Virago Press 50th anniversary

Virago Press has been celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. Since 1973, the international feminist publisher has been championing writing by women and people of underrepresented genders, bringing their voices to the widest possible readership around the world, through fiction, non-fiction and the Virago Modern Classics list.

The 50th anniversary has been a landmark moment: not just to reflect on the great legacy of Virago Press, but to look forward to the next 50 years and ask important questions about the value of inclusive feminist publishing today and in the future. With a nod to the imprint’s classic bite-of-the-apple logo (referring to Eve’s first taste of knowledge), Virago has been ‘passing the apple’ throughout the anniversary year, to not only celebrate all that Virago has achieved but also to reach out to the next generation of writers, readers and publishers.

To mark the anniversary, there have been two new publications: Furies: Reclaiming stories of the wicked, wild and untamed (6 March 2023) is an anthology of provocative and irresistible new short stories by award-winning, bestselling Virago authors, each of whom is reclaiming a word, such as ‘virago’, which has been used to denigrate women throughout history (see also ‘she-devil’, ‘harridan’, ‘siren’, ‘wench’ etc). Contributors include: Margaret Atwood, Susie Boyt, Eleanor Crewes, Emma Donoghue, Stella Duffy, Linda Grant, Claire Kohda, CN Lester, Kirsty Logan, Caroline O’Donoghue, Chibundu Onuzo, Helen Oyeyemi, Rachel Seiffert, Kamila Shamsie and Ali Smith, with an introduction by Sandi Toksvig.

Looking back over the past 50 years, Virago’s Five Gold Reads (June 2023) saw the republication of one iconic book from each decade of Virago with a new cover design for each title which will bring new readers to these ground-breaking works.

It has been a great privilege to have worked with the Virago team in handling the PR campaign for the 50th anniversary, curating festival and bookshops events across the country and generating wide-ranging media coverage from BBC Radio 4’s Today to Harper’s Bazaar, from Stylist to The Observer.  You can hear what people have to say about their love of Virago and how it all started in the Guardian here.

The campaign was nominated for a Publishers Publicity Circle award.

If you have a major anniversary coming up that needs a creative strategic campaign with added sparkle, please do get in touch.