Posts Tagged: VIDA

BinderCon: A Symposium on Women Writers Today

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Mitt Romney ignited a feminist revolution during the 2012 presidential debates when he said, “I went to a number of women’s groups and said: ‘Can you help us find folks?’ And they brought us whole binders full of women.”

Throw VIDA’s pie charts highlighting “gender disparity in major literary publications and book reviews” into the mix, and you’ll grasp the necessity of Out of the Binders, a two-day solution/conference at NYU of workshops and panels “on/for/by women in the literary arts and film/TV” (which is probably you if you’re reading this post), aimed ”to empower women and gender non-conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers” (and enhance cup size).

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VIDA Launches Roundtable Discussion Series

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VIDA is launching a new roundtable discussion series on issues in writing by women on June 2nd at Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan. The event is the first of a series that will take place every fall and winter/spring. This time, they conversation centers on how women write about other women, featuring a panel including Jill Lepore, Rebecca Mead, Salamishah Tillet, and Ruth Franklin.

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Art is What We Buy

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Literature and commercial publishing have a diversity problem. People of color and women are both in short supply. Rumpus contributor Daniel Peña, writing at Plougshares, offers a market-based explanation:

But I wonder how much these problems stem not from MFA whiteness, or the MFA system, or even publishing at large, but from the very narratives we crave—white, middle-to-upper brow, predominately heteronormative.

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A Book Review Column That Isn’t All About White Men

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As VIDA’s annual stats have made very clear, most publications favor male writers reviewing books by other male writers.

Our inimitable essays editor Roxane Gay has also talked about the lack of representation of writers of color in many publications.

Ron Hogan, who runs the literary website Beatrice, wants to help change that by starting a new book-review column that intentionally focuses on the work of a diverse range of authors.

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NYRB Joins LRB in Hole, Helps Keep Digging

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As we’ve documented pretty extensively before, arts organization VIDA has done a lot to expose gender inequality in the writing world with its annual count comparing female bylines to male ones in a number of publications.

The New York Review of Books‘ ratio has been less than stellar for the past three years, with female reviewers and female authors reviewed never rising above 20% of the total.

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Props from a Fellow Funny Woman

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Poet, memoirist, and Beat figure Hettie Jones is, like most of us, unhappy about sexism in the publishing industry.

In a blog post on the subject, she discusses VIDA statistics, Deborah Copaken Kogan’s Nation essay, and (drumroll!) Elissa Bassist’s amazing Funny Women essay “Writing the Next Great American Woman’s Novel.”

Jones calls Bassist’s humor “indelible” and ties it into the “frustratingly sad” larger picture.

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Making VIDA Count

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We reached out to several of the worst offenders to ask where they thought they had gone wrong…but got very little in the way of responses. So we decided, instead, to reach out to the editors of the publications that actually had managed to show a relatively gender-equitable byline distribution in 2012.

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Percival Everett on Franzen, Sexism and The Great American Novel

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“I do not believe that apparent authoritative literary voices of validation would ever make such a grand claim about a novel written by a woman.  I say this because I believe there are many novels by women that are about the same sort of world as presented in Freedom.  Sadly, the culture usually calls these books domestic or family sagas.  Are the novels of Anne Tyler, Marilynne Robinson and Mona Simpson any less white and middle “American” than Franzen”

At VIDA, author Percival Everett explores the big assumptions and unpsoken prejudices behind Great American Novels (like Freedom.) (Via)

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