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.
Is anyone else aware there’s a film version of Gone Girl out this week? Love it or loathe it, you certainly can’t miss it. Gillian Flynn’s been interviewed by Emma Brockes in The Guardian and told Vulture about 21 Things that Influenced her books. Erin Kelly wrote in the Telegraph about Why we are all in the grip of suburban noir, while Stylist ran some Words of Wisdom from History’s Greatest Female Crime Writers and Vulture ran a list of Seven Books to Scratch Your Gone Girl Itch which are not what you might expect (I’ve reviewed four and have two of the remaining three on my TBR).
Also having a moment is Jane Eyre and her creator Charlotte Brontë partly due to The Secret Life of Books‘ episode dedicated to the book last week. Presenter of that episode, Bidisha, wrote a piece telling us Beware Your Classic Heroines as they might not be all you thought they were. Pam McIlroy wrote Is Jane Eyre passive or strong? in reaction to the programme. While Claire Hayes wrote about rereading and rethinking Jane Eyre as part of the Massive Open Online Course she’s taking. And if you can’t stand Jane Eyre (just me?), here’s Lucy Hughes-Hallet’s piece from earlier in the year about Why Villette is better.
Lots this week about gender parity or, more specifically, the lack of it. Anne Boyd Rioux wrote on her blog about the Challenge to a (Woman) Writer’s Credibility following the Washington Post’s review of Karen Abbott’s Liar Temptress Soldier Spy and on The Millions asked Is There No Gender Equity in Nonfiction? (I don’t need to remind you not to read the comments on that one, do I?) Rebecca Winson from For Books’ Sake wrote in the TES about their Balance the Books campaign, to challenge the gender divide on the new UK GCSE specifications. While Elisabeth Donnelly wrote on Flavorwire about the difference between Lena Dunham and Aziz Ansari’s Million Dollar Book Deals.
(Portrait by Jay Grabiec )
Talking of Lena Dunham (and other current high profile feminists), she’s still big news this week following the publication of her book. Roxane Gay interviewed her on Vulture and posted the outtakes. While the New York Times ran a piece on how she was turning her book tour into ‘a Literary Circus’. While the LA Times linked her with Laurie Penny to discuss how they are ‘rewriting womanhood for the 21st Century‘. Standard Issue interviewed Penny while the TLS ran a piece discussing Penny’s book alongside Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism and The Vagenda titled ‘Modern Sexism‘. And as I’ve mentioned Gay, I’m very excited by the news that The Toast have hired her to run their new sister site ‘The Butter’.
In translated literature news, there’s a great portrait of Russian writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya in The New Yorker and a piece on Chinese Women Writers by Chialin Yu on Women Writers, Women’s Books. Still the Elena Ferrante pieces continue: there’s a podcast on The New Yorker about her mysterious power and Kat Stoeffel has a girl-crush on her on The Cut. While there’s an extract of Catherine Bessonart’s forthcoming novel And if, at Notre Dame, by night, translated by Louise LaLaurie on French Culture. All the more interesting for having the original text alongside the translation. And finally, Sal Robinson at Melville House commented on the possibility of a Women in Translation prize.
I never mention poetry. It’s not because I don’t enjoy it, more that I don’t feel even vaguely qualified to talk about it. However, I’m changing that as of this week (talking about it, that is). Poet of the moment, Kate Tempest is in The Guardian talking about how rapping changed her life. This fantastic poem, Leak by Lauren Levin in The Brooklyn Rail is well worth a read. While Patience Agbabi performs the Prologue from her reworking of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
If you prefer prose, Lionel Shriver emerged as the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, you can read ‘Kilifi Creek‘ on The Guardian site; Hilary Mantel’s ‘The Long QT‘ from The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher; the opening of Marilynne Robinson’s new novel ‘Lila’ on the Virago Books, or Bidisha’s new novel-length fiction work Esha Ex on her blog.
The best of the rest articles:
- Jenny Diski’s second entry in her cancer diary in the LRB.
- Olivia Laing on Loneliness on Aeon (very late to this but it’s excellent).
- Alissa Nutting’s favourite bar on The Millions.
- Ruth Ozeki on buddhism and her writing on The Dish.
- Kate Mayfield on death on gransnet.
- Emma Claire Sweeney on the friendship between Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on Something Rhymed.
- Kate Mosse on taxidermy in the Daily Express.
- Stella Duffy on the Tories ‘Aspiration Suffocation’ (older but very worth it, as is anything Duffy writes) on her blog.
- Rob Hardy on Nicola Griffith’s Hild and female identity on The Critical Flame.
- Rebecca Makkai on Literary Mansplaining on Read Her Like an Open Book.
- Elisabeth Donnelly on Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped and Ferguson on Flavorwire.
And the interviews:
- Marilynne Robinson in the New York Times.
- Kathleen Founds on Electric Literature.
- Caitlin Moran in US Cosmopolitan where she discusses THAT tweet.
- Jesmyn Ward (again) discussing Salvage the Bones on Writers & Company.
- S.D. Sykes on Rebecca Mascull’s blog (which made me even more desperate to read Sykes’ novel).
- Edna O’Brien in The Independent.
- Rivka Galchen on Poets & Writers.
- R.J. Palaccio on The Guardian Children’s Books’ Podcast.
This week’s lists:
- The Best Sentences from Debo Mitford’s Wait for Me! on The Toast.
- Flavorwire’s 10 Must Read Books for October.
- Bustle’s October’s Best Books.
- Seven Japanese Authors to Read (who aren’t Haruki Murakami) on BookRiot.
And my favourite pieces this week:
- Anne Booth on burning books and why tackling the darkest corners of society in books is important.
- Zadie Smith ‘Find Your Beach‘ on the limitless mind and Manhattan.
- The new edition of Five Dials magazine, the second part of the #ReadWomen2014 edited edition. A smorgasbord of fiction and non-fiction pieces.
- Marina Benjamin on her changing relationship with her daughter in Aeon.
- Susan Minot on the Brown sisters’ Forty Portraits in Forty Years.