Saturday, 19 April 2008

A member of my UK book swap site (ReaditSwapit) raised a question of which gender writer did you prefer. Naturally this generally gave rise to good liberal platitudes of reading books for the content and of being gender blind when choosing books.

But I think its one of those questions that you have to actually check what you read and have on your shelves rather then assume. Being a leftie of long standing, I would say that its the book and its content that interest me and the gender of the writer is of no or limited interest, As they say a lovely theory ruined by the facts. In checking my TBR piles of 782 only around 10% of them were women writers!!!!

So how do I explain this clear gender bias? Well I don't read much genre literature except for SF which will tend to have a male writer bias. I tend to read a lot of foreign and cult books and only a handful of foreign books get translated in to English so I suspect a gender bias creeps in here. And looking at my rough guide to cult fiction book less then 5% are women authors. Another strand of my reading is cutting edge literature as say in the Pen-Faulkner award which has been running since 1981(see the link below if interested) and from 1981 to 1996 it looks like around only 30% were women writers.

So what does the evidence of your bookshelves and TBR really reveal rather then your intentions?

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, mostly men. Looking at my LibraryThing author cloud, Ursula K. Le Guin stands out as the biggest of all authors, but rest... really mostly men. Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Patricia McKillip, Johanna Sinisalo, that's pretty much it.

    But for me it's a question of reading mostly science fiction.


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