Kirsten Tranter


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I’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day, March 8, with a round of events discussing gender and writing. The Stella Prize, a new annual prize for Australian women’s writing, is organizing a series of events around the country for IWD, addressing the question of whether men write differently than women.

The author V.S.Naipaul provided his own answer to this question last year when he said that he felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

So that’s one answer. We will hopefully be examining some more complex responses to this question, and others that flow from it. Do we judge writing by women differently than writing by men? Why do these questions matter right now for readers and writers, reviewers and judges?

On March 7, I’ll be chairing a discussion at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt at 7:30 pm with literary agent Sophie Hamley; author Lenny Bartulin; author, blogger & editor Jane-Gleeson-White; and novelist & awesome feminist critic Emily Maguire. There will be refreshments, ie wine, and generous discounts on books on the night. Find the event on Facebook here.

On March 8, I’ll be in conversation at Sydney Library at lunchtime, 12:30 with Pip Smith, who organizes the Penguin Plays Rough readings series, talking about the Stella Prize. More details here.

And then up to Katoomba and the devastatingly elegant Carrington Hotel Ballroom, where I’ll be chairing another discussion, this time with the crime novelist Tara Moss, author Claire Corbett, and Elizabeth Lhuede, founder of the Australian Women Writers website and Reading Challenge. That’s at 6pm, and there will be books for sale and authors sticking around to sign them. We’re on Facebook here.

Details for all these events and more taking place in other cities around Australia can be found here at the Stella site. Please join us and be part of the conversation.

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