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The Women We Can’t Wait for You to Meet this Year

Virago 2022

Virago 2022

Since 1973 Virago has given our readers a treasury of women’s experiences, from the diverse real lives that echo our own to the women of history and of the imagination that speak to our deeper longings, fears, pleasures and joys. This year we bring you blood-thirsty heroines and Arctic explorers, trans sex workers from Argentina and pioneering women of the Wild West. It’s a year of mothers breaking the rules, women with disabilities challenging the limits and lovers defying the odds. These are the women we can’t wait for you to meet this year.



Woman Eating by Clare Kohda

Surprises and revelations abound on our fiction list. In March, we’re publishing Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda, a wonderfully weird novel about a young vampire searching for love and belonging in London. Vampires are officially back in, and this is just the thing for readers who are longing to fill the fang-shaped holes in their TBR piles. Set on the island of Guernsey, Islanders (June) is a linked collection of stories that tear back the façade of a small community to reveal the desires, friendships, betrayals, regrets and heartaches of twelve intertwined people. Islanders by Cathy Thomas

And coming in August, we have a page-turning story about a woman who discovers that the man she shared her life with, and with whom she had a child, was an undercover cop. From critically acclaimed novelist Clare Clark, Trespass is a brilliant work of psychological suspense.



Hush by Kate Maxwell

‘I don’t feel . . . what I should, what other mothers feel’ says Stevie, protagonist of Kate Maxwell’s taboo-busting debut, Hush (May), when choosing to have a child alone turns out to be painfully at odds with her expectations. She’s not the only character among our fiction list to break the norms of what motherhood should be. In The Queens of Sarmiento Park (July), a group of trans sex workers raise a boy they find abandoned in a park. In Wayward (January), Sam leaves her husband and teenage daughter and the stifling comfort of suburban life. A woman is reunited with her long-lost son in What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You (July), set in the Kingston ghetto, Jamaica. And in Love Marriage (February) – marking the long-awaited return of Monica Ali – an interfering feminist icon of a mother ends up exposing the secrets of a couple planning their wedding.

The Queens of Sarmiento Park by Camila Sosa Villada

The challenges of parenthood continue to be explored in shocking, revelatory ways on our non-fiction list. In Behind Closed Doors (February), journalist Polly Curtis asks why more children than ever before are being removed from their parents. What is going wrong with the British care system, and how can we fix it? When Doreen Cunningham ended up in a women’s refuge with her baby, she was determined not to let single motherhood stop her travelling. In Soundings (March), she and her son journey with migrating whales, discovering along the way what other species can teach us about parenting. Fierce and darkly funny, Easy Beauty (April) is Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold account of moving through the world in body that looks different than most, and how an unexpected pregnancy propelled her to live life fully. After the birth of her twins, Jessica Cornwell struggled with dark memories of moments in her past she thought buried. Birth Notes (May) is her breath-taking memoir of trauma and recovery.



Mean Baby by Selma Blair

Here we have powerful stories of people finding their way in the world, striving to achieve long-held dreams and learning to be comfortable in their own skin. In May, we publish Mean Baby, the wildly funny and emotionally shattering autobiography of actress and MS survivor, Selma Blair. Later in the year, Zarifa Ghafari will share her story of becoming Afghanistan’s youngest female mayor and the work she has done to end corruption, promote peace and lift up her fellow women. And in November, we will publish Our Red Book, a gorgeous collection of interviews, essays and illustrations from people around the world – women, men, non-binary and trans – about first periods, last periods and everything in between.



The Virago Modern Classics list was created in 1978 and is dedicated to the celebration of women writers and the rediscovery and reprinting of their works. This year our VMC spotlight author is Gloria Naylor, a trailblazing, essential writer in the Black American canon. Although she received the National Book Award for her debut, The Women of Brewster Place, most of her work has been out of print for decades. In June, we’ll publish Mama Day, Naylor’s powerful generational saga, at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and wisdom. It’s been hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ (Tayari Jones) and this new edition will have an introduction by Robert Jones Jr, author of The Prophets, for whom the novel is among his all-time favourites. This is an important author whose work deserves reappraisal. Linden Hills, a provocative and beguiling novel inspired by Dante’s Inferno, will be released in November with a new introduction by Irenosen Okojie, poet and author of Nudibranch.



Brave Hearted by Katie Hickman

‘I once heard it said that all American heroes are western heroes, and in the past, of course, almost all of these have been men,’ writes social historian Katie Hickman in the introduction to her latest book. Brave Hearted (May) reveals the extraordinary women of the American West – wives pulling their handcarts two thousand miles across the prairies, sex slaves trafficked against their will and sold openly on the docks in San Francisco, and Native American women displaced by mass migration.

Song for Anninho by Gayl Jones

In Everyone’s a Critic (August) we rewrite a different story: the one we tell ourselves. Many of us will be familiar with the concept of an inner critic – a voice in your head that says, ‘you’re not good enough’. Here psychotherapist Julia Bueno provides the tools and inspiration to get to grips with self-criticism and learn to live a happier life.

In Song for Almeyda and Song for Anninho (April), Gayl Jones reimagines the destruction, in the seventeenth century, of the last fugitive slave settlement in Brazil by Portuguese colonists. In two epic poems, Almeyda and her husband Anninho, who are separated as they flee, give a passionate lament, longing for each other and for their freedom.


Finally, Virago turns the spotlight onto the writers themselves – their relationships, their passions and their craft. In August we publish Brigitta Olubas’s luminous biography of Shirley Hazzard, one of the greatest writers in the English language and author of The Great Fire, The Transit of Venus and Greene on Capri. October marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of The Waste Land’s publication. But what – or who – was the inspiration for some of the most famous and celebrated poems of the twentieth century? In Hyacinth Girl, biographer Lyndall Gordon reveals T S Eliot’s hidden muse. And coming in November, Between Friends: Letters of Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby, edited by Elaine and English Showalter, explores the literary friendship of these two extraordinary writers, providing a fascinating social history of a world between the wars.

And there’s more to come, so please do sign up for our newsletter to hear about all of our news. Hear straight from our authors’ mouths in the brilliant podcast, Ourshelves, and follow us on Twitter (@ViragoBooks) and Instagram (@ViragoPress) for giveaways, tickets and prizes. Get in touch and let us know the writers and characters you fall in love with this year.



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