Elizabeth Kate Switaj, a response to Peter Stothard TLS

Vida, Women in Literary Arts published a list in 2010 which showed that there is , indeed, a gender-imbalance in literary publication. The figures for 2010 have borne out the VIDA Count. The Guardian Newspaper published those VIDA figures in the  following linked article,

Research shows male writers still dominate books world (Friday 4 February 2011) ,

“Statistics compiled by Vida, an American organisation for women in the literary arts, found gender imbalances in every one of the publications cited, including the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books.

In the UK, the LRB reviewed 68 books by women and 195 by men in 2010, with men taking up 74% of the attention, and 78% of the reviews written by men. Seventy-five per cent of the books reviewed in the TLS were written by men (1,036 compared to 330) with 72% of its reviewers men”

Peter Stothards response to The Count (2010)  by VIDA was,

“The TLS is only interested in getting the best reviews of the most important books,” and “while women are heavy readers, we know they are heavy readers of the kind of fiction that is not likely to be reviewed in the pages of the TLS.”

Not Our Kind, My Dear. (excerpted)

” when polished nails touch Ulysses
Marion Bloom appears on the cover
corseted and heaving
over the leather’s top

between that and her windblown hair,
No it’s not literary No it’s not No important enough

for these pages, my dear “

I do not think there is much to celebrate in terms of our modernism, when old-school type bias and inequality  is quite plainly creeping into our political systems, and our worlds of literature and art. 2010 was an appalling year for  equality at many levels of society. Gladly, 2011 has been thus far better in terms of women writers and that should be reflected by editors in their wee (tiny) lists.

The Switaj poem is here Not Our Kind , My Dear’ a poem by Elizabeth Kate Switaj , in response to Peter Stothard. (Editor of the Times Literary Supplement)

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