Carmen callil

The inside story of working for Carmen Callil

Forty-seven years ago, Virago paperbacks, with their stylish green spines and hint-of-the-transgressive colophons of a red apple with a bite out of it, revolutionised British publishing in a way that had not been seen since Allen Lane’s Penguins in the 1930s. It’s no exaggeration to say that the firm permanently altered a nation’s reading habits. Founded in 1973, three years after the Equal Pay Act and with the Sex Discrimination Act just two years away, Virago had a clear feminist objective. It wanted to produce books that gave a voice to the 52 per cent of the population under-represented in a world of mainstream publishing still largely run through the