Conference on Women in Publishing, 13th-14th June, University of Reading, MERL

We are delighted to announce the programme for the Women in Publishing symposium at Reading next month, organised by the Archives and Texts research cluster in the School of Literature and Languages, University of Reading, to be held on Thursday-Friday 13th and 14th June, University of Reading, Special Collections, at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

It is free to attend but places are limited – please contact Dr Sophie Heywood if you would like to attend (also stating any dietary or access requirements)

Programme for Women in Publishing

University of Reading, Special Collections, at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL)

Thursday 13th June

3pm Welcome and refreshments – Seminar room

Dr Daniela La Penna, Dr Sophie Heywood and Dr Nicola Wilson (University of Reading)


Panel 1 The contemporary scene

Seminar room

Chair: Dr Nicola Wilson (University of Reading)

Dr Gill Tasker (University of Stirling), “(Nasty) Women at the Top? 50 Years of Independent Publishing in Scotland”

Christina Neuwirth (University of Stirling), “Exploring Inequality in Contemporary Scottish Publishing”

Dr Stevie Marsden (University of Leicester), “When is a writer not a writer? When he’s a man: Myths and Misconceptions of Literary Awards and Women Writers”


Roundtable Women in Publishing: Then and Now

Conference room

With Jane Cholmeley (Women in Publishing member, co-founder of Silver Moon Women’s Bookshop), Jill Shefrin (University of Toronto), Dr Kate Macdonald (Handheld Press), and Harriet Judd (Eiderdown Books)

Chair: Shelley Harris (author of Jubilee and Vigilante, University of Reading)

6-7pm Drinks at the MERL

Friday 14th June


Panel 2 Feminist publishing

Conference room

Chair: Dr Nicola Wilson (University of Reading)

Gail Chester (Independent scholar), “Culture vs commerce: The publishing of feminist books since 1945”

Dr Kaja Marczewska (University of Coventry), “Building Feminist Institutions: Women in Distribution, the feminist press, and cultures of small press circulation”

Professor Margaretta Jolly (University of Sussex) and Dr D-M Withers (University of Sussex), “The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing”

Panel 3 Women in Publishing: Spain

Seminar room

Chair: Dr Cherylin Elston (University of Reading)

Dr Marta Simó Comas (University of Reading), “Democratizing Culture and Building a New Consciousness: The transformative female publishers of post-Franco Spain”

Carlota Álvarez (Centre for Human and Social Sciences, CSIC)), “Beatriz de Moura and Tusquets Publisher”

Dr Mazal Oaknin (University College London), “Rosa Montero’s Odyssey in the Spanish Literary Market: from Feminist to ‘Humanist’”

11-11.30 Coffee break


Panel 4 Children’s literature

Conference room

Chair: Dr Sophie Heywood (University of Reading)

Liz West (University of Reading), “Very important jobs for ‘mere girls’: women as pioneering children’s editors in the early twentieth century”

Jill Shefrin (University of Toronto), “‘The author’s debt here is gladly acknowledged’: Children’s librarians and children’s book publishing in the first half of the twentieth century. Examples from the Toronto Public Library and elsewhere”

Dr Mathilde Lévêque (University of Paris 13), “French women in children’s publishing in the late 1960s: from invisibility to predominance”

Panel 5 Editing + loving women

Seminar room

Chair: Dr D-M Withers (University of Sussex)

Anna Murdoch (University of Reading), “Onlywomen Press + lesbian romances”

Dr Charlotte Terrell (University of Sussex), “‘practice dispassion, don’t love the work’: Toni Morrison, editing and affective labour”

Rosy Mack (University of Austin at Texas), “Feminist Editing in Practice: Care, Ideology and Lesbian Revisionism”

12.45-1.30 Lunch + please visit the pop-up exhibition on Women in Publishing from Special Collections, curated by Anna Murdoch. Downstairs in the Studio


Panel 6 Women in Publishing: Italy

Conference room

Chair: Dr Daniela la Penna (University of Reading)

Sara Follacchio (independent scholar), “A literary bridge between Italy and the United States: the Danesi sisters”

Giulia Pellizzato (Brown University), “Like Needle and Thread: How women connected Italy to America at the house of John Farrar and Roger Straus”

Carmela Pierini (Università Cattolica, Milan), “From translation to authorship: Anna Banti and Mondadori”

Teresa Franco (Oxford University), “Natalia Ginzburg: From Einaudi to Carcanet”

Panel 7 Editors, gatekeepers, archives

Seminar room

Chair: Dr Amara Thornton (University of Reading)

Dr Sara Sullam (University of Milan), “Profiling Gwenda David: Reader, translator, reviewer, scout”

Professor Alison Donnell and Jennifer McDerra (University of East Anglia), “Caribbean Women 1890s-1980s: Publishing & the politics of small gestures”

3-3.30 Coffee



Panel 8 Publishing and design  

Conference room

Chair: Dr Sara Sullam (Milan)

Dr Amara Thornton (University of Reading), “Editing and Illustrating: Women and Popular Archaeology Publishing”

Professor Fiona Ross (University of Reading), “Women in Type”

Professor Sue Walker (University of Reading), “Marie Neurath and Isotype”

Panel 9 Periodicals

Seminar room

Chair: Dr Sophie Heywood (University of Reading)

Charlotte D’Eer (Ghent University), “Women Editors, Transnational Networks and Editorial Strategies: An analysis of the feminist periodical, Dokumente der Frauen, 1899-1902

Bec Wonders (Glasgow School of Art), “‘Dear Sisters’: the role of letters in British second-wave feminist periodicals”

Dr Lucy Pearson (Newcastle University) and Dr Hazel Sheeky Bird (Seven Stories), “Signal and Nancy Chambers”


Panel 10 Women in Publishing: 1979

Conference room

Chair: Dr Nicola Wilson (University of Reading)

Jane Cholmeley and Penny Mountain

5.30-6 Conclusion – all

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