We are thrilled to be ending the week by sharing the news that Victoria Smith‘s examination of the vilification of middle-aged women has been acquired by Fleet, an imprint of Little, Brown. UK and commonwealth rights to Hags: The Demonisation of Middle-Aged Women were bought by publisher Ursula Doyle from Caroline Hardman. The non-fiction title is set to hit shelves in 2023.
Victoria said: “I’m delighted to be making a case for my brilliant, much-maligned generation of women. That this isn’t a book I could have imagined myself writing 20 or even 10 years ago is symptomatic of our endlessly reinvented fear of the older woman inside. I’m so happy to be working with Ursula at Fleet, and will feel honoured to have my work alongside so much wonderful, uncompromising writing on women, politics and our lives.”
Ursula said: “Middle-aged women are currently experiencing a storm of rage, ageism and explicit misogyny, frequently from people who see themselves as progressive, accepting and kind.
“Victoria’s book is insightful and rigorous, examining her own experiences as a middle-aged woman, alongside those of a wide range of women, in various contexts. Hags is a clear and incisive look at what has happened over the past few years, and why it is crucial to address it now.”
What is it about turning forty which turns a woman into a fearsome hag?
For the past nine years, Victoria Smith has been writing about issues relating to motherhood, politics and female bodies. In the midst of doing this, she’s allowed middle age to happen to her. Some things – a sagging neckline, ageing parents, late night mortality panics – she could have anticipated. Being viewed as morally inferior has come as a total shock.
Why should a cohort so essential to the functioning of society be treated with such active disdain? What’s made us the face of bigotry, entitlement, selfishness? Ageing while female has started to feel like a transgression for which we must atone. Are we really terrible people, or is something else going on? Hags seeks to explain why.
Victoria Smith has been a regular contributor to the New Statesman and the Independent, focussing on women’s issues, parenting and mental health. She’s also written for Mumsnet, featured on panels at their Blogfest, and has made appearances on Woman’s Hour to discuss female body image. Her newsletter The OK Karen, focused on midlife women’s experiences of feminism, was launched in 2020, and she is particularly interested in how experiences of power and misogyny change as we age.
Originally from Cumbria, she now lives in Cheltenham with her family. She is working towards achieving full venerable crone status before she hits fifty.
You can read the full Bookseller article here.