Women underrepresented as reviewers and authors in literary magazines


Men vast majority of reviewers, authors in Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books

A survey of literary magazines by VIDA has revealed that men outnumber women in literary magazines, both as book reviewers and published authors.

I’ve posted their piecharts for overall representation of male and female writers in the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books above, but you can scroll through VIDA’s full results here.

Discussions have been raging in comments at the Rumpus about whether the disparity is caused by women not submitting enough to literary journals, but as one commenter, Brian Spears, added to the thread:

The thing these numbers can do, if nothing else, is awaken the editors of these journals to the fact that they’re so strongly skewed toward male writers. Ideally, an editor would see these numbers and think “what can I do to change this” rather than looking for reasons/excuses, even legitimate ones, for why the situation is the way it is. Unfortunately, I think we’re more likely to see the latter than the former.

I wonder if the results will be discussed next week, at the ICA’s Novel Women talk? (Which I spotted via Sarah Barnes at Uplift! this morning.)

Women dominate both behind the scenes, in publishing, and at the checkout, in fiction sales. So why is it that when it comes to lists and prizes, novels by men dominate? We no longer have the term ‘authoress’ or ‘poetess’, but we still have ‘the woman novelist’. Are chick lit and commercial women’s fiction named as such, and looked down upon, because they are genres dominated by and thought to be inherently female? What gets reviewed and by whom? What gets read and by whom? What is regarded as significant and event-worthy – and by whom? And why are we still having these conversations in 2010?

For this and more come and hear Kate Mosse, best-selling author and co-founder of the Orange Prize for Fiction, Lennie Goodings, publisher at iconic women’s imprint Virago Press, Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC and Orange and Samuel Johnson prizes judge, Antonia Byatt, Director of Literature at the Arts Council and former Director of the Women’s Library, and Professor Mary Evans researcher in literature and gender at the Gender Institute.

(Via Alas, A Blog)