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Waterstones Norwich to showcase only women authors in 2018

Waterstones Norwich. Photo: Paul Hewitt

Waterstones Norwich. Photo: Paul Hewitt

Waterstones in Norwich will mark 100 years since women won the right to vote by stocking their Staff Recommends section only with female authors.

2018 is the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave women over the age of 30 the right to vote in the UK.

And fiction expert at Norwich Waterstones Victor Meadowcroft has picked up a gauntlet laid down by author Kamila Shamsie, who called for a “concerted campaign to redress the inequality” in publishing.

The store will now devote all its staff recommendations to women authors, past and present, with a focus on local writers.

Mr Meadowcroft said he took the move after the comments from Shamsie there is “still a bias in the publishing industry”.

Publishing house And Other Stories have also pledged to only publish women in 2018 in an attempt to reset the gender imbalance.

“Last year there was the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, which recognised that until very recently publishers thought it was risky to publish women in translation rather than men,” said Mr Meadowcroft. “From looking at the statistics that seems to be true.

“Together with the fact it is 100 years since women got the right to vote in the UK, this seemed a fitting way to celebrate that.”

He added this year will see a “little boom” in publishing women’s fiction in 2018.

Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 longlist. Pictured is The Power by Naomi Alderman.
Image: supplied by Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 longlist. Pictured is The Power by Naomi Alderman. Image: supplied by Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

“I know there is going to be a lot of publishing around the 100 year anniversary, including writers from the past who have maybe been ignored, like Ann Quin, who killed herself in the 1970s just before she was about to start a course at UEA,” he said.

“It seemed a nice idea to create a space for those authors. When you do a table of modern classics, by the time you have got all the male authors there is a limited space to put the women on, and it tends to be the same women.

“This is a way to showcase the authors from the past who didn’t get the attention they deserved, as well as those around now, and getting more momentum into this movement.”

Mr Meadowcroft said some of his picks will include Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada which won the inaugural Warwick Prize last year, and 2017 Bailey’s Womens Prize for Fiction winner The Power, by UEA graduate Naomi Alderman.

Naomi Alderman Naomi Alderman

They will be joined by another UEA graduate, Julianne Pachico with her book The Lucky Ones, who was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2017.

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