Tag Archives: Lennie Goodings

A Bite of the Apple

5 May Lennie Goodings

Swindon Literature Festival’s offering at noon today was Lennie Goodings and very interesting it was too as she discussed her book A Bite of the Apple, on four decades of ground breaking publishing. Here she sets out how Virago began, with its different female personalities, to publish and showcase women’s literature. Virago wanted to give women a voice and bring them, and their writing, out of partial obscurity into central stage but there was also the difficulties in making money from writing.

Lennie came from near Niagara Falls, Canada, but was inspired by 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and the many bookshops then in London to come to England. She only intended to stay a year, but soon found herself in the world of book publishing, often controlled by men. Eventually she joined Virago, then a very small company comprised of women, where they took it in turns to clean the office amongst other things. Here she came involved, back in the late 1970s, in a new wave of real and powerful publishing; new wave feminism. However, even today, Lennie said, women’s books were only reviewed by other women and the word ‘writer’ is not universal, as when used alone, it usually refers to a man, so attitudes still need to change.

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