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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Women Writing Big Books

A piece in the New York Times Book Review lamented that women are not taken seriously in the Big Book arena. That men are given preferential treatment for the literary heavyweight title and that women are relegated to relationship novels. I can see why some people may think this way but certainly as a male writer of literary fiction I sometimes wish I were a woman. Why? Because women read fiction and it would seem a natural fit for editors to choose a book by a woman over a man.

I get the top of the mountain stuff for the Big Book. I think it is probably given over to men in some way. Can a woman bring the world view into the Big Book that is required for someone to say...now there is a great literary novel that sums it all up. I would say yes, but that is sort of esoteric coin of the realm stuff. Most of us just want to keep getting published and read and let me tell you as a white male writer you feel sometimes you just cant get a fair shake.

Of course it is the work that matters. And so maybe all of this is frivolous talk about who gets preferential treatment in the grand sweepstakes of literary glory. I suppose women see men as still dominant in the Franzen top of the mountain epics...but for this writer, I sure wouldn't mind being the gender that loves to read fiction.

Being a man, I think I'm stuck.

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Books by William Hazelgrove