So, do folk think women writers’ themes are trivial and not worthy of prizes?

Interesting discussions going on in the blogosphere.
Publishers Weekly, which is not uninfluential in the business, have named a list of 2009’s best adult books. Not a woman writer in sight. Wow.

Here are some excellent comments about that.
Look here from Lizzie Skurnick and here (Mumpsimus) and here (Tansy Raynor Roberts) and here (Tammie Pierce with a summary of other links). Thanks, Tansy, for the heads up on this one via twitter.)

Honestly, I think they say it all without me commenting as well.

And to young women writers starting out? If you are interested only in praise and money, and aren’t interested in showing the turkeys what you – a woman- can do, use a male pseudonym. Sigh.


So, do folk think women writers’ themes are trivial and not worthy of prizes? — 7 Comments

  1. I didn't know such bias existed in the writing world. Amazing what I learn. I would add you, Karen Miller and Elizabeth Moon to the lists if I had the power.

  2. This argument has been popping up fairly regularly the last year or so and as depressing as many of the responses on public sites continue to be, positive action seems to be resulting from it, and that can only be a good thing.

    I'm curious Glenda, did your editor/publisher rep ever sit down with you and discuss what name you were going to publish under?

  3. Hendo, I put my married name on my first book: Glenda Noramly. No discussion. Then, when the next book was picked up by Harper Voyager, the editor suggested a name change because she said Noramly was too difficult to remember. So I reverted to my maiden name, which in hindsight I should have used from the beginning.

    That was the extent of the discussion.

    I think the alarming thing about this discussion on women's writing is the extent to which intelligent people of both genders still have knee jerk reactions to gender differences. Myself included. After all these years, there are STILL times when I find myself paying more attention to a man simply on the basis of his gender. Its weird. And worrying.

    I wonder if one could produce 10 good but totally unknown books from somewhere, remove all evidence of the writer, give them to people of both genders and ask whether it was a man or a woman who wrote them…what would happen?

    I just read "The Secret Scriptures" by Sebastian Barry – excellent read, but even with the guy's name on the cover, I kept on feeling that it was written by a woman. Strange.

  4. I feel sorry for those readers with pre-concieved ideas that females are incapable of writing great SFF stories.

    Admittedly, some writers specifically target their own gender for readership but the majority (of both genders) write stories that can entertain all readers.

    I like the idea of a blind test for authorship of a new book.
    If I hadn't known beforehand, I would swear that "The Sword of Shadows' series by J.V. Jones was written by a male.

  5. I think that's one reason, Peter, why some women only use their initials or chose a neutral name, as Robin Hobb has done.

  6. There's a couple of men out there writing successful urban fantasies and even romances, who are using androgynous names, too.

    It's a sad comment on societal norms, I think. I hope its not hard wiring!!

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