Small Press And Other Stories Accepts Kamila Shamsie's Year Of Publishing Women Challenge For 2018, And We Love It
The first publishing house has signed on to Kamila Shamsie's Year of Publishing Women Challenge for 2018. Small literary press And Other Stories sources its titles by using its own network of readers, and according to its publisher Stefan Tobler — notably, a man — And Other Stories is committed to finding "really good women's writing" to publish exclusively during the course of 2018.
In an op-ed for The Guardian, Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction finalist for 2015 Shamsie called out the major gender bias in fiction publishing. She pointed out that over the last five years, less than 40 percent of books submitted to the Booker Prize were written by women. In addition, the majority of award-winning novels across the board are written by men, and if they're written by women, they are more likely to feature a male protagonist than a female one. And then there's those pesky VIDA stats showing that male writers dominate review space.
"At this point, I’m going to assume that the only people who really doubt that there is a gender bias going on are those who stick with the idea that men are better writers and better critics,” Shamsie wrote. "Enough. Across the board, enough."
And Other Stories, like Shamsie, has taken these stats to heart and wants to be an agent of change in the industry.
“I think we can do it,” Tobler said. "And if we don’t do it, what is going to change?"
The small press publishes between 10 and 12 titles per year. According to Tobler:
Senior editor of And Other Stories Sophie Lewis agrees:
In a sad state of affairs, Shamsie has said that while And Other Stories took her call seriously, many people have "assured" her that they understand she wasn't speaking literally, rather trying to open up a conversation. Which, um, yeah. Both men and women tried to mansplain to an acclaimed novelist what she "really" meant in her piece. According to Shamsie:
A huge rock on to And Other Stories and here's hoping it pushes other publishers, big and small, to take Shamsie's challenge far more seriously.