In a current climate where girls, cis and otherwise, are told, sometimes viciously, that their concerns are invalid and that their personhood is "less than", we're excited to see that feminist presses publishing positive books that challenge patriarchial norms. Today, on the cusp of going back to school, we're applauding Inanna Publications: this nearly 40-year-old press is introducing the Young Feminist Series, feminist books aimed at the YA-reading audience.
Inanna Publications is thrilled to launch our new Young Feminist Series in Fall 2016. The YFS will showcase new, innovative and diverse perspectives on a wide variety of young feminist issues in the form of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry for youth ages 12-25. Specific topics we plan to publish on include (but are not limited to) explorations of race and racism, Indigeneity, disability, LGBTQ identities, sexuality, body image, violence, youth activism, confrontations of issues of class and poverty, pregnancy and reproductive justice, girls’ empowerment, and other pressing feminist issues of interest to young women today.
In recent years, we have received a number of manuscripts that could easily fall into the YA genre, but have a particular focus on feminist issues. In 2013, Inanna published Carrianne Leung’s novel,
The Wondrous Woo (a finalist for the Toronto Book Award), which is not explicitly categorized as a YA novel, but delves into the experiences of a young Asian woman who learns the meaning of courage, belonging, and family. Similarly
Motion Sickness, a flash fiction novel by Ursula Pflug published in 2014 (and a finalist for the 2015 ReLit Award), follows one young woman’s humorous and poignant misadventures in the worlds of employment, friendship, dating, birth control and abortion. The success of, and interest in these books, their topics, and unique young women’s voices in general, prompted us to consider the demand for young feminist novels. We have been growing our list for some time (we are now publishing approximately 20 books per year), and have reached a point where we feel we can devote the energy and resources to regularly producing books for a large, ever-growing YA market.
All too often society asserts that we no longer need feminism; all of our struggles for equality have been won. This is far from true. Young women everywhere are still trying to find their voice and assert their identities in a world still saturated by sexist and misogynist culture that continually puts girls and young women second, and silences their needs, concerns, ambition, and desires. We feel the Young Feminist Series will help to fill a void in a limiting YA market that still tends to cast boys as protagonists, with girls as secondary characters. The new series will highlight young women’s perspectives, but instead of focusing on the simplified toils of youth, life lessons, and budding romance, the Inanna Young Feminist Series will focus on the complexities of intersectional feminist issues in the real lives of girls and young women.
Good Girls by Shalta Dicaire Fardin and Sarah Sahagian is the first YFS title from Inanna, publishing September 2016. It is book one in a series (within the Young Feminist Series) of witty, daring and feminist-first YA novels that will follow Good Girls protagonists Allie and Octavia throughout their time as students at Anne Bradstreet College, an all-girls prep school in Boston. The authors are currently working on seven more books, encompassing eight semesters in eight novels that will examine these young women’s lives against a backdrop of academic pressure, class and race issues, personal relationships, and of course, the various conflicts and challenges that are faced by young women everywhere.
The second book in the Young Feminist imprint is Under the Zaboca Tree by Glynis Guevara, releasing Spring 2017. This contemporary coming-of-age novel explores the experiences of Baby Girl, a Trinidadian adolescent who has lost her mother and is searching for her identity against tumultuous changes in her life and community. A third scheduled young feminist novel is Mountain (also Spring 2017) by Ursula Pflug. It tells the story of 16-year-old Camden who accompanies her mother to a mountain “gathering” where people have come to participate in various kinds of alternative healing therapies. When her mother leaves, Camden doesn’t know that she has left to confront her daughter’s father because she finally believes that Camden has been telling the truth when she says that he has sexually molested her.
We are currently seeking new books for the series, and welcome submissions from emerging and established authors. Please spread the word and get those manuscripts in!
Good Girls, the first title in Inanna's Young Feminist Series launches on September 28 at Studio Bar, 824 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON: 6:00pm.
Please join Inanna to celebrate.
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Many thanks to Renee at Inanna for sharing the Press' exciting news with us! We can't wait to start gifting YFS books to all the young readers in our lives (and, as adult YA-lovers, read them ourselves, obviously).
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