A brief history of Virago Press

8 November 2017 - 18:00

Lecture in English by Lennie Goodings 


There are very few imprints that have reader recognition: Virago is one of the exceptions.

Founded in 1973 by Carmen Callil, it has always had a sense of purpose, publishing brilliant novelists and provocative nonfiction and memoirs. Virago publishes books that look at the world through women’s eyes, and welcome all readers; it has never seen itself as a niche publisher. The Virago Modern Classics, 40 years old in 2018, has rediscovered books such as Testament of Youth and writers including Elizabeth Taylor, Willa Cather, and Daphne du Maurier. Sarah Waters’ six bestsellers, Marilynne Robinson’s prize-winning novels, Margaret Atwood’s and Sarah Dunant’s novels, Maya Angelou’s memoirs are just some of the Virago books that have changed the world.  Lennie Goodings, Chair of Virago, has been editor at Virago for over 20 years.


The Cultural Programme is open to members of the British Institute of Florence. Membership options range from 24 hours to Life. For membership see here.

The 2017 autumn season is made possible by a generous donation from Alessandra and Michael Griffiths through the Michael Griffiths Trust in memory of their son John (Aug 4, 1970 - April 4, 2015).