There’s a new blog you should visit—today’s contributor is Y.S. Lee!
Women Doing Literary Things is a weekly blog series where women write about their involvement in the literary world. The series features essays by novelists, poets, editors, librarians, journalists, academics, booksellers and more, on the topic of being a woman in the literary arts. The first essay will be posted here tomorrow, March 8 2011–the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
If you’ve seen the VIDA statistics demonstrating the under-representation of women in most major publications, you know that women aren’t getting a fair shake in a field that is nurtured and sustained by them. The WDLT series aims to celebrate and reaffirm the depth and breadth of women’s involvement in literature, and to consequently highlight the fundamental wrongness of the gender disparities in the literary world. Perhaps the gatekeepers of publishing will hear what we have to say–and then do something about it.
I just finished my essay on the representation of blacks in Canadian children’s literature. I was stunned when I found this interview with Marlene NourbeSe Philip in which she makes this disturbing admission:
When I finished Harriet’s Daughter, for instance, and sent it out, I was told by one of the most prestigious publishing houses there that they liked the writing but they had a problem with the characters being black – which sent me into a tailspin for about a year and a half. If they tell me the writing is bad, I can fix that, but if they tell me they have a problem with the race of the characters it’s like telling me they have a problem with my self.
What do we do when the gatekeepers blocking the way are women, too? WDLT promises lots of different perspectives on publishing, so stay tuned.