Gender Bias in Book Awards


Women are winning fewer book prizes than men. And narratives about women don’t fair as well when it comes to prestigious prizes either. In fact, looking at the data, the most likely to win a prize are books by men, about men and boys. As Sarah Seltzer points out at Flavorwire, its all part of a larger cultural trend among literary critics that favors male authors and male-centric narratives:

One of the social trends feminist critics of the current literary culture have long decried is that stories about women, no matter how they’re written or packaged, are too often seen as a special interest, something that would appeal only to women readers, while male-penned books about men are treated as “universal.” There is a smart argument to be made that says that old dynamic is changing, but clearly the prizes don’t yet reflect any sort of major change.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →