Ann Quin’s innovative, versatile oeuvre made a substantial contribution to 1960s and 1970s British avant-garde and experimental writing, but literary scholarship has, until recently, been slow to appreciate the brilliance and importance of her work. This special issue of Women: a cultural review is the first collection of its kind focused solely on Quin. To frame the collection, I offer a short introduction to Quin’s work and life, and discuss how her working-class identity has been considered a significant factor in relation to the distinctive forms, language, aesthetics and experimentation of her writing. I introduce the volume’s contributions, which include an interview, a creative-critical piece, and four critical essays on Quin, to show the correspondences, overlaps and contrasts between them. In particular, I focus on their consideration of archive materials, and the aesthetic and sensory qualities of Quin’s writing. I argue that, precisely by being read together, the contributions deepen and extend our thinking about Quin, give a sense of current critical approaches to her work, and provide a key opportunity to reflect on the significance of our impulse to return to her work today.