For Books’ Sake is one of those places that feels like it’s been around forever. I think it feels like that in part because they started up at the same time we did and were one of the first places I stumbled across, but most of all because it arrived into the world fully formed and absolutely stuffed with fabulous things.
Most of all, the site’s success is, I’m sure, down to the irrepressible energy of its editor, Jane Bradley, and deputy editor, Alex Herod, whose passion to create a hub for “books by and for independent women” sparkles through everything they do. Combine that with a roster of exceptional contributors and some wonderful quirks like the Battle of the Bookshops, and it has the ingredients to become what every site dreams of – the first place you click in the morning to see what’s new.
They tweet here and have a Facebook page here.
DH: One thing that really surprised me was seeing you recently celebrate your first birthday. Has FBS really only been around a year? It feels like it’s been there forever, which must mean it has both a special alchemy and that you really hit the ground running. How did you manage that?
FBS: We’ve been around just over a year in our current incarnation (and for a few months before that as a more general books blog), and in that time we’ve managed to coordinate literary events at festivals around the UK, meet some truly amazing and awe-inducing people, and even wangle an audience with Margaret Atwood.
Putting together the three-day literary programme for Ladyfest Ten, which took place in November 2010 (after the site launched at the end of August 2010) was a baptism of fire, but it was an ideal platform that gave us an immediate audience of people passionate about feminism and the arts – the perfect community for For Books’ Sake.
It also meant we got to work alongside long list of wonderful women-focused organisations – such as The Girls Are, Storm in a Teacup and the London Rollergirls, who’ve been brilliantly supportive ever since. And I’ll also mention that we’re forever indebted to Group Of for designing and building the site.
FBS: It was really important to us that the site was accessible as well as intelligent, and was partly born out of a frustration with media which was either frustratingly simplistic or so academic as to be almost impenetrable. It was important for us to recognise that celebrating and promoting women writers can mean talking about Harry Potter or our favourite fictional fat girls as well as the more traditional topics like surrealist women writers or sexism in publishing and literary prizes.
FBS: Both Alex and Jane have a soft spot for News from Nowhere in Liverpool and Shakespeare and Co in Paris, though we’ve added a long list of others to our to-visit wishlist since starting the Battle of the Bookshops series.
FBS: Manchester is an exciting place to be at the moment. The Salford Zine Library is at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery until the end of January, and then there’s the regular events organised by Bad Language. The Manchester Literature Festival always has amazing events with iconic authors (like Jeanette Winterson live at Manchester Cathedral), while this year’s Not Part Of Festival featured lots of weird and wonderful literary shenanigans (including our Mad Hatter’s Tea Party). For online inspiration, we’d recommend Tara Books, Monster Emporium Press, Bad Reputation and The Strumpet.