Women’s History Month Reading List

Posted by Rebecca Mortimer - Friday, 5 Mar 2021


To celebrate Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we’ve put together a reading list featuring new, forthcoming and bestselling women’s history titles from MUP.  We’ve also included author videos, blog posts and free access to chapters via manchesterhive.




Rebel women between the wars by Sarah Lonsdale

‘I loved this engaging and often thrilling glimpse of a cohort of women between the wars who defied social expectations, and lived the lives they wanted to live. Their interweaving stories of quiet subversion and bold visibility provoked me to both admiration and the irrepressible urge to keep reading bits out to people.’
Lissa Evans, bestselling author of Old Baggage and Crooked Heart



Watch Sarah Lonsdale tell us more about some of the extraordinary women included in her book, on the MUP YouTube channel.

Listen to Sarah discuss Rebel Women between the wars with Dan Snow on the History Hit podcast.

Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Surrealist women’s writing edited by Anna Watz

Drawing on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, the essays in the volume focus on the writing of numerous women surrealists, many of whom have hitherto mainly been known for their visual rather than their literary production. These include Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage, Colette Peignot, Suzanne Césaire, Unica Zürn, Ithell Colquhoun, Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning, and Rikki Ducornet.



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.

Read a blog article by Anna Watz introducing Surrealist women’s writing here


Violence against women’s health in international law by Sara De Vido

Exploring the relationship between violence against women and women’s rights to health and reproductive health, Sara De Vido theorises the new concept of violence against women’s health in international law using the Hippocratic paradigm, enriching human rights-based approaches to women’s autonomy and reflecting on the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination.

Watch Sara De Vido introduce her book from the Dolomites, on the MUP IGTV channel.

Read Violence against women’s health, the pandemic, and the Hippocratic paradigm in international law a blog post written by Sara De Vido, here.

Read the book for free via manchesteropenhive.


The poems of Elizabeth Siddal in context by Anne Woolley

A ground breaking new book that considers all Siddal poems with reference to female and primarily male counterparts, adding substantially to knowledge of her work as a writer, and their shared contemporary concerns. Siddal’s artwork is used to introduce each chapter, while other Pre-Raphaelite paintings illuminate the texts and further the inter-disciplinary philosophy of the Brotherhood. This important and stimulating book focuses on the intrinsic merit of Siddal’s poetics whilst advocating a research method that could have multiple applications elsewhere.



Watch Anne Woolley describing her new book, on the MUP YouTube channel.


Women art workers and the Arts and Crafts movement by Zoë Thomas

Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women navigated authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, Thomas elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles.



Watch Zoë Thomas introduce her book, on the MUP IGTV channel.


Rethinking right-wing women edited by Clarisse Berthezène and Julie Gottlieb

This book explores the institutional structures for and the representations, mobilisation, and the political careers of women in the British Conservative Party since the late 19th century. From the Primrose League (est.1883) to Women2Win (est.2005), the party has exploited women’s political commitment and their social power from the grass-roots to the heights of the establishment.



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Victorian touring actresses by Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses brings new attention to women’s experience of working in nineteenth-century theatre by focusing on a diverse group of largely forgotten ‘mid-tier’ performers, rather than the usual celebrity figures. It examines how actresses responded to changing political, economic and social circumstances and how the women were themselves agents of change.



Watch Janice Norwood describing her book, on the MUP YouTube channel.


Marie Duval by Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin and Julian Waite

Marie Duval: maverick Victorian cartoonist offers the first critical appraisal of the work of Marie Duval (Isabelle Émilie de Tessier, 1847-1890), one of the most unusual, pioneering and visionary cartoonists of the later nineteenth century. It discusses key themes and practices of Duval’s vision and production, relative to the wider historic social, cultural and economic environments in which her work was made, distributed and read, identifing Duval as an exemplary radical practitioner.



Watch Simon Grennan introducing the work of Marie Duval on the MUP YouTube channel.


Five Irish women by Emer Nolan

‘Overall, this is a well-written, clever, very useful book which will add to our knowledge of later 20th-century feminism, politics, Irishness and its meanings, and the results of freedoms achieved and exploited by a cohort of outstanding Irish women.’
The Irish Times


Women of war by Juliette Pattinson

Women of war is an examination of gender modernity using the world’s longest established women’s military organisation, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. These New Women’s adoption of martial uniform and military-style training, their inhabiting of public space, their deployment of innovative new technologies such as the motor car, the illustrated press, advertisements and cinematic film and their proactive involvement in the First World War illustrate why the Corps and its socially elite members are a particularly revealing case study of gender modernity.



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.



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