The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and Old City Publishing (OCP) are pleased to announce that feminist writer and activist Jennifer Baumgardner has been named editor in chief of Women’s Review of Books (WRB), the long-running publication that provides a forum for serious, informed discussion of new writing by and about women. She will be its third editor, after Amy Hoffman and WRB founder Linda Gardiner.
“Without a doubt, Women’s Review of Books is one of the most palpable feminist successes of our time. Women came and saw the gender gap in the publishing world, self-organized to address it, and then turned what they had built into a veritable institution,” said Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of WCW. “Jennifer’s feminist writing and spirit of innovation are an ideal match for this important publication.”
Since 1983 the Women’s Review of Books has provided a unique perspective on the literary landscape, featuring essays and in-depth reviews of new books by and about women. A writer, activist, filmmaker, and lecturer, Baumgardner was most recently the executive director of the Feminist Press—the longest running women’s publisher in the world—and is the founder of Dottir Press, a new feminist publisher that will launch with the fall 2018 season.
“The institutions of feminism are always important but they are especially critical now, in this moment of great upheaval, movement, and reckoning. Our institutions provide roots—ballast for the tall saplings of new feminist activism and vision,” said Baumgardner. “I felt the depth of these roots when I scanned the list of writers who’ve contributed to WRB over the years. People like Julia Alvarez, Patricia Bell Scott, Dorothy Allison, Susie Bright, Rita Dove, Jo Freeman, Erica Jong, Jack Halberstam, Peggy McIntosh, Barbara Ransby, Adrienne Rich, Grace Paley, and Ursula Le Guin compose the WRB history. I intend for the present incarnation to be infused with the voices we most need to hear within feminism today.”
A native of Fargo, ND, Baumgardner has lived in New York since 1993. She’s been an editor at Ms. magazine, a writer for venues such as The Nation, Glamour, and The New York Times, and she is author of six books including Manifesta, Grassroots (both with Amy Richards), Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics, and Abortion & Life. She is the co-founder of Soapbox Inc., a feminist speakers’ bureau, and co-creator of Feminist Camps. She was writer-in-residence at The New School, where she taught nonfiction, and she is the director and producer of two award-winning documentaries—I Had an Abortion (2005) and It Was Rape (2013).
“As the publishing industry adjusts to changing technology and trends, I am proud that we are able to continue publishing Women’s Review of Books with Jennifer as the editor,” said Ian Mellanby, Ph.D., WRB publisher. “This publication has truly been an influential voice in the field of feminist writing and its essays and reviews have been embraced by academics across North America and beyond.”
Women’s Review of Books has been published by the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) since 1983. Located at Wellesley College, WCW is the largest academic, women-and gender-focused, social-change-driven, research-and-action institute in the United States. Scholars at WCW advance gender equality, social justice, and human wellbeing through high-quality research, theory, and action programs. Areas of work include: Education, Economic Security, Mental Health, Youth and Adolescent Development, and Gender-Based Violence. While editor, Baumgardner will also serve as a WCW visiting scholar.
Founded in 1995, Old City Publishing, Inc. is dedicated to providing the international community with the latest research and developments in the sciences, technology, medicine, and the humanities; it has published Women’s Review of Books with WCW since 2006.