If you were to take a glance at the books coverage in the mainstream media, you may be forgiven for assuming that there just aren’t as many women writers as there are male ones. But how wrong you would be.
Independent audits like the VIDA count continually find that although women read, write, sell and buy more books than their male counterparts, an average of only one in four book reviews in major newspapers and literary journals are of books written by women.
For Books Sake was founded in 2010 to raise awareness of this imbalance and address it. We do this by campaigning for a better, more accurate representation of women writers in the mainstream media’s coverage of books, as well as providing an alternative platform to promote and celebrate writing by women, via daily online editorial (including news, reviews, features and interviews), a free monthly podcast, nationwide programme of workshops and events, and regular publishing projects.
Since our inception four years ago, we’ve grown exponentially, with a following of over 15,000 on Twitter and coverage in the mainstream press and on Channel 4’s The TV Book Club. We’ve been involved in collaborations with organisations as diverse as Womankind Worldwide, Arvon Foundation, Art Macabre, Lesbian & Gay Foundation and the London Rollergirls, and played a part in the first ever World Book Night.
For Books’ Sake is committed to championing the women writers who aren’t getting the column inches they deserve elsewhere, despite their writing being more than worthy of attention. We strive to ensure the website is an accessible and inclusive space; promoting women writers that are established, emerging and marginalised ( such as transwomen, queer women, women with disabilities and women of colour). We seek to broaden the horizons of our readers and hopefully introduce them to writers and books they otherwise might not have known about.
We review books from women writing in any genre you can think of; from non-fiction, horror and erotica to crime, poetry and graphic novels, and we’ve featured everything from the best cats in books and corporate sponsorship of literary prizes to how-to guides and introductions to subjects such as black feminism and fat activism. We engage in the issues facing women writers and aren’t afraid to discuss them, nor do we shy away from covering challenging topics like mental health and rape.
Currently in the process of registering as a charity, the For Books’ Sake team are all volunteers, and every penny made from merch sales or events is reinvested back into our work. If you like the sound of what we do, you can donate here, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter for updates on future opportunities to support us or get involved.
What’s next for For Books’ Sake? Our next publishing project (following previous short story collections Short Stack and Derby Shorts) is our first poetry anthology, Furies. Themed around women warriors and featuring established and emerging voices from across the globe, Furies will be out in October, with all profits being donated to Rape Crisis.
Jasmin Nahar is currently studying for her BA in Journalism. She spends her time reading comic books, writing about rock music and trying to be the next Caitlin Moran.