Alice Oswald has won the race to be Oxford’s latest professor of poetry. She will be the first woman to serve in the position, established more than 300 years ago.
Dominican-American slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo has become the first ever writer of colour to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s books award, the Carnegie medal, which has a history stretching back to 1936 and includes Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis and Neil Gaiman among its former winners.
Learning how to deal with blocks is a critical component of the writer’s toolbox, though, so here’s a brief survey of what the women whose shoulders we stand on have had to say on the subject of writer’s block.
It’s the struggle to be taken seriously, to balance work and the responsibilities of life, to be typecast into subjects and ideas specific to ‘women’s writing’. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room: a constant reminder that we need to prove our comparative worth.
On an unnamed part of the internet, young adult author Gwen C. Katz found a delightfully deluded male author claiming that his facility with writing natural women characters constituted an unassailable rebuke to the idea that we need diverse authors to write diverse viewpoints. If a male author can write a woman this convincing, surely there’s no need for the #OwnVoices movement!
Ahead of the release of their new books, Denfeld and Macmillan sat down to discuss the wave of new women crime writers—and if being a woman has changed how they write about violence and crime.
A hundred years ago, Gerald Duckworth’s publishing company brought out a little book by an unknown writer about a student teacher in Germany. It was called Pointed Roofs, and its author was Dorothy M Richardson. The story was narrated entirely through the consciousness of the heroine, Miriam Henderson, and readers and critics alike were both bewildered and excited.
Literary biography can be such a depressing genre, although I read it, I realize, to feel vicariously alive, to really immerse myself in a writer’s life. With a female writer, there is usually an extra piece of identification there.
Trinity College Dublin presented Caitríona Ms. Lally last week with the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, one of Ireland’s most prestigious literary honors. The prize committee praised her book, “Eggshells,” as “a work of impressive imaginative reach, witty, subtle and occasionally endearingly unpredictable.” For the past three and a half years, Ms. Lally has worked as a janitor at the college.
Two of the books on many of the best-of-2015 lists were written by women who died in virtual obscurity, Clarice Lispector in 1977 and Lucia Berlin in 2004. How could these gifted writers have been erased from history, so many wondered? We shouldn’t be so surprised. There are many worthy writers languishing in moldy archives, and I would venture to say that the majority of them are women.
During the London Book Fair, an Insight Seminars panel titled Feminist Fairy Tales was packed, but with only a few men in sight.
Tomorrow, June 22, would have been legendary SF novelist and short story writer Octavia Butler’s 72nd birthday. She died in 2006—much too young, at only 58—already a certified genius who had a profound impact on many readers and writers across the world.
When I read that “the traditionally male-dominated world of the thriller” is finally “ceding ground to … a hero(ine),” I wondered what Friedman had been reading for the past 40 years.
It’s hard to blame women writers for trying their hand at the commercial market when the literary one is so inhospitable.
And yet female writers have made recent, compelling interventions into our inherited understanding of how literature should relate to gender. Exhilarating fiction does not, we can be fairly certain, require misogyny.
With the novel so fresh in readers’ minds, they would have to adhere as closely to Lee’s original vision as possible, a goal by all accounts that they would have reached if they hadn’t left out one of the novel’s major themes: Scout’s reluctance to take on the burden of Southern femininity. No surprise, seeing as all of the filmmakers involved in the production were men.
I think it no accident that the myth of the isolated achievement so often promotes women writers’ less good work as their best work.
India’s robust tradition of feminist writers has stood up for the cause and added powerful voices to the movement. Many of the nuances of gender, religion and caste struggle in the Indian context can be understood through the writings of such women.
Once 150 women agreed to let her record their poetry, Past bought property in San Cristobal. She set up a modest workshop there so that she and the women could collaborate. Past would transcribe and translate the recordings, and the women would produce the book using ancient Maya bookbinding techniques.
To mark Kincaid’s birthday—though honestly, this is a gift to all of us, not to her—I’ve collected some of her words of wisdom on how to live well and how best to go about the strange business of being a writer.
It’s a revival of an older form of feminist activism, on the part of publishers, editors, and critics, to find women writers and make their work available to a new readership. It’s in the sheer number and variety of these recovered writers that the real transformation lies: not with the return of a single neglected voice, but with a chorus.
Although the majority of novels published in English are written by women, and the majority of novels are bought by female buyers, at the time we were looking into setting up the Prize fewer than nine percent of books ever shortlisted for major literary prizes were by women.
Seventeen women writers from the gamut of the Tamil literary world have narrated their experiences of how they create a bodyspace in this volume edited by two sensitive, creative writers and critical thinkers based in Chennai.
"By September 1900, Cora Crane was desperate for money. This wasn’t a new state of affairs; there was never enough money, even when her common-law husband Stephen Crane had been alive. But the author of The Red Badge of Courage had been dead for more than three months. There were still some short stories of his left to sell, perhaps a biography of him left to write, but what to do after that?
Men’s writing is just writing and everything else is a sub-classification
"But more often than not, when a woman wins a major literary award, she wins for writing like a male writer, for writing about men, or for setting her work in an unmistakenly masculine environment."
Throughout her life, Oliver’s work attracted Buddhist practitioners and meditators alike. The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of California, San Diego incorporates her poems into its classes.
A new biography of Susan Sontag is set to claim that the American writer was the true author of her first husband Philip Rieff’s seminal work Freud: The Mind of the Moralist.
My favorite books are always widescreen epical things, sagas where people whack other people’s heads off with swords. Very nicely written, with lots of sensory detail. People grow and change, et cetera et cetera. People don’t seem to write books like that about women. And that pissed me off.
Many female writers have adopted male nom de plumes, or otherwise gender-ambiguous pseudonyms, for a number of reasons: to publish without prejudice in male-dominated circles; to experiment with the freedom of anonymity; or to encourage male readership.
These novels don’t imagine spinster life—or widow life, or postmenopausal life—as a tragic footnote; on the contrary, women without men are the luckiest women of all.
Women writers took to Twitter today to call out sexism in their field.
Yaszek seems to want to let the science-fiction community off the hook for not recognizing more women writers, arguing that “the problem was not the reception of women in SF per se, but patterns of sexual discrimination across American culture.” The publication history of SF, however, is very much a history of discrimination and an illuminating case study of how women writers get lost in plain sight.
Naipaul, who has been described as the "greatest living writer of English prose", was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: "I don't think so." Of Austen he said he "couldn't possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world".
I think Lesbian Poetics™ knows that humans who consider themselves women are humans who feel deeply for sleeping volcanoes, know intimately the strength of mountains and the resilience of trees, are curious about what allows certain small creatures to keep surviving.
In a recent speech, the writer Anne Enright, displaying an agility with numbers that could yet see her installed in Carol Vorderman’s old role on Countdown, explored how books by women are rarely reviewed by men, as if it is beneath their dignity, while books by men are appraised by critics of both genders. The implication is that literary editors believe books by male writers express universal concerns while those by women are regarded as much narrower in scope, lacking the subtlety needed to engage the mind of the cerebral male.
The English-language canon clearly affords boys and men the luxury of adventure without women. But it could also mean that culturally, we’ve normalized stories and whole worlds without women, and not the other way around.
Back in July 2018, I decided to make a change to my use of language when it came to promoting my books. Up until that time I had begrudgingly been using terms like “lesfic” and “lesbian fiction” to advertise my books, and myself as an author.