The recently announced Staunch Book Prize is for ‘thriller’ novels which keep readers on the edge of their seats without resorting to extreme violence against women. The words used by the prize are ‘where no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered’. Is this because books where men are murdered or eviscerated make much better reading at bed time?
There seems to be some kind of a movement happening. Every other day news pops up; like the annual VIDA count has again, in 2017, found that there seems to be some sort of a bias, male authors and their critics constitute two thirds of those published and critiquing. Maybe these numbers prompted writer Kamila Shamsie to urge publishers to take a stance and make 2018 the year of publishing books only by women writers. A pipe dream obviously. It’s a different matter altogether that of the top ten selling writers in UK in 2017, only one happened to be a man. Mr. Murakami held the side entirely by himself. But is that any reason for women in the literary world to get a big head and expect more? And then there are the bunch of women writers (around 250) who, unhappy with the number of women poets (4) included in the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poetry, have decided to boycott anthologies and festivals that do not have a fair representation by women. Seriously? Is anyone even paying attention?
Just because they got the right to vote, women now want to take the mile? Is it possible that after centuries they have started believing that they are entitled? These days, especially after the appearance of the #MeToo movement, there seem to be no limits to their expectations.
Where will this all end? …Fair play?