Call me by her name … the Reclaim Her Name book campaign sets history straight


  • Books
  • Friday, 14 Aug 2020

Twenty five classic novels by female writers will be re-released as free ebooks to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Women's Prize for Fiction. Photo: AFP

The Reclaim Her Name initiative, sponsored by Baileys, has recently been launched to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Women's Prize for Fiction.

Twenty-five classic novels by female writers, previously published under male pseudonyms, will be re-released for the first time with the real name of the author on the cover in an effort to "honour their achievements and give them the credit they deserve."

More than 3,000 pseudonymous writers were considered by a team of researchers commissioned by Baileys for inclusion in the collection, which features classic novels such as Middlemarch by Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) and A Phantom Lover by Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee).

Indiana by 19th-century author Amantine Aurore Dupin, who is best known under her male pen name George Sand, will also be re-released as a free ebook.

Also included in the collection are Marie Of The Cabin Club by Ann Petry (aka Arnold Petri), Keynotes by Mary Bright (aka George Egerton), as well as A Diplomat's Diary by Julia Cruger (aka Julien Gordon).

"When I was asked if my mother's work could be included within such a worthy collection of books along with other impressive female writers, I was honoured. I'm incredibly proud of my mother's work and it excites me that her writing has been introduced to a new audience through this collection. I know she would be thrilled to be a part of this as it's an incredible conversation starter for such an important cause," said Liz Petry, daughter of Anne Petry, in a statement.

Additionally, all novels of the Reclaim Her Name collection will feature a new modern cover designed by a selection of female illustrators from all over the world, including Brazil, Russia, Jordan and Germany.

"Baileys has been a sponsor of the Women's Prize for Fiction for many years now and together we have been dedicated to honouring, celebrating and championing women's writing. Together, we're incredibly excited by the Reclaim Her Name campaign - it's a lovely way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the prize, by doing what we always strive to do - empowering women, igniting conversations and ensuring that they get the recognition they deserve," Kate Mosse, who is the founder and director of the Women's Prize for Fiction, commented.

Now in its 25th edition, the Women's Prize for Fiction celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women. Previous winners include Zadie Smith, Tayari Jones and Lionel Shriver. - AFP Relaxnews

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