Penguin is launching a pop-up bookshop stocked solely with titles by female writers for International Women’s Day.
The bookshop, opening on 1-3 Rivington Street in East London from 5th to 9th March in partnership with Waterstones, has been named "Like A Woman" and will stock titles from the likes of Malorie Blackman, Iris Murdoch, Caitlin Moran, Malala Yousafzai, Zadie Smith and Margaret Atwood.
According to Penguin Random House, the initiative is a celebration of "the way that women contribute, often under the radar, to every facet of society" and recognises female figures who have "made a difference or fought for change" in fields such as politics, activism, writing, art, science, sports and culture, among others. The hashtag #LikeAWoman will be used online to promote the pop-up.
The outlet will stock over 240 different authors, including Kate Atkinson, Simone de Beauvoir, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, Anne Frank, Harriet Harman, Afua Hirsch, Elif Shafak, Sayeeda Warsi, Jacqueline Wilson, Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf.
As opposed to organising titles using the traditional bookshop layout, Penguin will group them together not just by genre or category but "by the impact the author has had on culture, history or society". Categories include: "Essential feminist reads", "Inspiring young readers", "Women to watch", "Your body" and "Changemakers".
The bookshop will also host workshops and evening events, featuring such authors as Booker Prize-shortlisted Deborah Levy and food writer and cook Melissa Hemsley. Proceeds from ticket sales to be donated to Solace Women’s Aid, a charity providing practical and emotional support to over 11,000 survivors of domestic violence in London each year, while shoppers will also have the chance to purchase books to be donated to children housed in Solace Women’s Aid refuges.
Confirmed events at the shop will see Levy participate in "an evening of essays and stories from the female perspective" entitled The Female Gaze with literary journal Five Dials and fellow authors Bridget Minamore and Sophie Mackintosh; Hemsley present a live recording of the Live.Life.Better. podcast with WEconomy author and chair of Virgin Unite Holly Branson, and The Roasting Tin author Rukmini Iyer; and, in another event entitled Life Lessons from Remarkable Women, Stylist magazine executive editor Mandie Gower will feature alongside contributors Lucy Mangan, Robyn Wilder and Alix Fox.
"Women’s voices being heard and taken seriously is key to achieving gender equality, and with The Like A Woman Bookshop we’re making room for those voices to be elevated and celebrated," commented Zainab Juma, creative manager at Penguin Random House. "We’re creating a space where readers can look to incredible writers, activists and pioneers for the inspiration to go forward and make change like a woman."
Lucy Grainger, Waterstones festival Manager, said: “To create a unique bookshop and event space which is dedicated to a full range of women’s voices, experiences and ideas is tremendously exciting. We’re delighted to be working together with Penguin Random House and we think it promises to be a fantastic and inspiring week for everyone that joins us.”
The initiative coincides with a raft of feminist publishing in wake of the #MeToo movement and celebrations of 2018 as the centenary of women’s suffrage. The anniversary prompted a small handful of publishers to take on Kamila Shamsie's challenge to only publish women in 2018 in a bid to help reset the gender imbalance when it comes to published authors.