Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice Is Failing Women by Helena Kennedy review – a fiercely critical eye

In this disturbing follow-up to her groundbreaking Eve Was Framed, the emiment QC identifies the flaws in an inadequate legal system that continues to wrong women

I read Helena Kennedy QC’s new book, Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice Is Failing Women, while Dr Christine Blasey Ford was giving evidence before the US Senate judiciary committee. Shortly afterwards, the president of the US led thousands in laughing at Ford as he stood on a stage and mocked her testimony. As I write, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is about to be confirmed to the US supreme court. And all over the world, women are angry.

It’s been almost exactly a year since the spark that ignited what Baroness Kennedy calls the “tsunami” of the #MeToo movement: the Weinstein allegations that rocked Hollywood and led to the downfall of a stream of powerful and abusive men. This movement, writes Kennedy, is “a ...

‘Up-lit’ gives hope to publishers at Frankfurt book fair

‘Hopeful’ novel about an elderly woman who adopts a dog leads the charge from feelgood fiction

A debut novel about a lonely old woman who has fallen through the cracks of society has wowed publishers at this week’s Frankfurt book fair, with 10 presses fighting to win a book that is being compared to the smash hit Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

The television producer Beth Morrey’s first novel, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael, has emerged as one of the biggest titles among a deluge of fiction following the trend for uplifting literature, or “up-lit”. Selling to HarperCollins for a six-figure sum after a 10-way auction, the novel finds elderly Missy Carmichael living alone with her husband gone, her daughter not speaking to her and her son in Australia – until she adopts a dog.

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Topshop axes Penguin pop-up to promote feminist book in store

Display for Feminists Don’t Wear Pink was dismantled minutes after assembly, says Penguin

Topshop has apparently cancelled a partnership with the publisher Penguin to promote a collection of feminist writing, with the store dismantling a stall set up at its flagship Oxford Street store in London hours before it was due to open.

Penguin Books spoke out about what had happened on its Twitter account on Friday morning, revealing that the display had been taken down minutes after being assembled.

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Topshop axes feminist book promotion after Sir Philip Green sees it

Store apologises and makes donation to charity after removal of pop-up display

Topshop abruptly cancelled a partnership with the publisher Penguin to promote a collection of feminist writing after the fashion retailer’s chairman, Sir Philip Green, saw an in-store pop-up.

The decision prompted the editor of the collection, Scarlett Curtis, to accuse the store of letting down the teenage girls who shop there.

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How to be a good man: what I learned from a month reading the feminist classics

A year after the first Harvey Weinstein revelations, how can men show solidarity with women? One Swedish professor decided it was time for some deep reading

“He covered my mouth with his hand and introduced his penis. I thought my last hour had arrived. I had the feeling my stomach was turning.”

These are not the words of a woman testifying as part of the #MeToo movement, and they are not the words of Christine Blasey Ford, who testified against the US supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last week – although the hand over the mouth, if not the reference to the penis, mirror her words. (Kavanaugh denies the allegations.) This is, instead, the experience of a young woman as recounted by the French feminist and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in her 1949 classic The Second Sex.

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Around the world in female writers: why I’m reading 200 books by 2020

The number of novels by women that reach English remains shockingly low, but that still leaves a curious reader with vast scope for adventure

One quiet weeknight in June, my phone buzzed. Pause, then another alert. A steady stream of notifications swept in over the evening. What on earth was going on?

Just moments earlier, I had tweeted a request for reading tips. The goal: to make my way through books written by women from every country in the world. Recommendations were flying in thick and fast. My new bookshelf would be piled high in no time! My debit card quivered.

The following days saw a global span of readers, authors and translators nudge me towards women writers from Cameroon, El Salvador, Lebanon, Mauritius … I gathered all of them into a blog and set off on my biblio-travels.

And it’s been quite the journey. My starting point – a ...

Finally, angry women are the solution and not a problem – but we still have far to go | Emilie Pine

With movements like #MeToo and #WhyIDidn’tReport, it seems the world has woken up – but the stories we tell still punish women who speak out

I’m aware of the consequences for women who go off-script. When I published a book earlier this year – six personal essays about all the things we’re not meant to say – I was fearful of the public response, afraid of being labelled disruptive. And I have been – but mostly in a good way. Every day I get emails from readers thanking me for talking about alcoholism, infertility and sexual violence.

One of the few negative reactions came from a radio journalist, who questioned how –not why – I’d chosen to write about having been raped when I was 15. Why hadn’t I put the description of the rape at the beginning of the book, he asked, to “hit people between the eyes”? I ...

Jenni Murray picks the best books about history’s forgotten women

From lesbian lovers in Dickensian England to the British female doctor who lived as a man … journalist and broadcaster Jenni Murray celebrates history’s lesser-known women

It is hardly surprising, considering the nature of my life’s work, that I should favour books, factual and fictional, that retrieve women from the dustbin of history and restore them to their rightful place.

Professor Janet Todd was first in a line of academics who recognised early in their careers that there were great numbers of important women who had been overlooked by historians and embarked on a mission to bring them to light. She has given us biographies of writers including Aphra Behn and Jane Austen. The one I often return to is Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life, which explores the author’s complex psychology and terrible choices when it came to men. It’s compellingly written, too.

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JD Salinger’s teenage lover challenges her ‘predator’ reputation

Joyce Maynard, now 65, has published a new essay that asks if the #MeToo movement will allow her to tell her side of the story

Joyce Maynard, who was wooed as a teenager by the late JD Salinger, has spoken out about how the literary world condemned her as “a predator”.

Maynard was 18 when an essay of hers was published in the New York Times, along with a photograph. The piece led the then 53-year-old Salinger to contact her and, as Maynard writes in the New York Times, urged her to “to leave college, come live with him (have babies, collaborate on plays we would perform together in London’s West End) and be (I truly believed this) his partner forever”.

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Insights (and infights) as feminists light up Melbourne writers’ festival

The gathering tackled the questions of #MeToo head on, but there was also space for stimulating nuggets of experience and learning

Tracey Spicer declared investigative journalist Ronan Farrow “the most powerful man in the #MeToo movement”, and it did not go unnoticed that the most high-profile session on feminist issues at the Melbourne writers’ festival featured a bloke.

But there was plenty else for those interested in feminist discussion. From the sessions I saw, there was little robust debate about contentious feminist issues, but lots of nuggets of insight and a focus on women of colour talking about their experiences of race and gender.

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Rise by Gina Miller review – unapologetic and impatient to make a difference

A shocking and surprising memoir by the woman who defeated the government over article 50, and still receives torrents of online hatred as a consequence

Reading Rise, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Gina Miller – best known for initiating the greatest legal upset in Britain in modern times – is a human trigger for the Brexiting right. To borrow the language of those who abuse the idea of diversity, Miller “ticks every box”: she’s a passionate remainer, female, a person of colour and unapologetic in her readiness to fight.

The level of abuse that has followed her court triumphs over article 50 is remarkable. And Miller reveals insights about being on the receiving end of it you didn’t know you wanted to know. What was it like to stand on the steps of the high court in London on that November day in 2016, responding to a ...

Hugo awards: women clean up as NK Jemisin wins best novel again

Jemisin’s third win in as many years signals an end to the influence of the rightwing ‘Puppies’ groups, with female authors winning all major categories at sci-fi awards

Author NK Jemisin has scooped her third Hugo award for best science-fiction novel and, in doing so, has become the standard-bearer for a sea change in the genre’s diversity, as women – especially women of colour – swept the boards at last night’s ceremony.

Taking the stage to accept her third win in three years for her novel The Stone Sky, Jemisin told the audience at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California, on Sunday that “this has been a hard year … a hard few years, a hard century,” adding: “For some of us, things have always been hard, and I wrote the Broken Earth trilogy to speak to that struggle, and what it takes to live, let ...

‘Pie for a doubting husband’: how to cook like a suffragette

The Suffrage Cook Book, first published in 1915 and now reissued, includes Jack London’s favourite duck recipe and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘synthetic quince’

From Jack London’s method for roasting a “blood-rare” slice of “toothsome teal” to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s accidental discovery of a mysterious treat she calls “synthetic quince”, modern cooks can now take a step back in time with the reissue of a 103-year-old cookbook compiled to raise funds for the suffragettes.

First published in 1915 by The Equal Franchise Federation Of Western Pennsylvania, with a cover showing Uncle Sam weighing men and women on his scales, The Suffrage Cook Book was assembled by a Mrs LO Kleber. Including recipes for a “Pie for a Suffragist’s Doubting Husband” to a “Suffrage Angel Cake”, it is being reissued this month as The Original Suffrage Cook Book to mark the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which allowed ...

‘A different way of living’: why writers are celebrating middle-age

Viv Albertine, Deborah Levy, Lavinia Greenlaw and Rachel Cusk are redefining life after menopause, children or divorce – and it has never looked so good

When Viv Albertine performs her 2009 song “Confessions of a Milf” live, she alternates between two voices. There’s the saccharine lisp of a brainwashed housewife chanting “home sweet home”, and there’s the raging chant of an angry punk proclaiming that “if you decide one day that you’ve had enough”, you can walk away. Though swans and seahorses mate for life, “we ain’t so nice”.

In the 70s, when Albertine performed with her punk band, the Slits, she appeared fully immersed in her performance of exuberant anger, but also strikingly unformed, too busy bouncing and shouting to hold the gaze of her audience. Then, she retained the vulnerability of her younger self, but there was a steeliness underlying it. Now she stares out at us, no ...

Helen Lederer launches prize for funny female writers

The Comedy women in print award is a response to how few female authors have won the Wodehouse prize

The Women’s prize for fiction was famously set up in response to the Booker prize failing to shortlist any female authors in 1991. Two decades on, a new award celebrating the funniest novels by women has been announced, in the wake of a sexism row over the Wodehouse prize for comic fiction.

Awarded each year at the Hay literary festival, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize has gone to three female authors in 18 years: Helen Fielding, Marina Lewycka and Hannah Rothschild. Earlier this summer, the bestselling novelist Marian Keyes laid into the Wodehouse – previously the UK’s only prize for funny fiction – for its “sexist imbalance”.

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The Beekeeper of Sinjar by Dunya Mikhail review – the Iraqi Oskar Schindler

How an apiarist created a hive of smugglers and rescued scores of women from Islamic State

Until 2014, Abdullah Shrem was a beekeeper in Iraq, tending to his hive and selling honey across the mountains of Sinjar. Then Islamic State forces arrived, announcing their terror in symbols daubed on the doorways of the homes they raided: “They wrote the letter Y on our homes and on our stores and built a barrier like the Berlin Wall – N for the Christians, and Y for the Yazidis. S for the Sunnis, and Sh for the Shi’ites,” Shrem recalls.

The Yazidis met the worst fate: men were marched into mass graves and shot, while women were separated – young from old, mothers from children, wives from virgins. The younger were taken to a “marketplace” to be sold as sex slaves or sabaya; the older were killed or sold as domestic ...

Women can be killers, not adulterers: Hollywood’s heroine problem

After two decades of film producers fretting over her taboo-breaking book Layover, novelist Lisa Zeidner asks if Hollywood is finally ready for a bed-hopping woman

When my novel Layover was first optioned for film in 1999, my agent joked: “It’ll be cheap to shoot. All you need is a bed.” That’s not entirely fair. You also need an airport, a couple of hotel lobbies and a lingerie shop dressing room.

Layover follows a travelling saleswoman who uses her sexuality to challenge expectations for middle-aged women and to propel herself out of grief. The novel has been optioned for 19 straight years, by five different teams. This latest attempt is slated to start in early 2019. What has remained constant over these years is the small number of movies that feature a female protagonist, and the shockingly stringent limits on how she can be portrayed.

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Who is Captain Marvel? Forty years after her debut, a female superhero takes flight

Writer Margaret Stohl, who is reframing the character ahead of Marvel’s next blockbuster, explains how a new generation has demanded a new kind of superhero – one with a hefty backstory and a therapist

Sitting in a sweltering marquee in Avilés, Spain, at July’s Celsius 232 sci-fi festival, Margaret Stohl is telling a packed audience, made up almost entirely of teenage girls, that in comics at least, it’s a great time to be a woman.

She’s here to talk about The Life of Captain Marvel, her five-part comic series that is set to reveal the origin of the complex and contradictory character before her movie hits screens in 2019. But right now, what Stohl really wants to do is make all the women in this room understand what a superhero is.

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