Over the next month, Edge Hill University’s Festival of Ideas is busy transforming the campus into a buzzing hub of events activity, from film screenings to book launches to debates, plays, performances and round tables right across the arts and sciences. This year’s theme is ‘Equalities’: the first words that came into my mind when I was asked for recommendations for this year’s bill under that heading were ‘404 Ink’ and ‘Nasty Women’.
I love a good DIY, ground-up, fizzing-with-energy, radical publishing house, and was fascinated by the Nasty Women phenomenon which seemed to mushroom so fast last year. In the wake of D***ld Tr**p’s labelling of Hillary Clinton as a ‘nasty woman’ during his election campaign, two young independent publishers in Glasgow, Heather McDaid and Laura Jones (aka 404 Ink, whose tagline is ‘Publishing Loud’), set about crowdfunding a book which would all at once reclaim that phrase and act as a temperature-take. Here was a creative non-fiction book that brought many new young female writers to the fore, covering a huge range of topics examining what it is to be a woman in the 21st Century. There are interviews, essays and accounts covering everything from punk to politics, to being the child of immigrants, to sexual assault, working class identity, family and much, much more. It’s hugely ambitious, and saw a major breakthrough for the new publisher, being the best-selling book at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, one of the biggest in the world. Since then the publishers have moved on to other great things, with Chris McQueer’s recent short story collection Hings being one of the most notable. But Nasty Women is a special and rare book, and it’s still making waves. We’re chuffed that Heather and Laura, also contributors Joelle A. Owusu and Laura Waddell, both huge talents in their own right, will be coming to discuss Nasty Women at the Festival of Ideas. The weekend also sees a vegan food festival and, appropriately enough, talks on the suffragettes as well as a performance of Mrs Pankhurst Presents Votes for Women, at 7.30om the same night.
The Nasty Women is FREE and is chaired by our brand new Lecturer in Creative Writing, Claire Dean. Hope to see you there. You can book your place HERE.
“…an essential window into many of the hazard-strewn worlds younger women are living in right now”
Margaret Atwood, on Nasty Women