The Second Shelf: Rare Books and Words by Women was founded by A. N. Devers in 2018 to provide a space for writers, readers, and book collectors to celebrate books by and about women. The biannual publication is a literary magazine and rare book catalogue hybrid, the aim of which is to increase the visibility of women’s writing throughout history.
Each issue showcases beautifully photographed, carefully curated books and artworks, from first editions to fine bindings to manuscripts and ephemera. Contextualising these works are original commissions by writers, artists, photographers, and illustrators—including essays, poems, interviews, and profiles. As such, it combines the visual quality of a glossy art magazine with the calibre of writing found in exceptional literary journals. We have designed it to read like a fashion magazine for bibliophiles, inviting women into the world of book collecting, and providing contributors with a space to champion, celebrate, and ruminate on work that has made a difference to them.
In this issue:
Issue Two includes: An Angela Carter Portfolio: Wolves in Fiction by Daisy Johnson, Pornography in Angela Carter by Arifa Akbar, and Angela Carter-inspired illustrations by Natalie Kay-Thatcher. Sharlene Teo on Qiu Miaojin. An interview with Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove and her Ideal Bookshelf from Jane Mount. Fiona Lensvelt of Litwitchure on Pamela Colman Smith. Lucy Scholes interviews Posy Simmonds. A comic-strip profile of Veronica Santiago and Word-Up Bookshop by Ellen Lindner. Fiction by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Khaliah Williams of three generations of her family reading Jane Austen. And more! Cover photography is “A Study of the ‘Katia Reading'” from the series “After Balthus – a Photographic Portrayal of the Paintings of Balthus” by Hisaji Hara.
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