Literary Cooties

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A recent study by author Nicola Griffith reveals that books written about men were more likely to win major literary prizes over the last fifteen years than books written about women. During this timeframe, 12 Man Booker Prize winners and 10 National Book Award winners were primarily about men or boys. Griffith writes:

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, when it comes to literary prizes, the more prestigious, influential and financially remunerative the award, the less likely the winner is to write about grown women. Either this means that women writers are self-censoring, or those who judge literary worthiness find women frightening, distasteful, or boring. Certainly the results argue for women’s perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy. Women seem to have literary cooties…


Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →