Chick lit

Majority of literary coverage heavily male-centered, says Vida

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Despite the popularity of female authors like Karen Russell, Donna Tartt, and Chimamanda Adichie, a new study has revealed that most publications focus their literary criticism on men, and with mostly male reviewers. In Britain, women purchase two-thirds of the books sold, but the London Review of Books spotlighted 527 male critics and authors last year, and only 151 women. “Absolutely there is still this gender bias inherent in literary magazines,” said Vida co-founder Erin Belieu. “We are talking about people who have done things a certain way for many years and literary magazines tend to be places where one vision gets put forward and even commissioning editors can get trapped in this culture.” But the study also shows a gradual shift in attitudes, as some publications are slowly striving to strike a balance. At Tin House, the only major literary magazine with more content by women, editor Rob Spillman said they’re “hyper-vigilant” to provide fair coverage. They keep a tally of their writers’ genders, seek out female contributors, and discuss the need for more female voices in editorial meetings. “There’s no point in throwing your hands up and saying you believe in gender equality,” said Spillman. “You actually have to go out and look for it.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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