Virago Press

For other uses, see Virago (disambiguation).
Parent company Hachette Livre
Founded 1973
Founder Carmen Callil
Country of origin United Kingdom
Key people Lennie Goodings (editor)
Nonfiction topics Feminism
Official website

Virago is a British publishing company.


Virago was founded in 1973 by Carmen Callil, primarily to publish books by women writers. Both new works and reissued books by neglected authors have featured on the imprint's list, as well as works with feminist themes by male authors such as H. G. Wells.

In 1982 Virago became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chatto, Virago, Bodley Head, and Cape Group, but in 1987 Callil, Lennie Goodings, Ursula Owen, Alexandra Pringle, and Harriet Spicer put together a management buy-out from CVBC, then owned by Random House, USA. The buy-out was financed by Rothschild Ventures and Robert Gavron. Random House UK kept a ten per cent stake in the company, and continued to handle sales and distribution.

In 1993 Rothschild Ventures sold their shares to the directors and Gavron, who thus became the largest single shareholder. After a downturn in the market forced a reduction in activity, the board decided to sell the company to Little, Brown, of which Virago became an imprint in 1996 (with Lennie Goodings as Publisher and Sally Abbey as Senior Editor). In 2006, Virago's parent company became part of publishing group Hachette Livre. Lennie Goodings remains as editor and publisher.

Valentine Cunningham has praised Virago for trawling "most impressively and fruitfully in the novel catalogues" of the 1930s for women's fiction to reprint.[1]


  1. Cunningham, Valentine (1993), "Vin Rouge Audenaire?", in Cunningham, Valentine, British Writers Of The Thirties, Clarendon Press, p. 26, ISBN 9780192826558.

Further reading

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