Saturday, March 03, 2018

On the same page?

Women remain underrepresented and/or underacknowledged in plenty of spheres (such as music - hence the PRS Foundation's Keychange scheme) but what about the literary world? The stats paint a complicated picture, suggesting that male authors are more likely to win awards and receive reviews in literary publications and that male protagonists are far more common, but also that female authors dominate the bestselling novel lists.

Perhaps that explains the mixed reaction to the decision of Sheffield-based imprint And Other Stories to publish only women writers this year, inspired by novelist Kamila Shamsie's proposal for "a concerted campaign to redress the inequality". Some have criticised the decision, suggesting that positive discrimination is problematic and that there should be a more celebratory focus on successful female authors instead. If Shamsie's correct and there is indeed an imbalance, though, then there's nothing to say that such a campaign couldn't adopt both approaches simultaneously in an attempt to overcome it.

No comments: