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The motivations in our careers naturally vary among us and each of us is drawn to our work for different reasons. But at its core, we work in this trade to have the opportunity to experience the pleasure from working with books, and with other people who share this same passion.

Having read the article we all independently felt that this part of our positive and dynamic conversation with ATG was scaled back in favour of a rather reductive angle – an angle which we were not privy to before conducting the interview. Our enthusiasm, therefore, appeared somewhat glossed over and replaced with a handful of largely tongue-in-cheek observations and anecdotes that were affectionately shared.

We interviewed on the understanding the article was going to be a celebration of the work undertaken by young specialists in an equally young company, but our good faith was taken advantage of, and some of our light-hearted comments have been taken out of context. From the article, the reader might be led to believe that what we have to say about our work can be reduced to the matter of only our gender and age.

While outside of our dialogue with ATG, it is widely acknowledged that women across all industries experience sexism and misogyny while working, and this should not be downplayed.

Positive experiences

However, we feel it important to emphasise that our everyday experiences at work are positive, and we have collectively built fruitful relationships with the so-named ‘Old Guard’ in the industry.

They have provided us with invaluable career opportunities, passed down their accumulated wisdom, and we have, in turn, celebrated our learnings from their legacies.

What we hoped would come across from our interview is how delighted we are to be a part of the book trade right now. This is a fantastic time to be in this industry, with more women collectors, dealers and librarians than ever before. Indeed, at Forum Auctions there are more women employed than men; and of the three founders, one is a woman.

In an ideal world, the book trade would not be split into the ‘Old Guard’ and ‘Young Guard’, but rather just booksellers and books, with collective pleasure from the joy of the work we do.

We feel we should apologise to those of our colleagues in the industry and collectors who may have felt maligned by some sections in your article.

Hester Malin, Cosima Benson- Colpi, Lydia Gardner, and Ella Wooldridge