So you want to be a writer?

Well, we have some bad news for you. Ladies, if you’ve ever dreamed about winning a prize for your literary master piece, we’re going to need you to remember something; Don’t write about women. Unless, that is, you’re a man. And that may be a little difficult to do, seeing as if you’re a woman, you can’t really be a man.

A recent study by English-American novelist, Nicole Griffith reveals that books about women don’t win big awards. The results were revealed after analyzing some of the most prestigious literary awards, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award to name a few.

”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” the writer stated on her blog.

The post caused quite an uproar from writers all over the world. Each of them took the opportunity to look through their country’s prize lists and unfortunately found similar results.

Well, what about Canada? You may have heard about two female literary icons by the name of Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood. It must be comforting to know we give women the voice they deserve. However, when Maclean’s looked at Canada’s major prizes (Scotiabank Giller, Governor General’s, Rogers/Writers’ Trust) the results were, well, ”Canadian” as Maclean’s put it. The trends were visible but not as pronounced. 26 men and 20 women were handed awards, meaning the raw male-female ratio was better than in the U.S. (Yay?)

The solution to this problem is simple; change it. ”The best way to get decision makers to start taking some remedial action where required is to figuratively smack them around the head with indisputable detailed and in-depth analysis.” Griffith suggests. It’s important to raise awareness of these issues using data and facts. Once we start realizing that discrimination exists, there will be the urge to make changes.

Ideas have already started circulating on the web. One publisher responded with a pledge to accept no books from male writers for a year. Another argued that is time for everyone, male and female, to sign up to a concerted campaign to redress the inequality.


What are some of your ideas? Comment below and let us know!

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