7 Highly-Anticipated Books to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Feminist Press
As she leaves the historic press, publisher Jamia Wilson recommends a reading list for 2021
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This year marks The Feminist Press’s 50th anniversary, a massive milestone for an independent press prioritizing the work of feminist thinkers and collectives. In 2017, Jamia Wilson joined Feminist Press as its new executive director and publisher, marking another milestone in being the first Black woman to lead the organization. During her tenure Wilson has paid increasing attention to the mission of centering underrepresented voices, seeing FP authors recognized as honorees and/or winners for the Kirkus Prize, PEN/Faulkner, and National Translation Award to name a few. When it comes to being the first, Wilson mentioned some advice she received from Roxane Gay and her late mother: “Both told me in their own work and lives to ensure that being the first does not mean you are the last. I have walked with this wisdom in heart and mind every day [at FP], from personnel to production, editorial, development, design and illustration, and other critical decisions.”
A quintessential part of FP has been the Louise Meriwether Book Prize for authors of color who identify as women and nonbinary/gender nonconforming. The contest includes publication by Feminist Press, and the first call for submissions was in 2016. The inaugural winner was YZ Chin for her collection Though I Get Home. To date, four winners have been announced and some finalists, such as Ivelisse Rodriguez and her book Love War Stories (a PEN/Faulkner finalist), were also published by the press. “I love being a part of the Louise Meriwether Prize process as both an editor, publisher, and a BIPOC author. It is an honor to bear witness to what I believe history will prove to be another literary renaissance of our time driven by the insurgent words and works of authors of color. What I’m most intrigued by is the diversity of the submissions we receive and the throughlines I see throughout the process every year,” Wilson said.
Through partnerships and other imprints such as Amethyst Editions, FP’s “queer imprint curated by Michelle Tea, dedicated to complicating mainstream LGBTQ+ representation beyond the traditional coming-out narrative,” Wilson emphasized how The Feminist Press stays ahead of much of publishing by welcoming so many who have experienced closed doors to visionary and expressive works.
In January, Jamia Wilson will start a new role as vice president and executive editor at Random House, but not before leaving her mark with an impressive array of new titles we’ll be greeted with in 2021. She offers some recommendations for what to be on the lookout for.
The Echoing Ida Collection edited by Cynthia R. Greenlee, Kemi Alabi, and Janna A. Zinzi (January)
An anthology of journalistic articles from the Echoing Ida collective, founded in 2012, a community of Black women and nonbinary writers, edited by Cynthia R. Greenlee, Kemi Alabi, and Janna A. Zinzi and features a foreword from Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s great-granddaughter Michelle Duster. The pieces within this collection imbue the beliefs of their foremother and posthumous Pulitzer winner.
We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival edited by Natalie West with Tina Horn (February)
Of We Too, Wilson says it is “just one example of why feminist publishing is evergreen, necessary, and always relevant. When people ask me why feminist presses still need to exist in 2020, We Too is one of the books I think about and mention immediately. This book, similar to Echoing Ida and the Crunk Feminist Collection, is both a book and a movement itself—and I’m grateful for its expansion of my own thinking and what this powerful work will do to promote empathy, action, and growth in all of its readers.”
I Had a Miscarriage: A Memoir, a Movement by Jessica Zucker (March)
A memoir drawing from Jessica Zucker’s psychological expertise and her work as the creator of the #IHadaMiscarriage campaign combatting the silence, shame, and stigma surrounding miscarriages in the United States.
We Are Bridges: A Memoir by Cassandra Lane (April)
A lyrical memoir by Cassandra Lane who retrieves her great-grandparents’ lost histories from violent erasure to articulate a blueprint for her and her son’s future. Lane’s debut is the winner of the 2020 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize.
This Is How We Come Back Stronger: Feminists on Turning Crisis Into Change edited by the Feminist Book Society (April)
A collection of essays, short fiction, poetry, and more by feminist writers in response to the personal and the political in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Edited by the Feminist Book Society with contributions by Glory Edim and Layla Saad. Wilson said, “I’ll be writing the introduction, and I’m delighted that we’re partnering with And Other Stories on this book.”
Black Box: The Memoir that Sparked Japan’s #MeToo Movement by Shiori Ito (July)
An internationally recognized sexual assault memoir, written by Shiori Ito and translated by Allison Markin Powell, that revolutionized a feminist movement around rape, stigma, and silence in Japan. Ito writes palpably about pursuing justice and how she was initially told her case was a “black box” (or untouchable).
We Were There! The Third World Women’s Alliance and The Second Wave (October)
A nonfiction account by Pat Romney of the rise of the Third World Women’s Alliance and the involvement of women of color in the second wave of feminism.