Friday, March 22, 2013

Women Writers on the Literary Landscape

Written by Amy King at www.vidaweb.org

In a year kicked off by the Republican party fighting the Violence Against Women Act and a nationally-broadcasted song reducing Oscar-noteworthy actresses to “boob shots,” VIDA takes our annual look back to see if this regressive tenor is reflected in the treatment of women in literature in 2012. We also eyeball how the 2012 Count stacks up beside numbers from the years preceding. As always, the charts tell their own stories, whether publishers and editors listen or not. And now their histories are showing.
 
While it would be incredibly easy to begin by lambasting national publications like Harpers, The Paris Review, The New Republic, New York Review Of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic and The Nation for their gross (& indecent) neglect of female writers’ work, I fear the attention we’ve already given them has either motivated their editors to disdain the mirrors we’ve held up to further neglect or encouraged them to actively turn those mirrors into funhouse parodies at costs to women writers as yet untallied. Reason hasn’t worked. The devolution among their ranks screams itself increasingly red in the VIDA comparative charts. At this point, the publications with the “most men” simply do not win

To read the rest of the article go here

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Kick Start

Over the past two weeks I have entered seven writing competitions. They have been for flash fiction, short stories and novels. I haven’t dared add it all up but I must be nearing a £50 spend by now. When I began, I read, re-read, edited, read again, worried, fretted and finally sent it in. Now, several days and submissions in, I am getting quicker, slicker. Although I have had no feedback and no results yet, the very act of entering has increased my confidence (I have done it, therefore I can) and, delightfully, caused me to rediscover my joy in my writing. I had reached a hole, a wall, the sheer rock face that many of us hit at some point and had decided to put my current novel in a metaphorical drawer and start researching something else. I love research. I love making notes.  I love finding things, hitting tangents and finding something else. I love the freedom of letting my mind wander through the information I am gathering and finding its own route and its own story. But, on deciding to enter these competitions (after reading this pertinent, entirely true piece Your Submission Phobia which was recently posted on our Facebook page Cafe Aphra ) I went back to my novel and began taking pieces out of it to re-work into standalone short stories. This has made me look at the chapters, the characters and the plot with fresh eyes and renewed interest. I’m still not ready to go back to it just yet - it’s comfortable sleeping in its cyber-drawer - but I, as a writer, am ready to get going again.