Posts Tagged: women writers

Women, Writing, and Madness

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I found a precedent for girls like me in the work of confessional poets Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. They represented a respectable compromise between “real literature” and my irrepressible tendency to let the personal creep into my writing. I related intensely to the ferocity and focus in their work, but I soon felt the hinges of a trap closing around me.

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Who Really Struggles Here?

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Amy Shearn makes the case for the struggle of author Dorothy Miller Richardson.

As much as I do love my dear prolific weirdo Knausgaard, he hasn’t really done anything all that revolutionary. In fact, exactly a century ago, England saw the beginnings of a similarly expansive novel brimming with what Ben Lerner called Knausgaard’s “radical inclusiveness … style-less style … apparently equal fascination with everything.” And no, I don’t mean Proust or Joyce, although at the time the writer was often mentioned in the same breath.

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Writers for Choice

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When she realized her local Planned Parenthood was struggling to stay open, author and board member Lauren Groff recruited two-dozen other writers to auction off various literary swag in a fundraising event called The Choice Auction. The group, which included acclaimed writers like Roxane Gay, Emma Straub, and Meg Wolitzer, raised over $21,000 for the cause.

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Ladies Are Taking Over Crime

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Laura Miller opines that male-authored crime novels are a bit too predictable. Instead…

 I’ve found instead that the crime novels I open with the keenest anticipation these days are almost always by women. These are books that trespass the established boundaries of their genre, adding a dash — or more than a dash — of fabulism, or lingering over characters who used to serve as the mere furniture of the old-style hard-boiled fiction.

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Maintaining Human Life

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Writing may be hard work, but it isn’t the kind that pays the bills. Tillie Olsen’s seminal Silences wonders just what kind of work writing really is, and who has the privilege to do it:

Though access to education has improved for women and for members of the working class (categories that intersect) the lessons of “Silences” still resonate.

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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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Privilege vs. Privilege

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In an excerpt from her book The Shelf, Phyllis Rose illustrates the systematic dismissal of women writers through the imagined figure of Prospero’s Daughter: wealthy and educated yet burdened by the demands of a family life whose quotidian challenges, having monopolized her time, become central concerns in her work.

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We Respectfully Decline

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At Guernica, Alexandria Peary observes a fine but lethal distinction between being declined and being rejected, a difference that had very real effects on the literary ambitions of nineteenth-century female writers. While to decline a submission implies thoughtful deliberation over that particular work, rejection is an all-encompassing denouncement of something larger: a category or, in this case, a gender:

Women writers in the nineteenth century—when creative writing really got going as a possible profession—faced more rejections than declines, though probably more than a spoonful of dejection.

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What’s Sexist and What’s Not

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Novelist Jennifer Weiner has long been an outspoken critic of literary sexism, vocally demanding respect for herself and other female authors and pushing back against stodgy heavyweights like Jonathan Franzen.

But how much dismissal of Weiner can be attributed to contempt for women’s issues, and how much can be attributed to the fact that her books often have predictable plot arcs and formulaic happy endings?

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Literary Geniuses Say Some Not-So-Genius Things

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In “honor” of David Gilmour’s comments to a Hazlitt interviewer about how he refused to teach books by female authors, Rumpus contributor Michelle Dean rounded up some other literary men’s contributions to the field of misogyny.

From Hemingway blaming all men’s problems on women’s diseased brains to T.

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lucinda r2

Missed #1: The Lucinda Rosenfeld Problem

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In the July 3, 2000 New Yorker, the debut fiction issue, there was a photo of a young woman on the steps of a brownstone. Her story was terrifying, erotic, and not quite like anything I'd read before. Since that story she's published four books. I have read them all with growing puzzlement. My rising discomfort lies in the waning interest in her work. ...more

Even More Barriers to Women Writers’ Success

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It’s not just the frighteningly misogynistic diatribes in the comments section—several other forces conspire to make life harder for female writers and journalists.

For example: “The most successful branded journalists stake out provocative claims frequently and aggressively, without worrying too much about whether they’ll eventually be proved wrong,” but for women, eventually being proven wrong can be a devastating career setback.

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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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