CHANGES OF HEART: Reflections on Women’s Independence
(Pandora 1986)

In the 1980s women who had experienced the exhilaration and solidarity of a movement at its height a decade earlier, found themselves in a more atomised society undermined by Thatcherite policies. Through interviews and fragments of autobiography, this book looks at some enduring female dilemmas and asks how the gains of the women’s liberation movement had changed individual lives.

‘Thought-provoking reflections on women’s independence’
The Guardian

 

‘This is a thoughtful, eloquent book that does its best to be optimistic in these difficult times.’
New Society

‘The connection or non-connection between feminism and politics is gently explored in Liz Heron’s fascinating and sensitive Changes of Heart.’
British Book News

 

STREETS OF DESIRE
Women’s Fictions of the 20th-Century City
(Virago 1993, US edition CITY WOMEN Beacon Press)

An anthology of stories and extracts from novels, with commentaries decade by decade. These fictions illuminate the 20th-century city, as women explore new freedoms, encounter politics and cross cultural frontiers. Alongside the great European capitals are Leningrad and Lagos, Tokyo and Shanghai, New York and São Paulo. The writers include Ingeborg Bachmann, Djuna Barnes, Angela Carter, Lidia Ginzburg, Toni Morrison, Dorothy Parker, Flora Nwapa, Jean Rhys, Christina Stead and Virginia Woolf.

‘Liz Heron is interested in how the city’s intimation of infinite unknown possibilities is negotiated in women’s writing in the 20th-century… The selections are guided by an evident love of writing which, in style as well as content, conveys a refusal to “stay put”.’
Sheila Rowbotham, The Guardian

 

‘An interesting insight into the way an urban landscape can shape the female consciousness.’
The Sunday Times

 

‘A rich and varied collection showing women who embrace the city, defy it, are crushed by it, endure it, and conquer it.’
Belles Lettres

 

‘This splendid anthology mines some rich veins of 20th-century writing on women and the cities they inhabit.’
New York Newsday

 

Read a short extract from STREETS OF DESIRE

TRUTH, DARE OR PROMISE: Girls growing up in the 50s

(Virago 1985, 1993)

Twelve women who grew into feminism in the 1970s look back on childhood in a period when the new Welfare State and the Education Act promised a wider route to equality than ever before. For the first time, girls too could share in that future. This collection was prompted by the end of an era, when a hope for progress and increasing social justice foundered in the wake of the 1979 general election. The writers tell intimate, clear-eyed stories that differ widely in their experience of class and culture in post-war Britain, from the industrial West of Scotland to the Home Counties. Contributors include Alison Fell, Harriett Gilbert, Ursula Huws, Julia Pascal, Denise Riley, Sheila Rowbotham and Valerie Walkerdine.

‘This is a marvellous selection of autobiographical recollections… haunting and vivid essays of the way things were.’
Beryl Bainbridge, The Guardian

 

‘Again and again, the writing calls up splendidly vivid images, audible voices, places and people that have the special looming, close-up quality that belongs to childhood experience…. It was the orange juice, the schooling, the access to higher education that enabled these women to find ways of living and working so different from their mothers’…. The quality of the writing in itself suggests how valuable, how much of an investment, those “free” things were.’
Lorna Sage, The Observer

 

‘Some of the writing is exuberant, some ironical, some hedged about with pain, but all is deeply expressive and unsentimental… It is compulsive reading.’
Olivia Harris, New Statesman

 

‘Truth, Dare or Promise gave a dozen versions of autobiography, a dozen versions of the 50s – evocative, too, for men who grew up in that decade.’
Malcolm Imrie, City Limits

ILLUMINATIONS
Women Writing on Photography from the 1850s to the Present

Co-edited with Val Williams
(IB Tauris 1996, US edition Duke University Press)

A capacious anthology that proposes a new and different history of photography and photographic criticism, in which women play a part hitherto unrecognised. The writers include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gisèle Freund, Nan Goldin, Rosalind Krauss, Lucy Lippard, Lee Miller, Tina Modotti, Laura Mulvey, Susan Sontag, Jo Spence and Varvara Stepanova.

‘This is the kind of book that puts down a marker for years to come.’
Creative Camera

SOME SHORT PIECES

THE MYSTIQUE OF MOTHERHOOD

In No Turning Back: Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement (The Women’s Press, 1981)

LOST IN EUROPE

In Brought to Book, eds Ian Breakwell & Paul Hammond (Penguin 1994)

RACHILDE’S WOMEN

Introduction to my translation of La Marquise de Sade (Dedalus 1994)

 

Read Rachilde’s Women