Literary Smorgasbord: VIDA, Oyster Books & AWP15

New VIDA Count! National Poetry Month! AWP15! Oyster Books! It’s the perfect time to set our sights on the world of literature, where we found lots of new data on gender ratios. And while some of it is dismal, there is also  plenty to celebrate.

New VIDA Count!

Every year, VIDA tallies the genders of writers of book reviews and for literary publications and publishes the results. They just released their data for 2014 and, while there’s some progress and some publications are improving, the gender disparity is still grim.

Conium Review and Gigantic Sequins Dig Into The Numbers

Inspired by the new VIDA Count, literary magazines Conium and Gigantic Sequins broke down the gender ratios for their published authors for the year. Here’s what they found:

The editors from Conium sum this up well:

Basically, when a publisher says their VIDA numbers are low because they don’t want to sacrifice editorial standards, you can officially tell them that the excuse is bullshit. Publishers can increase gender parity without any such sacrifices, and to suggest otherwise is insulting to every female author who writes kickass fiction.

Conference organizers, editors, publishers — you can crunch your numbers too. Use the GA Tally to find out the gender ratio for your writers or speakers. And keep in touch! We love to hear these stories. We want to celebrate balanced ratios and find out what you’re doing to create change.

Want some tips? Check out Avital Andrews’ piece where she explains exactly how she created gender balance in a Top 30 list on the Pacific Standard. She recently published another Hall of Fame list, Thirty Under 30: The Top Young Thinkers in Economics, Education, and Political Science.


The AWP Conference (#AWP15), hosted by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, is one of the biggest conferences for writers and publishers in the US. So far we’ve found two Hall of FAME moments:

Why do we share positive Tally App images? Because it’s proof. We hear the same tired excuses from organizers all the time — There aren’t enough women in the field! Too many women turned us down! Can you give us some names? (No, no we cannot. You’re the ones with the experience and contacts in your field!) When we see a balanced gender ratio, we want to celebrate it and show that it is possible.

The good and the bad, we want to see it all. If you’re at #AWP15 (or any other conferences), and you want to break down a panel, use the app. You can even share it with us anonymously with our new anonymous button.

Oyster Books Shows Us How It’s Done

It’s not just conferences — we love seeing balanced lists, too. Oyster Books just released their Top 100 Books of the Decade, So Far. The breakdown: 54 women, 47 men (one book had two authors).

Send Oyster Books some love:
Great job, @oyster! 53% female authors in new 100 Best Books of the Decade, So Far: #genderavenger