SF Talking Points: Why Female Authors Aren't Getting Reviewed

The Reason Behind The Male Domination Of The Book Review Pages: Ever since VIDA, a women’s literary organization, published these infographics, it has been widely questioned why reviews of books written by women occupy such a pathetically small fraction of space in top publications like Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, and The London Review of Books. But The New Republic looked into it, and found that it’s actually uniform with the number of books written by women at publishing houses, both big and indie. Ruth Franklin writes:

“Only one of the houses we investigated—the boutique Penguin imprint Riverhead—came close to parity, with 55 percent of its books by men and 45 percent by women. Random House came in second, with 37 percent by women. It was downhill from there, with three publishers scoring around 30 percent—Norton, Little Brown, and Harper—and the rest 25 percent and below, including the elite literary houses Knopf (23 percent) and FSG (21 percent). Harvard University Press, the sole academic press we considered, came in at just 15 percent.”

And the indie publishers did just as badly: Graywolf had the highest percentage at 25, while Dalkey came in at a pitiful 10%. So the real concern now is if books by female authors have not been getting published due to some intrinsic, and perhaps unconscious, partiality, or because we simply aren’t sending in as many manuscripts as men. [Read more...]


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