Welcome to Virago – the international publisher of books by women for all readers, everywhere.
Since we began in 1973, our mission has been to champion women’s voices and bring them to the widest possible readership around the world. From fiction and politics to history and classic children’s stories, our writers continue to win acclaim, break new ground and enrich the lives of readers.
We love hearing what Virago’s writers and books mean to you. Tell us what you’re reading, what you think about our jackets, if there’s an author event you’ve particularly enjoyed, which ideas (or even arguments) our books have sparked, or tweet us a photo of your classic Virago green spines!
We look forward to hearing from you.
Timeline: A History of Virago
Top row (l-r) Ailah Ahmed, Senior Commissioning Editor; Lennie Goodings, Chair; Donna Coonan, Editorial Director, Virago Modern Classics.
Bottom row (l-r) Sarah Savitt, Publisher, Angela Cammarota, Executive Assistant, David Bamford, Assistant Editor.
Virago was founded in 1973 as ‘the first mass-market publisher for 52 per cent of the population – women. An exciting new imprint for both sexes in a changing world.’ It was an idea of Dame Carmen Callil’s, born out of a particular time, place and politics. The name instantly signalled Virago’s attitude. Virago means ‘heroic war-like woman’, or, as the thesaurus has it a particular kind of woman: biddy, bitch, dragon, fire-eater, fury, harpy, harridan, hussy, muckraker, scold, she-devil, siren, spitfire, termagant, tigress, vituperator, vixen, wench.
Here was a cheeky upstart, happy to shock and tease.
More than forty years on Virago is the outstanding international publisher of books by women. The cultural, political and economic landscape has changed dramatically but Virago has remained true to its original aims: to put women centre stage; to explore the untold stories of their lives and histories; to break the silence around many women’s experiences; to publish breathtaking new fiction alongside a rich list of rediscovered classics; and above all to champion women’s talent. Virago has never seen itself as niche, never a boutique publisher. We might, at times, publish from the margins, but we have never thought of ourselves as marginalised. Sometimes we publish to entertain, sometimes we publish to give readers the sheer pleasure of beautiful writing, sometimes we publish to change the world.