In the media is a weekly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous week and I think are insightful, interesting and/or thought-provoking. Linking to them is not necessarily a sign that I agree with everything that’s said but it’s definitely an indication that they’ve made me think. Also, just a note to make it clear that I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as traditional media are likely.
It’s been a bumper week for articles by/about female writers, particularly those concerning what it means to be a female writer and why reading books by women is so undervalued.
- Sam Mills, author of The Quiddity of Will Self, wrote an outstanding essay for The Weaklings titled Literary Luminaries: Gender and the Avant-Garde Novelist. It comes in two parts, Beards vs Vaginas and Read Women and contains some of the best points I’ve read on why the establishment doesn’t like avant-garde female writers.
- Robin Black wrote about learning to spell women’s names while men buy my new book for their wives on the Read Her Like an Open Book blog. Interestingly I hadn’t come across this blog before. It’s run by Bill Wolfe who only reads books written by women.
- And two pieces on crime fiction. The first is an old piece but well worth a read if you haven’t seen it before, Eve Seymour on Women Writers, Women’s Books on why she chose to write behind a male pseudonym and Laura Miller in Slate on why today’s most exciting crime novelists are women.
I think we’re all very aware of what my feelings are on female writers and this year’s Man Booker Prize but here’s Antonia Honeywell with her thoughts written just prior to the revealing of the shortlist. (Antonia’s blog which features a countdown to the publication of her debut novel, The Ship, is also well worth a read. In this month’s piece it’s about the years of writing it took to finally hold the proof of her novel.)
Ali Smith was one of two women lucky enough to make the Booker shortlist this year. Here’s a great piece she wrote for Liberty on D.H. Lawrence and fraudulent transactions.
Twice winner of the Booker Hilary Mantel’s also been in the media this week in preparation for the publication of her latest short story collection, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. She took The Guardian’s Q&A seemingly with tongue very firmly in cheek.
While the previously shortlisted Sarah Waters has been further discussing her latest novel, The Paying Guests. *MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT* Anna Carey has posted outtakes from her Irish Times interview with Waters on her blog. If you haven’t read the book, this will ruin it completely. If you have read the book, it’s very interesting.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be chosen for a list, there’s a good piece by Julie Cohen on Women Writers, Women’s Books on being chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club. (If you’re not in the UK, you might not have come across this but it is huge here.)
A writer who’s no stranger to lists, Kerry Hudson – it’d be quicker to type the prizes her debut Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma wasn’t listed for – was on writerstories.tv discussing her excellent second novel, Thirst, why she established The Womentoring Project and working class characters in literature.
Her characters do unlikeable things sometimes and anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I like characters who do unlikeable thinks or are wholly unlikeable. Nathan Pensky has written about readers who don’t like books with unlikeable characters for Electric Literature. Interestingly, almost all of the writers he looks at are female.
Finally, this week’s lists. Another three excellent ones to have a look at:
- Writer Lynn Kanter has started blogging about 30 Women Novelists she thinks you should know. She’s up to number four as I write this.
- Crime writer Sarah Hilary has complied her favourite crime fiction books of 2014.
- Dea Brøvig, author of The Last Boat Home, has compiled the best books about mothers.