For more on where the #fembook conversation led, keep scrolling. Where will the conversation go next? That’s up to you!
Join me, Charlotte Abbott, on Friday, November 13, from 4-5pm ET, for a joint session of #FollowReader and #fembook, where we’ll discuss what can be done to elevate the status of women writers and books by women in a world where most authors, readers, book buyers and publishing staffers are women.
#Fembook: A Hashtag is Born
Early last week on #fembook, book bloggers, critics, authors, publishing professionals and readers shared links to the Guardian (UK) story about how a new group called Women in Letters and Literary Arts (WILLA) had confronted the PW announcement with an open letter of complaint and a wiki of great books published by women in 2009, and invited sympathizers to join its Facebook group (created when the group called itself WILA). Others noted that, lest we unfairly vilify PW, the magazine’s long list did include categories that are overlooked elsewhere, such as graphic format and mass market titles, as well as a number of writers of color.
Still others observed that the year-end picks by Amazon’s editors were also heavily weighted toward men, and that Fox TV host Glen Beck, an enthusiastic propnent of thrillers, rarely mentions any written by women.
By last Wednesday, several book critics had weighed in on the #fembooks debate, including Politico’s Lizzie Skurnick and Salon’s Laura Miller, along with author Susan Steinberg, writing in the The Rumpus. The librarian blog Earlyword.com offered a helpful breakdown of the representation of women among the National Book Award finalists, as well as on Publishers Weekly‘s Best Children’s Books list, and among the year’s most popular books on Amazon. (Guess what? Women get more prizes for children’s books than adult books!)
By the end of the week, #fembook had become a fast-flowing conversation about great books by women published in 2009 – thanks to the announcement by #FridayReads moderator Bethanne Patrick that the two hashtags would join forces for an all-women’s edition of the weekly #FridayReads book recommendation discussion.
For those interested in the #fembook discussion and title recommendations, here’s an archive of the complete conversation between November 5 and November 10.
And here are a few other commentaries, and efforts to elevate the status of women writers, that cropped up this week – please let us know about any we’ve missed!
- SheWrites Day of Action calls for women to write a blog post about PW’s exclusion of women from its Top 10 list, buy a book by a woman and take a photo of yourself holding it, and tell five women to do the same – by Friday, November 13, 2009.
- Women Unbound Reading Challenge encourages people to read fiction and nonfiction by women. The challenge runs for a year, from November 1, 2009 to November 30, 2010.
- In the latest podcast from Books on the Nightstand, Random House sales reps Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness present a lively examination of the books by women writers on their own shelves, and talk passionately about their all-time favorite woman-authored books.
- In the Guardian, editor-turned-author Harriet Evans writes, “I’m fed up with seeing some of our best novelists written off as ‘chick lit’.”
To join the #followreader conversation on Friday, here’s what to do:
- Just before 4pm ET, log in to Twitter or whatever interface you use (e.g. Tweetchat, Tweetdeck, Twitterific, etc.)
- To follow the discussion, run a search for #followreader
- I’ll start by asking Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven) a few questions, before opening up the discussion to the group.
- To post to the discussion, type #followreader in each tweet
NOTE: You might want to experiment with TweetChat, which refreshes quickly and automatically loads your hashtag when you are in the discussion.
Looking forward to tweeting with you on Friday!
Watch this space next week for a recap of the highlights. And please feel free to suggest topics for upcoming #followreader chats below.