January 25, 2018

Penguin Women Writers series

2018 marks the centenary of the first British women receiving the right to vote, an event which Penguin are celebrating with the launch of their Women Writers series: four classic titles – authored by women – which ‘deserve to be better known’ in the UK.

A.M. Heath is delighted that our author Kamila Shamsie, a Royal Society of Literature fellow whose latest novel Home Fire was this year Man Booker longlisted, was chosen to curate two titles in the series.


We are equally proud that Mary McCarthy’s Birds of America – the story of a young American fleeing the draft for the Vietnam War – was selected as one of the books by co-curator Penelope Lively.  Lively describes the novel as ‘crisp and clever’, and writes in her introduction: ‘Fiercely intelligent, insatiably combative, McCarthy’s novels invite controversy.’

Kamila’s choices, for which she has written introductions, are Sara Suleri’s Meatless Days – a ‘stunning’ memoir of female experience in post-colonial Pakistan – and Ismat Chughtai’s Lifting the Veil, a collection of stories Kamila calls ‘wickedly funny and provocative.’


‘In the life of every writer, there comes those moments when you’re asked to recommend books that are meaningful or important to you in some way. It’s always a source of great desolation to know that some of those books are out of print or – worse – were never published in the UK to begin with. Having a chance to right that wrong, and bring a couple of writers who I love into the lives of readers who didn’t know them before, was something that was impossible to pass up on.’

Kamila Shamsie on curating the Penguin Women Writers series


The series will be published in all its glory 1st February 2018.