Did you know that books by male writers receive more reviews in major newspapers and journals than books by female writers? In 2010, the first year VIDA counted them in US publications:
The New York Review of Books covered 306 titles by men in 2010 and only 59 by women; The New York Times Book Review covered 524 books by men compared to 283 books written by women.
It’s not that women aren’t writing books – or even that they aren’t writing good books – but for some reason (which I won’t go into here, but you can read all about on the VIDA website) they don’t get reviewed formally as often. It doesn’t seem to be deliberate, it’s just one of those habits that gets ingrained in unconscious bias over time. As we know, the best way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one – in this case, the habit of reviewing books by women writers as well.
Introducing the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
The Australian Women Writers Challenge was established to help address this anomaly by encouraging people to read – and review – books by Australian women.
Given that I read books by Australian women writers, and I tend to review them here on the blog as well as over at Goodreads, I figured I might as well join up for 2017!
Here’s a list of books I intend to read in 2017 (in addition to plenty by Australian male writers plus non-Australian writers of both genders). This list includes only books that have already been published. I know of at least 3 books that I’m eagerly awaiting in 2017 that don’t appear here!
You can join the challenge too
You don’t have to be a blogger to join the challenge. You can post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or wherever you happen to buy books online. Or you can simply read books by Australian women and tell your friends about them (perhaps on Facebook or Instagram!).
Books by women writers I intend to read in 2017
1. Goodwood, by Holly Throsby
One line description: Small-town Australian murder mystery.
2. Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty
One line description: Normal family goes to a barbecue and their lives change.
3. Foreign Soil, by Maxine Beneba Clarke
One line description: A series of short stories about people who come from foreign soil to Australia’s shores to make a life.
4. Nest, by Inga Simpson
One line description: Missing persons mystery set in the sub-tropics
5. Heat and Light, by Ellen Van Neerven
One line description: Three separate stories about desire (okay, to be honest I’ve read the synopsis and a couple of reviews and I still don’t really understand what this book is about – I’ll let you know when I’ve read it!)
6. Fight Like a Girl, by Clementine Ford
One line description: (Non-fiction) A call to arms for all women to stand up and be counted, written by one of my favourite columnists, Clem Ford.
7. The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman
One line description: A dead man and a crying infant wash up on the shore near a lighthouse.
8. The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton
One line description: Family saga spanning pre-WWII London to the 1960s.
9. The Natural Way of Things, by Charlotte Wood
One line description: In an alternate Australia, two girls are trapped in a desert jail for apparently sexual crimes and must try to survive.
10. Bitter Greens, by Kate Forsyth
One line description: An historical novel set in 16th century France, re-telling the true story of Rapunzel.
What are you planning to read in 2017?
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