May. 20th, 2011

lizabelle: (Old coat new book)
In The Count, Kirsten Tranter, Sophie Cunningham and Stephen Romei discussed why articles by and about men dominate our book pages, when so many women write and buy books and work in the publishing industry.

Kirsten started us off with some figures, including the fact that the Times Literary Supplement reviewed works by 330 women in 2010, as compared with 1036 men. The Paris Review published interviews with one woman author and seven men. The New York Review of Books reviewed works by 59 women and 462 men. The figures vary, but they are consistent in one respect: women writers are under-represented in these pages, in terms of both the reviews that are written and the books that are reviewed.

More under here. )

So what to do about all of this? Part of the task is simply to raise awareness of the problem, which events such as The Count are doing. It does seem that people are increasingly conscious of the issues, particularly since VIDA's figures made such a splash earlier this year - and yet, that almost makes the Miles Franklin all-male shortlist feel more like a slap in the face than ever.

Work is also underway on the development of a literary prize for women writers in Australia, along the lines of the Orange Prize in the UK. Tentatively named the Stella Prize (Miles Franklin's real name was Stella), its stated goal is the recognition and representation of writing by women. You can keep track of developments by "liking" the prize's facebook page.

Further links for the curious:

New Australian fiction prize for women - Meanjin interview with Sophie Cunningham.
The Miles Franklin: another "Sausagefest" - Stephen Romei's reaction to the recent shortlist announcement, plus some pithy comments.
Is it a man's world, literally? - Alison Croggon on the implications of the shortlist.
A prize of one's own: the case for an Aussie Orange - Benjamin Law.
The Stella Prize on facebook.


lizabelle: (Default)

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