Friday, September 21, 2007

Women, Publishers and Language

Laura Dietz asks if the ubiquitousness of unchallenging 'domestic' writing by women is the fault of women writers themselves, or of publishers who overlook the more challenging work of female writers. It looks like the latter, is her tentative conclusion, since the all-female winners of the New Writing prize - all of whom would have sent in their own best unpublished work - have been praised as innovative and bold, whereas the Orange prize, based on already-published books nominated by their publishers, tends, she says (or at least Muriel Gray, last year's chair, said), to be dominated by books which conform to traditional conventions.

One commenter on the post opens up the discussion of what in fact makes for challenging writing - subject matter or writing style and use of language - and states the opinion, with which I agree, that it's on the level of language and style which books can be the most challenging.

It would be nice to think that the appearance on this year's Booker shortlist of Anne Enright - a linguistically bold and innovative writer if I ever saw one - is a welcome sign of a reversal of the situation Dietz describes.
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