Books published by Women’s Presses

Discover feminist texts published by women’s presses between 1965-1995.

Ripening: An Almanac of Lesbian Lore and Vision

Ripening: An Almanac of Lesbian Loreand Vision Lee Lanning, Vernette Hart Iowa City Women’s Press 1981 The Almanac of Lesbian Lore and Vision book includes Ripening: An Almanac of Lesbian Lore and Vision (Volume One), Dreaming: An Almanac of Lesbian Lore and Vision (Volume Two), and Awakening: An Almanac of Lesbian Lore & Vision (Volume…

Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism

Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and PoliticalLesbianism Various Onlywomen Press 1981 From the introduction: “We are publishing this pamphlet because we think the discussion among feminists about political lesbianism is important. The Leeds Revolutionary Feminists paper was originally written as a conference paper and then published in WIRES, the internal national newsletter…

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color Cherríe Moraga, Gloria Anzaldúa (eds.) Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press 1981 This Bridge Called My Back intends to reflect an uncompromising definition of feminism by women of color in the United States. Containing prose, poetry, personal narrative and analysis by Afro-American, Asian American,…

Hens in the Hay

Hens in the Hay Chris Cherry, Ellen Galford, Joy Pitman, Lorna Mitchell, Stephanie Markman Stramullion 1980 The first ever book published by Stramullion: a Scottish-based feminist publishing collective. From the introduction: “We were scared about publishing these poems. There was a terrible feeling of self-exposure, of lack of confidence. So why did we bother? We…

Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness

Complaints and Disorders:The Sexual Politics ofSickness Barbara Ehrenreich,Deirdre English The Feminist Press 1973 In this exciting sequel to their underground bestseller, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English document the tradition of American sexism in medicine before and after the turn of the century. Citing vivid examples, including numerous “treatments” and “rest cures”…

Womansize: The Tyranny of Slenderness

Womansize: The Tyrannyof Slenderness Kim Chernin The Women’s Press 1981 In this challenging book, Kim Chernin argues that our society’s increasing demand that women should be thin is no accident of fashion but has a political meaning. It is, she insists, an unrecognised aspect of male violence against women; it has to do with the…

More Serious Pleasure: Lesbian Erotic Stories and Poetry

More Serious Pleasure:Lesbian Erotic Stories andPoetry Sheba Collective (ed) Sheba Feminist Press 1990 Serious Pleasure broke new ground. Now More Serious Pleasure goes further, with sustained and gripping fiction. Fantastical, realistic, hot, gentle … there’s pleasure for everyone. Read compelling new stories by familiar Sheba authors Fiona Cooper, Jewelle Gomez, Storme Webber, Cherry Smyth, Liann…

Death by Analysis

Death by Analysis Gillian Slovo The Women’s Press 1986 When psychoanalyst Paul Holland is found dead in mysterious circumstances, private detective Kate Baeier is called in to investigate. The hunt for the killer leads from elegant Belsize Park to the streets of Hackney, until Kate uncovers a desperate web of intrigue and a powerful police…

Out On The Plain

Out On The Plain Frankie Finn The Women’s Press 1984 Out On The Plain concerns the developing links between four women: Rebecca, a painter; Jane, a patient in a mental hospital; Helen, a university student; and Elsie, the woman who cleans her campus room. The women meet and come together, not so much in the…

A February Mourning

A February Mourning Hannah Wakefield The Women’s Press 1990 Solicitor-sleuth Dee Street is back and up to her neck in trouble. She doesn’t know where she is, only that she’s lying imprisoned in darkness, either dying or drugged. She has a client in Holloway charged with murder; she’s inherited an unwanted Irish terrorist case from…

The Leech

The Leech Cora Sandel The Women’s Press 1986 As a young woman, Dondi left her home in the Norwegian south for a small town inside the Arctic Circle, to marry Gregor, then a promising young writer. Now, more than a decade later, her children are rebellious, her husband is less than famous, she is miserable…

For the Record: The Making and Meaning of Feminist Knowledge

For the Record: The makingand meaning of feministknowledge Dale Spender The Women’s Press 1985 For the Record is Dale Spender’s own account of the work of feminist writers and theorists of the last twenty years. Her account begins with the publication of Betty Friedan’s pioneering work, The Feminine Mystique, which blew apart the myth of…

Feminist Theorists: Three Centuries of Women’s Intellectual Traditions

Feminist Theorists: ThreeCenturies of Women’sIntellectual Traditions Dale Spender (eds) The Women’s Press 1983 Feminism was not born in 1968. Yet the work of three centuries of feminist thinkers has been dismissed, distorted or forgotten. Even the names of many of them remain unfamiliar, and few have so much as a mention in history books. Feminist…

The Handbook of Non-Sexist Writing for Writers, Editors and Speakers

The Handbook of Non-SexistWriting for Writers, Editorsand Speakers Casey Miller,Kate Swift The Women’s Press 1981 This book shows us how to avoid sexist language and how to find clear and elegant ways of saying what we actually mean. The first edition was quickly established as the standard book on non-sexist writing, recommended by The Chicago…

The Marquise and the Novice

The Marquise and the Novice Victoria Ramstetter the Naiad Press 1981 Acolyte Kathleen Thorn leaves the security and pent up frustration of the nunnery to become a governess for the only child of a wilful, beautiful and mysterious Marquise Annaliese. She becomes entangled in the web of mysteries surrounding the dark and seductive woman and…

Vital Ties

Vital Ties Karen Kringle Spinsters Ink 1992 In her rural Wisconsin community in the 1950s, 20-year-old Clare Lewis’s determination to own her own farm is ridiculed as beyond a woman’s abilities. No bank will grant her a loan, and her father plans to leave the family dairy farm to her mediocre brother Harry. Unexpectedly, Clare’s…

Inland Passage

Inland Passage Jane Rule the Naiad Press 1985 Why does Dulce have so profound an impact on the artistic lives around her? A lesbian has ended her conventional marriage and is free – or is she? In the most traditional of romantic settings, on board a ship that travels the Inland Passage, two women discover…

Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging and Ageism

Look Me in the Eye: Old Women,Aging and Ageism Barbara Macdonald,Cynthia Rich The Women’s Press 1984 Look Me in the Eye is about the ageing of women, and the prejudice that permeates even the language we use to describe it. The authors accuse us of denying our own fear about age, and colluding in a…

I Never Told Her I Loved Her

I Never Told Her I Loved Her Sandra Chick The Women’s Press 1989 “You’ll miss me one day”, her Mum said. “When you’re dead I’ll be able to do what I want! I can’t wait”, Frankie had replied. Now her Mother is dead and Frankie remembers these words, and others. She feels totally lost, wondering…

The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine

The Subversive Stitch:Embroidery and the Making ofthe Feminine Rozsika Parker The Women’s Press 1984 In the history of embroidery – through the very threads of samplers, firescreens, table runners and dress – can be traced another history: the history of women. In this fascinating study, Rozsika Parker, co-author of Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology,…

Anna’s Country: A Lesbian Love Story

Anna’s Country: A LesbianLove Story Elizabeth Lang the Naiad Press 1981 Arriving in a small town in Upper New York State with her husband and children, Anna Johnson is befriended by her neighbor, nursery owner Hope Alford. When Anna is brutalized by her husband it is to Hope that she flees for shelter, tries to…

Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics

Our Blood: Prophecies andDiscourses on Sexual Politics Andrea Dworkin The Women’s Press 1982 In this fierce and beautiful book, Andrea Dworkin confronts our most profound social disgrace: the sexual, cultural, and political subjugation of women to men, and with rare eloquence examines the systematic crimes of our male-dominated society against women. Women, looking into the…

Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers

Witches, Midwives and Nurses Barbara Ehrenreich,Deirdre English The Feminist Press 1973 Witches, Midwives, & Nurses, first published by the Feminist Press in 1973, is an essential book about the corruption of the medical establishment and its historic roots in witch hunters. In this new edition, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English have written an entirely new chapter…

Pornography and Silence: Culture’s Revenge

Pornography and Silence:Culture’s Revenge Susan Griffin The Women’s Press 1981 A profound analysis of how pornography impacts on the relationship between men and women. Maintaining that sado-masochism has become endemic to our society, Griffin considers pornography as a crucial expression of modern culture and surveys the plots and images of pornographic books, movies, and magazines.…

Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in India

Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in India Vandana Shiva Kali for Women 1988 From Spinifex Press: Shiva links the violation of nature with the violation and marginalisation of women in the Third World by examining the position of women in relation to nature – the forests, the food chain and water supplies. She shows…

Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History

Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History Kukum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid Kali for Women 1989 From Zubaan: This collection of essays stands at an unarticulated conjuncture within the feminist movement and women’s studies that have emerged in India since the 1970s. The anthology attempts to explore the inter-relation of patriarchies with political economy, law, religion…

Benefits

Benefits Zoe Fairbairns Virago 1979 From Zoe Fairbairns: Benefits is fiction – the tale of a group of women and men living through momentous and sometimes sinister political changes – but it grew out of fact: in particular, an episode in UK national politics in 1976 which seemed to prove beyond doubt the truth of the…

Tea and Tranquillisers: The Diary of a Happy Housewife

Tea and Tranquillisers: The Diary of a Happy Housewife Diane Harpwood Virago 1981 Sharp observation and biting wit characterise this brilliant fictional diary of a housewife. We meet our heroine ten years into marriage, negotiating the perils of daily domestic routine – the drama and boredom, frustrations and fulfillments of life as a wife and…

Nervous Conditions

Nervous Conditions Tsitsi Dangarembga The Women’s Press 1988 A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, this novel brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. An extraordinarily well-crafted work, this book is a work of vision.…

Shapeshifter

Shapeshifter Pauline Melville The Women’s Press 1990 A collection of short stories dealing with post-colonial life in the Caribbean, notably in the author’s native Guyana, as well as of some stories set in London. Many of the characters, most of them displaced people from former colonies struggling to come to terms with a new life…

The Needle on Full: Lesbian Feminist Science Fiction

The Needle on Full: Lesbian Feminist Science Fiction Caroline Forbes Onlywomen Press 1985 This is a collection of nine short stories combining lesbian feminist insight with the fantastic possibilities of science fiction. Two women hurtle into space, sole companions for the next 20 years. Back cover The Needle on Full She was in the middle…

For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology

For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology Lucia Hoagland and Julia Penelope Onlywomen Press 1988 This anthology includes essays by over 70 contributors: novelists, musicians, poets, philosophers, academics and seriously, rowdy dykes who document 20 years of lesbian activism. Political fervour; autobiographical insight; theoretical analyses; philosophical treatises; short stories; poetry; together these radical voices add up…

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence Adrienne Rich Onlywomen Press 1981 From Wikipedia: Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence is a 1980 essay by Adrienne Rich, which was also published in her 1986 book Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence is a text that is constructed to think about and inspire change about…

The Cancer Journals

The Cancer Journals Audre Lorde Aunt Lute Books 1980 Moving between journal entry, memoir, and exposition, Audre Lorde fuses the personal and political as she reflects on her experience coping with breast cancer and a radical mastectomy. From Penguin Random House: Long before narratives explored the silences around illness and women’s pain, Lorde questioned the…

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Audre Lorde Persephone Press 1982 From Wikipedia: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name is a 1982 autobiography by American poet Audre Lorde. It started a new genre that the author calls biomythography, which combines history, biography, and myth. In the text, Lorde writes that “Zami” is “a Carriacou name for women…

A Restricted Country

A Restricted Country Joan Nestle Firebrand Books 1987 This is the autobiography of Joan Nestle, working-class Jewish lesbian, writer, teacher, activist and co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City. A proud working class woman, an “out” lesbian long before the Rainbow revolution, Joan Nestle has stood at the forefront of American freedom…

Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black

Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black bell hooks Sheba Feminist Press 1989 In childhood, bell hooks was taught that “talking back” meant speaking as an equal to an authority figure and daring to disagree and/or have an opinion. In this collection of personal and theoretical essays, hooks reflects on her signature issues of racism and…

The Gilda Stories

The Gilda Stories Jewelle Gomez Firebrand Books 1991 From Wikipedia: The Gilda Stories is the debut novel of American author and activist Jewelle Gomez. Published in 1991, this speculative fiction vampire novel follows the experiences of a black bisexual heroine whose power and morality challenge assumptions about the vampire myth. Readers see this central character travel through time and lead multiple lives.  The Gilda…

Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain

Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain Rhonda Cobham and Merle Collins The Women’s Press 1987 This book is an anthology of some of the most exciting work being written and performed by Black women in Britain. Poems and short stories by African and Asian women, the collection casts an incisive eye…

The Unbelonging

The Unbelonging Joan Riley The Women’s Press 1985 The Unbelonging is a moving story of self-discovery and survival. It tells of an 11 year old girl, who finds herself in a land of strangers with hers the only black face in a sea of white, after being summoned to Britain by the father she has…

Motherlands: Black Women’s Writing from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia

Motherlands: Black Women’s Writingfrom Africa, the Caribbeanand South Asia Shusheila Nasta The Women’s Press 1991 This collection of essays demonstrates the links in women’s creative works from different global areas, specifically as demonstrated in their attempts to discover new forms and languages to express women’s experiences in patriarchal societies and to subvert continuing traditional, colonial,…

The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain

The Heart of the Race: BlackWomen’s Lives in Britain Beverly Bryan, Stella Dadzie and Suzanne Scafe Virago 1985 This book records what life is like for the Black women in Britain: grandmothers drawn to the promise of the ‘mother country’ in the 1950s talk of a different reality; young girls describe how their aspirations at…

Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology

Home Girls: A BlackFeminist Anthology Barbara Smith Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press 1983 The pioneering anthology Home Girls, edited by Barbara Smith, features writings by Black feminists and lesbian activists on topics both provocative and profound. Since its initial publication in 1983, it has become an essential text on Black women’s lives and writings. From Wikipedia:…

Black Lesbian In White America

Black Lesbian In White America Anita Cornwell Naiad Press 1983 Published in 1983, Black Lesbian in White America is widely noted as the first collection of essays by a black lesbian. Divided into three parts, this book features Anita Cornwell’s own essays, an interview with Audre Lorde, and a collection of autobiographical pieces written in the third…

Black Lesbians: An Annotated Bibliography

Black Lesbians: An AnnotatedBibliography J.R. Roberts Naiad Press 1981 An annotated list of writing by and about black lesbians, compiled by J.R. Roberts. The information is categorised by the following themes:… Lives and lifestyles… Oppression, resistance, and liberation… Literature and criticism… Photographs… Music and musicians… Periodicals… Research, reference, and popular studies

Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About

Chicana Lesbians: The Girls OurMothers Warned Us About Carla Trujillo Third Woman Press 1991 An anthology of poetry, stories, and essays that addresses Chicanas in society, culture, and relationships with other women and themselves. Chicana Lesbians is a love poem, a bible, a dictionary, nothing so simple as a manifesto–this book is yet another reason…

A Small Place

A Small Place Jamaica Kincaid Virago 1988 From Wikipedia: A Small Place is a 1988 work of creative nonfiction published by Jamaica Kincaid. A book-length essay drawing on Kincaid’s experiences growing up in Antigua, it can be read as an indictment of the Antiguan government, the tourist industry and Antigua’s British colonial legacy. But some natives–most natives in the world–cannot go anywhere. They…

Coming to Birth

Coming to Birth Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye Virago 1987 In this quietly powerful and eminently readable novel, Kenyan writer Marjorie Macgoye deftly interweaves the story of one young woman’s tumultuous coming of age with the history of a nation emerging from colonialism. At the age of sixteen, Paulina leaves her small village in western Kenya to…

Reclaim The Earth: Women Speak Out For Life On Earth

Reclaim The Earth: WomenSpeak Out For Life On Earth Léonie Caldecott andStephanie Leland The Women’s Press 1983 Reclaim the Earth is a collection of essays that discuss nuclear proliferation, chemical pollution, land rights, childbirth, infanticide, ecology, and feminist activities around the world. From Erica Smith: Most of the 28 contributors are British or American, balanced…

The Wanderground

The Wanderground Sally Miller Gearhart Persephone Press 1979 From Wikipedia: The Wanderground is a speculative fiction novel by Sally Miller Gearhart, published in 1979 by Persephone Press. It is Gearhart’s first and most famous novel, and continues to be used in Women’s Studies classes as a characteristic example of the separatist feminism movement from the…

A Woman Is Talking To Death

A Woman Is Talking To Death Judy Grahn The Women’s Press Collective 1974 A 1974 long poem by Judy Grahn, the internationally-known lesbian poet, author, and cultural theorist who established the Oakland-based Women’s Press Collective in 1969.  The first woman ever I kissed was Josie, who I had loved at such a distance for months.…

A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection by North American Indian Women

A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection byNorth American Indian Women Beth Brant Firebrand Books 1984 From Wikipedia: A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection of Writing and Art by North American Indian Women was the first published collection of Indigenous women’s writing in North America, as well as the first anthology edited by an aboriginal woman.…

Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories

Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories Lee Maracle Press Gang Publishers 1990 In the tradition of Native oratory, these stories are layered with unresolved human dilemmas. Maracle writes with love and humor about the pain and triumphs, and the spirit of resistance. From Robin McGrath: In her preface, “You Become the Trickster,” Maracle outlines her objectives:…

Movement in Black

Movement in Black Pat Parker Diana Press 1978 Movement In Black is a collection of poetry by Black lesbian feminist Pat Parker. The poems featured in the collection center around Parker’s experiences as a Black woman, lesbian, feminist, mother, writer, poet, and activist.  From Wikipedia: The collection was originally published by Diana Press in 1978.…

Womanslaughter

Womanslaughter Pat Parker Diana Press 1978 From Wikipedia: Parker’s elder sister, Shirley Jones, was shot and killed by her husband. Parker wrote the autobiographical poem, Womanslaughter, based on this event. In the poem, Parker notes that Her things were hisincluding her life. The perpetrator was convicted of “womanslaughter”, not murder, because Men cannot kill their…