Where are the women?

I was reading a book of advice for unpublished writers, as I do occasionally. It's an okay book, more anecdotes about the own writer's life than actual instructions for creating a writing life, but sometimes I wonder if getting published is something that can actually be taught. Anyway, this particular writer used an entire chapter to say, if you want to be a writer, read read read.

Okay, good advice, but hardly needs an entire chapter devoted to it. He then goes on to fill the bulk of the chapter with a list of 80 books that he thinks are essential reading for an aspiring writer, books that inspired him and are worth encouraging others to read. The list is pretty good in that it covers high brow and low, various genres, current writers and past. But on the list there are only FOUR books by women. Four out of 80! Joyce Carol Oats, Shirley JacksonEudora Welty and Nadine Gordimer.

This seems incredibly remiss in my mind, and though I have no business offering advice to potential writers, I have read many many books in my life, and I have a very good education, and that chapter generally pissed me off. So here is a list of writers that I think he may have overlooked. It's not exhaustive because, well how could anyone write an exhaustive list of talented, interesting, inspired and inspiring women writers? There are too many to count. But here are some (in no particular order):

Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Alice Walker, Iris Murdoch, AS Byatt, Angela Carter, Donna Tartt, Lionel Shriver, Joanna Trollope, Ursula K Le GuinZadie SmithJane Smiley, Jean Rhys, Margaret Atwood, Willa Cather, Olive SeniorLouisa May Alcott, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Dodie Smith, Agatha Christie, PD James, Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieKate Atkinson, Alice Munro, Muriel Spark, Marjane SatrapiDoris Lessing, Toni Morrison, AL Kennedy, Zee EdgellPearl S Buck, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Sarah Waters, George Elliot, Rosa GuyVirginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Madeleine L'Engle, Margaret Mitchell, Edwidge DanicatLM Montgomery, Paule MarshallKate Chopin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susanna Clarke, Elizabeth NunezEdith Wharton, Amy Tan, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Diane GlancyLaura Ingalls Wilder, Arundhati Roy, Hilary Mantel, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gisele PineauSE Hinton, Val McDermid, Flannery O'Connor, Marguerite Duras, Betty Louise BellSimone de Beauvoir, Natsuo Kirino, Joan Didion, Jhumpa Lahiri, Patricia Highsmith, Jung Chang, Azar Nafisi, Carol Shields, Jacqueline Susann, Daphne du Maurier, Anita Brookner, Eleanor Catton, Lydia Davis, Monica Ali, Gaynor Arnold, Beryl Bainbridge, Joanne Harris, Pat Barker, Nicola Barker, Nina Bawden, Louise Erdrich, Dorothy L Sayers, Pamela Dean, Mary McCarthy, Marisha Pessl, Callie Wright, A M Homes, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Curtis Sittenfeld, Jane Gardham, Penelope Fitzgerald, Collette, Lan Samantha Chang, Louise Welsh, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton, Gillian Flynn, Helen Oyeyemi, Octavia E Butler, Alice Sebold, Barbara Mujica, Jeannette Winterson, Naomi Wood, Deborah Kay Davies, Joanna Russ, Emma Donoghue, Isabel Allende, Siri Hustvedt, Denise Mina, Linda Medley, Cathi Unsworth, Rosamund Lupton, Anne Beattie, Francine Prose, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Christina Stead, Susan Choi, Alison Lurie, Leila Aboulela, Roquia Sakhawat Hussain, Stella Gibbons, Ann Nocenti, Gail Simone, Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Vowell, Lorna Moon, Rutu Motan, Audrey Niffenegger, Karen Maitland, Willa Muir, Dorothy Whipple, Adeline Yen Mah...

I know there are many more deserving of attention - who have I missed out?



Liebster Awards

The very lovely Skotskrutet nominated me for the Liebster Awards. Thanks!

The rules are that I must mention Skotskrutet on my blog (you should follow her - she is a Norwegian living in Glasgow and writes about food, fashion, travel, lifestyle), which I have now done.

Now I have to:
  • Tell 11 facts about myself
  • Answer 11 questions Skotskrutet asked me
  • Nominate 11 new bloggers and tell them I've nominated them
  • Ask them 11 questions 
11 facts about me:

  1. I'm from Virginia (Northern Virginia, suburb of DC)
  2. I watch too much TV
  3. I went to bartending school after I graduated from University (no, really, I did)
  4. I am the youngest of three sisters
  5. I am about 1/4 inch shy of being 6 feet tall
  6. The first LP I had was In A Different Light by the Bangles (someone gave it to me for my birthday when I was 12)
  7. My favourite flower is the peony
  8. My favourite authors are Iris Murdoch, Alasdair Gray, Jane Austin, Daniel Clowes and Raymond Chandler
  9. My favourite beverage is champagne
  10. I like playing backgammon
  11. I can riffle and bridge when I shuffle cards - my sister taught me how to do it when I was a little kid
11 Questions I have to answer:

1. Describe yourself in 5 words

Introverted American living in Glasgow

2. What is your favourite shop?

Is it boring to say Net-a-Porter? Or if it's a bricks and mortar store, I would have to say the House of Fraser in Glasgow or Liberty.

3. What is your biggest dream?

Either to be a novelist or have my dream home.

4. Whose wardrobe would you like to own?

I guess Rachel Zoe's wardrobe, which is full of amazing vintage (I love the 70s about as much as she does) and is about as massive as you could imagine, but it would all be in way too tiny sizes!

5. If you were having guests, what would you cook?

Probably chilli. It's easy and it would allow me to use two of my favourite ingredients: hominy and liquid smoke.

6. And what would you wear?

I remember Rachel Griffith's character on Six Feet Under talking about having dinner parties and wearing something she called 'hostess pyjamas'. If that's a real thing, then I'm all over it.

7. What is your top travel destination?

I've never been to Morocco, but it has been on my travel to-do list for quite a while

8. What is your dream job?

I'm not sure if it exists - I'd love to have a job where I come up with ideas and then someone gives me the money to make them happen. Wouldn't that be great?

9. What food can you not resist?

Black olives

10. What three things can you not live without?

I guess people aren't things, so I won't say my daughter and my husband. I guess an  iPhone, a great handbag, and something fascinating to read.

11. What is your favourite piece of clothing?

Right now it's my Markus Lupfer fawn sweater. The sequin fawn is so pretty!

Now I have to nominate 11 bloggers. This is tricky, because they have to have less than 200 followers. But where? Bloglovin? Or by email? Or some other way I'm not aware of? And how would I know how many email followers a blogger has? And it turns out that most of the blogs I follow have thousands of followers. Who knew? I never really thought about it before. This is making me think. I should make a concerted effort to seek out new blogs with a smaller following - support the newbies! Anyway, after some snooping around on Bloglovin, I found 11 bloggers I do follow who have less than 200 followers. In the end, I chose to nominate 11 bloggers I follow who have less than 200 followers on Bloglovin:
  1. Forever yours, Betty
  2. Girl Around Glasgow
  3. Shoe Daydreams (one of my favourites)
  4. Honey Lushy
  5. Glasgow Food Geek
  6. Food and Drink Glasgow
  7. Miss West End Girl
  8. Poor Jessie Ann
  9. Sleekit
  10. These Stylish Streets
  11. Twisted Skirt
So, nominated bloggers, here are the 11 questions I'm asking you:
  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What city in the world would you most like to visit?
  3. What books are currently on your night table?
  4. What is your favourite song?
  5. What are your three favourite films?
  6. What personal belongings would you save from a fire?
  7. What super power would you have if you could?
  8. What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
  9. What is your biggest vice?
  10. How do you think the city in which you live in impacts your style?
  11. What is one thing you would like to achieve this year?


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