BookMachine | Authorship versus content representation: What’s the way forward for equality?

BookMachine_logoThis fortnight for BookMachine, I just had to jump on the Kamila Shamsie train, and because I believe that content is king (call me naive!) I had to put in my pennyworth about female protagonists. Read the full article on the BookMachine blog, or get started right here:

Just over a week ago, author Kamila Shamsie spoke out publically, including in The Guardian and The Bookseller, proposing that 2018 should become the Year of Publishing Women (YPM), in order to help counterbalance the prevalent gender bias in Publishing towards male authors.

Why is YPW needed?

Much focus has been cast, especially in recent years, on literary prizes tending to favour male writers as winners. One of the most closely scrutinised prizes on this front has been the Man Booker Prize. Last year, it came under criticism once again when, on a longlist of 13 titles, only three were written by women. Though the Booker’s judging chairs are normally held by men, the panels themselves tend to be fairly evenly mixed between the genders. Yet, even an unbiased judging panel can only deal with the books submitted to them and that’s where the problem lies.

In the last five years, slightly under 40% of the submissions to the Booker have been written by women, that’s 20% less than submissions of books written by men. Interestingly, however, female writers have won exactly 40% of the prizes, so it is safe to assume that percentage of female winners would rise in response to more submissions written by women.

There can be no argument that this ratio is certainly better than it used to be, helped by movements such as the inception of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 20 years ago in response to a one memorably all-male Booker shortlist, but it is still nowhere near equal. [READ MORE]