And Other Stories Takes on “Year of Publishing Women” Challenge

Publishing is clearly not dead. In fact, despite all the doomsday prophecies over that past decade, publishing is alive and well. But author Kamila Shamsie is challenging the industry to make itself better—gender equality, people. On June 5, Shamsie published a provocation in the Guardian, with the basic premise being that “none of the new titles published in [2018] should be written by men.”

Photo courtesy of The Guardian

Kamila Shamsie, photo courtesy of the Guardian

The challenge has exploded online, and one publisher has already stepped up to the plate. The small British press And Other Stories has committed to publishing writing only by female writers for 2018.

And Other Stories publishes 10-12 books per year. But head publisher Stefan Tobler is hoping this will be a challenge to bigger publishing houses. In Shamsie’s words, “Provocation is one way to bring attention to the problem. Another is brightly coloured pie charts. I’m sure there are a score of others, waiting to be born.”

According to Sophie Lewis, senior editor at And Other Stories, “By taking on the challenge we . . . will end up becoming a kind of small-scale model for a much bigger inquiry about why women’s writing is consistently sidelined or secondary, the poor cousin rather than the equal of men’s writing.” In the op-ed piece she wrote for the Independent, Lewis hinted at least one other publisher will be joining in on the challenge, and hoped for more: “Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good provocation.”


And Other Stories’ commitment to publishing only women authors in 2018 is getting attention at Shelf Awareness, the Guardian, Ploughshares, Huffington Post, the Rumpus, Bustle, and Publishing Perspectives.

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