Bluemoose Books has revealed it will only publish female writers in 2020 with co-owner Kevin Duffy lamenting how “women over a certain age are overlooked in the publishing world”.
The independent press, run by husband-and-wife team Kevin and Hetha Duffy in Hebden Bridge, helped launch novelist Benjamin Myers’ prize-winning career before he moved to Bloomsbury last year with a new novel and short story collection.
After revealing the plans on Twitter, Duffy told The Bookseller how he will publish novels from female authors Heidi James, Anna Chilvers, Sharon Duggal and Anna Vaught in 2020, as well as breaking into Russia for the first time. He also raised concerns over larger publishers overlooking non-debut voices as well as older women.
"The DNA of Bluemoose Books is finding new and vibrant voices and developing their writing and publishing careers,” Duffy told The Bookseller. "The economic imperatives of high street bookselling means that publishing careers can be curtailed if debut novels' sales don't reach their 'targets,' and we see lots of wonderful writers struggle to have their second and third novels published. There are several writers who are very successful today, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, David Peace who, in today's publishing climate probably wouldn't have a career as their first novels didn't sell big numbers."
He added: "If you look at the bestseller list, it is all the big names at the top and a real struggle for new writers… I think women over a certain age are overlooked in the publishing world.
"The publishing industry is always fascinated with what is 'new' and 'shiny,' and often overlooks writers of a more mature age. We publish stories that resonate with readers of all ages and we're delighted to be publishing these four wonderful writers in 2020."
In July 2020 Bluemoose will publish James’ third novel, The Sound Garden with Chilvers’ East Coast Road coming in October of the same year, the first Bluemoose book to be published in Russia. Duggal’s second book with Bluemoose, Should I Fall Behind, will be published in September 2020 with Vaught's first novel with the indie press, Saving Lucia, coming in May 2020.
In July, Duffy revealed frustration with the lack of coverage in London of the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize which went to Myers for his Bluemoose novel The Gallows Pole, in The Bookseller blog post titled ‘Capital Concerns’.