Jonathan Cape has acquired Difficult Women, a history of modern feminism by journalist Helen Lewis, promising to be "a battle cry for difficult women (and men) everywhere".
Slated for publication in spring 2020, according to Cape, Lewis' book will offer a new perspective on the history of feminism through the exploration of nine key struggles for women’s rights. It will look beyond the right to vote to explore "lesser well-known but equally important" battles for the rights to abortion, divorce, and equal pay, as well as the right to be heard, to be educated and to love. Its ultimate goal is to shine a light on "untold stories" and "show the bumpy road to equal rights has been built by difficult, imperfect women".
Bea Hemming, deputy publishing director of Jonathan Cape, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Andrew Gordon at David Higham.
Lewis, who has just been made the 2018/19 Women in the Humanities Honorary Writing Fellow at Oxford University, commented: "Although I've been writing about feminism for nearly a decade, I had resisted the idea of writing a book - how do you begin to tell a story that big, and that complicated, and do justice to it? My answer is to look at nine emblematic fights – including the right to be heard at all – and tell them through the stories of the complicated, impressive, disappointing, inspiring and non-compliant women who were involved in them. Women don't only deserve equal rights if they are 'good', and the story of feminism deserves better than to be turned into sanitised inspiration porn. Feminist history has to be more than a shallow hunt for heroines."