10 Jane Cholmeley on winning the Pandora Award
What do you remember about winning the Pandora 1989?
I remember being surprised and actually very thrilled and, we won it for setting up Silver Moon Women’s Bookshop. Sue Butterworth and myself and also Jane Anger. And to say it was a sort of healing thing, sounds a bit sort of wishy washy, but we’d had such a lot of difficulty, if not to say, attacks on us for setting up the bookshop.
Now, setting up a feminist bookshop in the Charing Cross Road, and a feminist and lesbian bookshop in the Charing Cross Road, I never expected that that would win us much in the popularity stakes but what I was completely taken aback by and very surprised by was the hostility that that provoked. For example, I had books thrown at me, we had a knife attack, I was sitting at my desk one day and two German tourists came up and said, ‘There’s a man downstairs showing his sex’, and it took me a little while to figure out that they meant he was flashing at them.
We had a threat from extremists who threatened to fire bomb us because we should go back into the kitchen.
So, I was very taken by surprise by the level of hostility that we had to put up with on an individual basis.
And one of the things, there weren’t many booksellers involved in Women in Publishing, because booksellers are throughout the country, publishing is London-o-centric. You work different hours in the book trade. So it was particularly nice that Women in Publishing went beyond its obvious remit to single us out. And lots and lots of people from Women in Publishing had helped us, either with labour or with advice or with, much more important than either of those really, just basic encouragement to go ahead and do what we were doing. So we felt tremendously supported by Women in Publishing