collections of essays and special issues of journals on translation, most recently a special issue of The Italianist (2021) entitled Literary Exchanges between the Italian and Anglo-American Publishing Markets: Readers, Translators, Mediators (1945–1970) with Sara Sullam. She is the author of La promessa d’un semplice linguaggio: lingua e stile nella poesia di Amelia Rosselli (2013). Her work has appeared in Italian Studies, Translation Studies, The Italianist, Testo and other journals.

Helen Southworth is Professor of English at the University of Oregon. Recent publications include ‘Virginia Woolf and Literary London’, in The Oxford Handbook to Virginia Woolf, ed. Anne E. Fernald (2021), and, with Nicola Wilson, ‘Early Women Workers at the Hogarth Press (c.1917–1925)’ in Women in Print, eds Archer-Parré, Moog and Hinks (2022). Her most recent books include Fresca, A Life in the Making (2017) and the co-authored Scholarly Adventures in Digital Humanities: Making the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (2017). She is co-founder of the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (

Alice Staveley is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Stanford University and Director of the Honors program and the Minor in Digital Humanities. She is co-founder of the Modernist Archives Publishing Project ( and co-author of Scholarly Adventures in Digital Humanities: Making the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (2017), and has published numerous book and journal articles on Virginia Woolf, modernist marketing and feminist narratology. She is at work on a book about Woolf, publishing and new feminist formalisms, and has led a team of Stanford undergraduates in a collaborative DH project to transcribe and interpret Woolf’s book sales records. Her most recent article is ‘Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press’ in The Oxford Handbook of Virginia Woolf, ed. Anne E. Fernald (2021).

Elizabeth Willson Gordon is an Associate Professor of English and Canada Research Chair in Modern Literature and Print Culture at King’s University, Edmonton, Canada. She is a founding member and co-director of the Modernist Archives Publishing Project ( and co-author of Scholarly Adventures in Digital Humanities: Making the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (2017). She is currently writing a monograph on the history and legacy of the Hogarth Press.

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