Virago was founded by Carmen Callil in 1973 as a feminist publishing company. Inspired by the political and social change of that decade, the women who created Virago believed passionately that writing by women should be celebrated, enjoyed, taken seriously and read widely. Writers and readers immediately embraced the list: women wanted a voice, to understand their history, to be championed and to see themselves on the page. Decades later, at Virago they still believe that books can change the world.
The name Virago (meaning heroic war-like woman or, as the Thesaurus has it a name for a particular kind of woman: biddy, bitch, dragon, fire-eater, fury, harpy, harridan, hussy, muckraker, scold, she-devil, siren, spitfire, termagant, tigress, vituperator, vixen, wench) signaled the founders’ intent to challenge, entertain, enrich, raise eyebrows and revolutionise the literary landscape.