About the Magazine


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.

Purchase single issues or subscriptions here.

Publisher and Editor: A. N. Devers

Managing Editor: Lucy Scholes

Designer: Nele Wellens

Photographer: Jo Emmerson

Advisory Board: Nicole Antebi, Gabrielle Bellot, Sinéad Gleeson, Lauren Groff, Sophie Hunter, TJ Jarrett, Morgan Jerkins, Laura Lippman, Elizabeth McCracken, Susan Scarf Merrell, Laurie Muchnick, Roachele Negron, Audrey Niffenegger, Nadxi Nieto, Lara Prescott, Dorthe Nors, Lucy Scholes, Marisa Siegel, Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Syme, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Dr. Amara Thornton, Joanna Walsh, Jesmyn Ward, Sarah Weinman, Khaliah Williams

Printed by Calverts, a Workers Co-operative, formed in East London, in 1977. Their name is an homage to Giles & Elizabeth Calvert, radical printers and publishers during the English Revolution of the 1640s.