Companion was edited by Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy. It was published in 1990 by Batsford (now Pavilion Books) in the UK and Yale University Press in the US. It took about ten years to complete and was based mainly on research completed specifically for the project.
Companion includes about 2,700 entries about women writers and associated topics such as genres and literary movements. Only writing in English is covered but the project's geographic scope is wide. Temporally, Companion covers writers from the Middle Ages to about 1985.
Entries focus on biographical details over literary criticism, seeking to show the lives from which women's writing emerged. The editors included entries on writing not typically considered literary, such as diaries and letters, in order to counteract received narratives of what literature can be. Companion emphasizes women's relationships with one another and lists mothers before fathers when describing a subject's parentage.
Collaborators on Companion later created Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present, an online reference source about women's writing published by Cambridge University Press.
- Harris 1992, p. 383.
- Brown, Susan; Clements, Patricia; Grundy, Isobel; Balazs, Sharon; Antoniuk, Jeffrey (2007). "The Story of the Orlando Project: Personal Reflections". Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. 26 (1): 135–143. doi:10.2307/20455313. ISSN 0732-7730. JSTOR 20455313.
- "Other New Books". Comparative Literature. 43 (1): 112. 1991. ISSN 0010-4124. JSTOR 1771011.
- Butcher, Patricia Smith (1991). "Review of The Feminist Companion to Literature in English". RQ. 31 (1): 98. ISSN 0033-7072. JSTOR 25828955.
- Barry 1991, p. 276.
- Pearce, Jan (28 November 1990). "Slaves, preachers and revolutionaries". The Age – via newspapers.com.
- Harris 1992, p. 384.
- Heilbrun, Carolyn G. (27 January 1991). "Review of Feminist Companion to Literature in English". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
- Freeman, Lisa A. (2012). "Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present (review)". The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats. 45 (1): 87–89. doi:10.1353/scb.2012.0028. ISSN 2165-0624. S2CID 161291799. Project MUSE 492443.
- Barry, Peter (September 1991). "Taking Up References". English: Journal of the English Association. 40 (168): 275–284. doi:10.1093/english/40.168.275. ISSN 0013-8215.
- Harris, Jocelyn (1992). "Review of The Feminist Companion to Literature in English". Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. 11 (2): 383–386. doi:10.2307/464316. JSTOR 464316.