Two writers discusses race, class, feminism and its intersections in this wide-ranging discussion about what feminism can mean for women of colour. Refreshingly substantive.
"Bringing up the women’s question — I mean the women’s fiction question — is not unlike mentioning the national debt at a dinner party."
If “The Marriage Plot,” by Jeffrey Eugenides, had been written by a woman yet still had the same title and wedding ring on its cover, would it have received a great deal of serious literary attention? Or would this novel (which I loved) have been relegated to “Women’s Fiction,” that close-quartered lower shelf where books emphasizing relationships and the interior lives of women are often relegated? Certainly “The Marriage Plot,” Eugenides’s first novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Middlesex,” was poised to receive tremendous literary interest regardless of subject matter, but the presence of a female protagonist, the gracefulness, the sometimes nostalgic tone and the relationship-heavy nature of the book only highlight the fact that many first-rate books by women and about women’s lives never find a way to escape “Women’s Fiction” and make the leap onto the upper shelf where certain books, most of them written by men (and, yes, some women — more about them later), are prominently displayed and admired.So begins The Second Shelf: On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women, an essay in the New York Times by novelist Meg Wolitzer. She was interviewed about her essay in the NYT Book Review podcast (mp3 link, interview starts at about 18:30). Wolitzer references the classic 1998 essay by Francine Prose, Scent of a woman's ink: Are women writers really inferior?, and further back in time you find Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, which, as literary critic Ruth Franklin notes, still sounds fresh today.
True love will get you laid for a couple of years and all of a sudden you're looking at someone and thinking, "What do I see in this person?"
Tamora Pierce is a writer of YA fantasy whose novels primarily feature female protagonists. Among other things, her novels explore privilege and prejudice within her fantastic cultures. In a recent interview for The Atlantic, she talks about why we need more girl heroes, the use of birth control for her teenage characters, and the myth of “sappy, sugary, true love”.
Virginia Woolf the cricketer, the beach belle posing in a stripy bathing suit or as the March Hare at an Alice in Wonderland-themed party. For the first time, 1,000 photographs from Woolf's private album and that of her sister, Vanessa Bell, have been catalogued and published. More inside. (via litterae)