Virago Press

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Virago is a British publishing company founded in 1973 by Carmen Callil, primarily to publish books by women writers. Both new works and reissued books by neglected authors have featured on the imprint's list, as well as works with feminist themes by male authors such as H. G. Wells.

In 1982 Virago became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chatto, Virago, Bodley Head, and Cape Group, but in 1987 Callil, Lennie Goodings, Ursula Owen, Alexandra Pringle, and Harriet Spicer put together a management buy-out from CVBC, then owned by Random House, USA. The buy-out was financed by Rothschild Ventures and Robert Gavron. Random House UK kept a ten per cent stake in the company, and continued to handle sales and distribution.

In 1993 Rothschild Ventures sold their shares to the directors and Gavron, who thus became the largest single shareholder. After a downturn in the market forced a reduction in activity, the board decided to sell the company to Little, Brown, of which Virago became an imprint in 1996 (with Lennie Goodings as Publisher and Sally Abbey as Senior Editor). In 2006, Virago's parent company became part of publishing group Hachette Livre. Lennie Goodings remains as editor and publisher.

Valentine Cunningham has praised Virago for trawling "most impressively and fruitfully in the novel catalogues" of the 1930s for women's fiction to reprint. [1]


  1. ^ Cunningham, Valentine British Writers Of The Thirties. Clarendon Press, 1993. p. 26

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