Like many writers unhappy about the recent underrepresentation of women authors on the top-books-of-the-year lists, I've joined in the She Writes Day of Action. Below is a short post I wrote for the She Writes Blog:
On the whole, it’s been a pretty good year for women in literature: Huerta Mueller won the Nobel; Hilary Mantel the Booker, Annette Gordon-Reed the National Book Award, and Elizabeth Strout the Pulitzer. We appear to have come "a long way, baby" since the days when Nathaniel Hawthorne declared that “[a]ll women, as authors, are feeble and tiresome” and Norman Mailer wrote “[t]he sniffs I get from the ink of women are always fey, old-bat, Quaintsy, Gaysy, tiny, too dykily psychotic.” (Too dykily psychotic?) And yet no women are included in the PW top-ten list? Only eight on Newsweek 50 books list of “What to Read Now” this summer? And Amazon, in its “Best Books of the Year” includes only two books written by women in the top ten – both sporting male protagonists—and in its longer list of 100 books includes more than three times as many books written by men as by women?
In the spirit of the She Writes Day of Action, I added to my bookshelves full of terrific books by women another two - both published in 2009 - which I've heard terrific things about: Jane Gardam's The Man in the Wooden Hat, and Stephanie Kallos's Sing Them Home. I hope everyone I know is doing the same! - Meg