No Women Writers In PW Top 10
Thursday, 5 November 2009
The newest issue of Publishers Weekly had their popular feature of the years top 10 best books. Only problem for them; not one woman writer was featured on the list. The male-dominated list has caused an uproar from women’s literary groups everywhere.
Cate Marvin, a leading founder of such a group, said, “It continues to surprise me that literary editors are so comfortable with their bias toward male writing, despite the great and obvious contributions that women authors make to our contemporary literary culture.”
Louisa Ermelino, the reviews director of Publishers Weekly, wrote in the magazine, “It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male.”
I’m not sure this is a big deal. It’s slightly melodramatic to attempt to argue sexism in this case. The magazine’s rankings are admittedly subjective, but that doesn’t mean there’s any discrimination involved. Blatantly subjective rankings are often the most diverse rankings of all. Especially for a literature magazine.
In fact, last year’s top ten had multiple female writers. Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News? was ranked first on the list. There’s not really an argument here. Minorities that become outraged over such minor events frustrate me beyond belief. No, not because I’m a white male. It’s just a lot of trouble for nothing.
In other news, for those readers who care, here’s the top 10 list. It’s actually not bad.
Cheever: A Life
Blake Bailey (Knopf)
Await Your Reply
Dan Chaon (Ballantine)
A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon
Neil Sheehan (Random House)
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Daniyal Mueenuddin (Norton)
Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
Richard Holmes (Pantheon)
David Small (Norton)
Shop Class as Soulcraft
Matthew B. Crawford (Penguin Press)
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
Geoff Dyer (Pantheon)
Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
David Grann (Doubleday)
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