Kirsten Tranter
  • Archives
  • March17th

    The Legacy is one of two debut novels included on the longlist for the Miles Franklin award, released today. Read The Sun Herald’s coverage here.

  • March8th

    I wrote a brief essay for The Wheeler Centre blog on the under-representation of women in the literary pages: read it here. Also it has a really cool photo illustration. Please join the conversation already beginning in the comments there.

  • March2nd

    Dear Luke,
    I have enjoyed reading the ALR since you took over as editor, but I
    have been troubled by the small number of women writing for the
    publication, and also by the number of books by women that are
    reviewed compared with books by men. A glance at today’s content
    reveals a typical line up of contributors and coverage: two women
    writers contributing, and one book by a woman reviewed.
    A US organisation of women writers called VIDA recently published the
    results of a survey of how many women write for, and are reviewed in,
    major literary publications in the US and UK, including the Times
    Literary Supplement
    , the London Review of Books, and The New Republic.
    The numbers are staggering, and for women writers (and readers too),
    discouraging. For instance, The New York Review of Books published 79
    women and 462 men, and reviewed books by 59 women and 306 men; The
    Times Literary Supplement
    published 378 women and 1075 men and
    reviewed books by 330 women and 1036 men; The Paris Review interviewed
    one woman author and seven men.
    Most surveyed publications all showed a similar bias. Their editors
    have been mostly defensive on the questions raised by these
    statistics, and in some cases have blamed presses for not publishing
    enough books by women (The New Republic), or claimed that women do not
    read the kind of books that can be taken seriously by serious
    publications (TLS), or that women writers pitch less to editors (a
    common claim across the board).
    I know the situation isn’t impossible: I published a novel last year
    that was reviewed in the ALR, and I published an essay in ALR in 2008
    about the Harry Potter novels –  which are written by a woman, and not
    the sort of fiction that is normally taken seriously by the literary
    world. But clearly I am the exception to the rule in this respect.
    In their presentation of the survey, the VIDA board says this: “The
    truth is, these numbers don’t lie. But that is just the beginning of
    this story. What, then, are they really telling us?”
    Surely, not only women but men who care about writing and more
    broadly, a more just and equal world, too, ought to be disturbed. What
    do these numbers tell us? What is to be done about it? I’m interested
    in your perspective on this imbalance and how it can be addressed.
    Kirsten Tranter