Friday, June 28, 2013

Forty extracts from 40 women writers to celebrate four decades of Virago books.

 Each referring to a number, and counting down from 40 to one. Can you spot the books they come from?

Virago at 40
Vintage covers from the 40 years of Virago books

Ever since putting aside an early draft of my third novel Fingersmith, in which one of my heroines ruined her uncle's collection of classic pornography by snipping out and reassembling the lesbian bits, I've had a hankering to do some literary cutting and pasting. So when I was invited to celebrate Virago's 40-year championing of women's writing, I thought it would be fun to do it by hunting out mentions of the numbers one to 40 in novels, short stories, poetry and plays by some of my favourite women writers – a good sprinkling of whom I first encountered as Virago authors – and putting them all together in a sort of literary collage. Many happy (if rather brain-boggling) hours of reading and splicing later, here's the result. I've tried to include just enough clues to render each fragment recognisable to a canny reader, but for the full list of sources, click here

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