Boys club

Books about women don’t win awards

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Novelist Nicola Griffith always had a hunch that stories about women or girls are rarely awarded with major literary prizes, so she wanted to back that theory up with data. “I’ve been counting, subconsciously then consciously, for 20 years when I was first published and started to see how skewed the playing field was,” Griffith told Fusion. So she published the data on her blog, revealing that, regardless of the author’s gender, literary juries overwhelmingly award their prizes to stories about men and boys. The Pulitzer prize for example — arguably America’s most prestigious prize for literary fiction — has not been awarded to a book about women and girls in the last 15 years. Looking at the data for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and the Hugo Award (given for science fiction and fantasy) in the last 15 years, she found very similar results. The one notable exception was the Newberry Award—an award honoring children’s books—which showed pretty much even numbers between male and female protagonists. “Stories matter,” Griffith said, explaining why we should care about the disparity. “If more than half human perspective isn’t being heard, then we are half what we could be. Stories subtly influence attitudes … If women’s perspectives aren’t folded into the mix, attitudes don’t move with the whole human race — just half of it.”

Read the full story at Fusion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *