When I read the following piece, I immediately got in touch with the author, Nicola Griffith. She generously allowed me to republish the first half of it here. It illustrates precisely why Not a Pipe Publishing accepted Kamila Shamsie's challenge to make 2018 The Year of Publishing Women, and why it's a shame that more publishing houses won't make the same commitment. Of course, when margins are thin, publishing companies aren't going to leave money on the table. But it's just that attitude - that male authors or books about male protagonists are more likely to get reviews, win awards, and sell books - which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is no easy fix to the challenge of representation. A book is not inherently more worthy because it's been written by a woman or a person of color or a person with a disability or a person who is LGBTQA or a person who is a migrant or a religious minority. Some are worse than books written by boring old cis straight white guys like me, and a lot are better. But the whole multiverse of our stories is a shallow and stagnant puddle if it is not constantly replenished with the ocean of stories all of us can bring to it. Thanks to Nicola Griffith for running the numbers to illustrate that we still have a long way to go when it comes to recognizing women's voices when we decide which books are most praise-worthy. Next year, Not a Pipe Publishing will be releasing six or seven titles (a significant undertaking for a company our size). Our male authors, Kurt Clopton, Jason Brick, and I will be working on our own projects for 2019. 2018 belongs to our female authors, to Mikko Azul and Sang Kromah and M.K. Martin and Heather S. Ransom and more (announcements to come!), and I'm bouncing up and down in my chair just thinking about the about the quality of the stories they will be sharing with the world. -Benjamin Gorman]
BOOKS ABOUT WOMEN DON’T WIN BIG AWARDS: SOME DATA
When women win literary awards for fiction it’s usually for writing from a male perspective and/or about men. The more prestigious the award, the more likely the subject of the narrative will be male.
I analysed the last 15 years’ results for half a dozen book-length fiction awards: Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics’ Circle Award, Hugo Award, and Newbery Medal.
* Note: the headline to this graph is wrong. It should read 2000-2014. When I have time I’ll redo the graph and/or amend the headline. Meanwhile, thanks to Liza.