In the Media: December 2018

It’s over eighteen months since I last posted an In the Media round-up. For those of you who are new to the blog, the idea’s a fairly simple one: I post links to interesting pieces by or about female writers that have appeared in the media (online) over the past few weeks. Previously this feature had a schedule. Initially it was weekly, then fortnightly and it always went up on a Sunday evening. However, my life has changed enormously in the last eighteen months: my marriage ended, I moved house, I turned 40 (and then 41), I left my regular job and went freelance, I started working for a literary festival, I went through a divorce. It has been, as the phrase goes, a lot. It has also changed how I read, what I read and what I choose not to read and, of course, this is going to impact on how I curate this feature.

Since I decided to bring In the Media back, I’ve been thinking about what I want it to be. On a practical level, it has to be condensed. As much as I would love to continue featuring all the work I come across by female writers, without a regular salary, I can’t afford the time it takes to compile something of that size. I’ve also pretty much stopped reading the news. As someone who’s been a news addict since 9/11, it’s been a big change for me but one that’s been so much easier to adhere to than I anticipated. I couldn’t continue being gaslighted on a daily basis and reading constant speculation on what might or might not happen at some undetermined date. What I’ve found is that I’m drawn to long form pieces in which there’s an exploration of something, whether that’s an aspect of someone’s life, a reflection on current society or an in-depth profile or interview. I want to be made to think and think deeply. What I’m most interested in is how we’re negotiating life now. The stories we’re telling about our lives, our society. Writing as resistance, as action, as a means of taking up space.

I think what I’m trying to say is In the Media will run when I can manage, with articles I really love, for all the reasons stated above.

Image from Time

This week’s big book news is that Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Called The Testaments, it’s due to be published in September 2019. In The Guardian, Stephanie Merritt argues Margaret Atwood is right to have the last word on The Handmaid’s Tale, while on Electric Literature, Carrie V. Mullins says Please, Margaret Atwood, Don’t Write a Sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

In other book news:

Personal essays/memoir:

Feminism:

Society:

Film, Television, Music, Art, Fashion and Sport:

The interviews/profiles:

  • Madeline Lucas profiles Brigid Hughes, the first female editor of the Paris Review, on Literary Hub
  • Lila Shapiro interviews N.K. Jemisin, the only writer to win the Hugo Award for best novel in three consecutive years, on Vulture
  • Jennifer Baker interviews Chaya Bhuvaneswar on Electric Literature

In the Media, December 2015

In the media is a fortnightly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous fortnight 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. I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as traditional media are likely and the categories used are a guide, not definitives.

This fortnight’s mostly been about end of year lists. Last year I linked to those that were gender balanced but this year I gave up counting after the first two, deciding it was a futile endeavour. Having said that, Sarah Seltzer says , ‘White Men Are the Minority on This Year’s Biggest Book Lists‘ on Flavorwire and there was some excitement around a new ‘Best UK novels’ list commissioned by the BBC. On The Pool, Lynn Enright said ‘Women writers dominate the top spots in list of best British novels‘. Which they do but the list as a whole isn’t balanced and it’s dominated by Nineteenth Century novels.

A fortnight ago I was going to begin this piece by mentioning The Good Immigrant an essay collection being published by Unbounders which means it needed crowdfunding. It includes essays by Chimene Suleyman, Bim Adewumni, Salena Godden, Sabrina Mahfouz, Coco Khan, Sarah Sahim and Reni Eddo Lodge and was fully funded in three days, partly thanks to JK Rowling. You can read about what an excellent person she is and what a great collection it sounds in The Guardian. And you can still contribute to the funding.

Clare Vaye Watkins essay ‘On Pandering’ is still being discussed. She talks about it further (with Marlon James) on NPR. Anne Boyd Rioux responded with ‘A Brief History of Pandering‘ on The Rumpus. Aya de Leon responded initially with ‘“On Pandering” and Subversive Revelations of Female Insecurity‘ and then to Marlon James’ Guardian conversation with ‘On Pandering, White Women as Scapegoats, and the Literary Industry as a Hand-Me-Down‘ on her blog, while Dreda Say Mitchell replied with ‘Black authors don’t write only for white women‘ in the Guardian.

In prize news, Sarah Howe won the resurrected Young Writer of the Year Award for her poetry collection Loop of Jade. She’s profiled in The Sunday Times (£) and interviewed on Bookanista and The Workshy Fop. And the Saltire Society Literary Award was announced with wins for Helen McClory, Patricia Andrew and Tanja Bueltmann.

The best of the rest:

On or about books/writers/language:

Personal essays/memoir:

Feminism:

Society and Politics:

Film, Television, Music, Art and Fashion:

The interviews:

The regular columnists: