There was definitely no shortage of talented female writers in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, however, many of these women and their stories have been forgotten over the years. But Persephone Books, an independent publishing house in London, UK, has made it its mission to find and reprint these neglected books.
Whether it’s a novel, a short story, a diary, a memoir or a cookery book… the type of book does not matter; as long as the publisher thinks that the content can still captivate readers, it will have a place in the ever-growing collection. So far, Persephone Books has reprinted 132 English-language books, all of which they call ‘intelligent, thought-provoking, beautifully written’ stories. These are books for busy people who want to step away from the contemporary, commercial publications but who also don’t want anything too literary.
A surprise on the inside
What’s extra special about Persephone Books is that they all look the same, with a smooth, gray jacket. Which means that not only are they a joy to read, but also to look at. And there’s another joyful surprise inside as each title has a unique, colorful, illustrated print and matching bookmark.
How to get your hands on a book
You can coo over (and buy) the books in the publisher’s shop at 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street in London, UK, should you happen to be in town. But if you’re not, the books can be ordered online from Persephonebooks.co.uk. What’s more, you can receive their free magazine twice a year, the Persephone biannually, which includes articles about their latest titles and is a great way to discover new favorites.
Tip from the editors
Flow’s Quirine has been a fan of Persephone Books for a while now and has discovered a new favorite writer: Dorothy Whipple. “Her stories are steeped in history, but also so timeless,” says Quirine. “She knows how to captivate with descriptions of everyday life at the beginning of the twentieth century. My favorite is The priory, about two daughters who have to learn to count on themselves when their father marries a younger woman, but I can certainly recommend They were sisters and Because of the Lockwoods.”
- To find out more, visit Persephonebooks.co.uk
Text and photography Quirine Brouwer Translation Julia Gorodecky