#GoodRead Roundup: Harper Lee, Modern Library, and Women Who Submit

by Thomas Leuthard [ CC by 2.0 ]  via Flickr

by Thomas Leuthard [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

From Harper Lee to Courtney Love, why is it always female artists whose authorship is doubted?

What all these cases have in common is women with singular voices writing defining stories about how to live unapologetically in a world that has little interest in making space for them.

Another theory? Women’s authorship is so often ignored on major book lists. Last month we challenged Esquire’s list of 80 Books Every Man Should Read, which featured just one woman author. Then we saw this:


Modern Library’s Lists of the Top 100 Novels and Top 100 Nonfiction is the latest addition to our Hall of Shame. 9% of their top novels were by women, while women authors wrote an only slightly less dismal 12% of their top nonfiction. Out of 200 books recommended by the Modern Library board, only 21 are by women.

There are no excuses. This is terrible, and it matters (as you’ll see in the stories below). But it’s not all bad news. Audible joins the ranks of the GenderAvenger Hall of Fame with their newly released list The Best Books of the Century So Far, which featured 40% books by women.

Submission As Social Action: Every year VIDA counts how many women were published in the top literary journals, and every year women are underrepresented. Another repeat? We get the same excuse from editors: “Women don’t submit as often as men.” Read Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo’s inspiring story about creating Women Who Submit, a group that brings women together for events where they send out a ton of submissions.

Women Writers and the Struggle for Shelf Space:

Without backlist our children won’t know many of the women writers of the 20th and 21st century (not to mention prior centuries). They won’t know the activists who wrote in spite of all odds against them.

Can We Stop Pretending Publishing is Fair Now? After reading through these links, we’ll answer with a hearty yes.

What’s new at GenderAvenger?

ICYMI: 51 must read female authors + 56 books by women, created with 100% suggestions from GenderAvengers like you.

We used the GA Tally to breakdown gender ratios for Modern Library and Audible. Have you tried it yet? The GA Tally is available on iTunes, desktop, and we just added an Android version this month. (Not sure how to use the Tally in the world? Get inspired by Avenger Jessica Esch who tackled gender ratios in New Yorker illustrations.)

How is Summer almost over?! Don’t worry. We’ve got BIG stuff coming up this Fall. Don’t miss out.