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Women's Redress Press Women's Redress Press i(A36956 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. Redress Press)
Born: Established: 1983 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1996
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Redress Press was founded in Sydney in early 1983 as a feminist book packaging co-operative that aimed to 'challenge the boundaries of publishing in Australia'. Shares were offered to over 200 women at start-up and the sale of shares (at $100 per lot of 50 shares) raised the initial capital for the venture. Redress Press wished to 'get away from the reject and forget practices of most publishers' by providing writers with constructive feedback (Women's Redress Press Records). It also wanted to encourage women from all backgrounds by being 'open to informal proposals'. Another goal was to provide training for women in editing and book production. Yet while enthusiasm was plentiful, Redress Press was undercapitalised and in its first year the venture was in danger of collapsing.

Within a year of establishment, Redress Press was finding it difficult to find publishing companies that were willing to purchase packaged books at realistic prices; often it was less expensive for a publisher to develop its own one-colour titles. In the end, Wild & Woolley sponsored Redress Press's first four titles: Faith Bandler's Welou, My Brother, Leone Sperling's Mother's Day, Colleen Burke's She Moves Mountains, and Pam Brown's Selected Poems 1971-1982. The book launch in July 1984 was also the public launch of Redress Press.

By the end of 1984, Redress Press was in financial difficulties and unable to pay staff wages. In early 1985, an extraordinary general meeting reviewed the future of the press. A revised concept for Redress Press emerged: Redress would become a publisher, not a packager, and would operate without paid staff. The new Redress Press was 'almost a new venture'. Some earlier Redress Press principles carried over, however, particularly the commitment to giving feedback to authors and training women in publishing.

A small number of book projects were under contract when the new collective stepped in to revive Redress Press. Two of these projects were published by Allen & Unwin, while Kate Llewellyn's poetry manuscript became the collective's first project: Luxury (1985). One further problem presented in late 1985: the name Redress Press had not been registered. By necessity, the collective registered a new name: Women's Redress Press.

Over the next decade, Women's Redress Press contributed to a growth in awareness of women's writing and developed a diverse and eclectic list of women's and feminist fiction and non-fiction: novels, short stories, poetry and prose, as well as several feminist reference books. A significant proportion of the list comprised major anthologies that gave voice to many hundreds of previously unpublished women writers. Two books gave voice to women from other cultures: the bilingual Give Me Strength: Forza e Coraggio (1989) and the anthology Who Do You Think You Are? (1992). Another important aspect of Women's Redress Press was its performance readings, which brought writers, readers, students and publishers together, and gave women writers an audience. In this way, too, Women's Redress Press was directly involved in its community.

By the mid-1990s, women writers were having less trouble than before in finding publication opportunities, and mainstream publishers were seen as more receptive to publishing women writers. In addition, collective energy and momentum was fading. In 1995, a formal agreement was reached with Jocelynne Scutt for her company, Artemis Publishing, to take over sale and distribution of selected Women's Redress Press titles. Women's Redress Press was formally wound up in 1996.

Sources: Women's Redress Press Records, Mitchell Library, ML MSS 6308/1.

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Last amended 30 Aug 2010 14:11:04
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