Opening the publishing gates
This month, we’re sharing how the Feminist Press fights censorship and promotes free speech and expression with our inclusive publishing mission.
Censorship means a lot more than banning books—it also involves placing restrictions, official or unofficial, on the kinds of books that are printed in the first place. How many stories are never even written, not because of overt censorship, but because of culturally exclusive gatekeeping in publishing?
In an industry estimated to be 79% white, 88% heterosexual, 99% cisgender, and 92% nondisabled, writers with identities, experiences, and ideas that differ from the norm face enormous barriers. Mainstream standards about what kinds of books are “relatable” or “marketable” can mean that the same stories are told over and over, while new ones are rarely given a chance to be heard.
The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is one way the Feminist Press keeps our gates wide open. Established in 2015, the prize is awarded annually to a debut work by a woman or nonbinary author of color. It’s named for legendary author Louise Meriwether, whose classic Daddy Was a Number Runner was one of the first novels to feature a young Black heroine, inspiring a new generation of writers ready to change culture with their craft.
Our first winner YZ Chin continues Meriwether’s legacy with Though I Get Home, a collection of interconnected vignettes exploring oppression, dissent, artistic freedom, and the human condition through the perspective of a young Malaysian woman.
From its founding to today, Feminist Press has been dedicated to activist publishing, bringing new and underrepresented stories to life.
Are you eager to build a literary world that welcomes all people and perspectives? YOUR CONTRIBUTION OF $50, $25, EVEN $10, helps us continue to support upcoming women and nonbinary authors of color with the Louise Meriwether Prize.
The Feminist Press Team