Questions about the future of bookstores and libraries soon resulted in bold statements to the effect that “Bookstores will die. It’s a pity, but that’s the reality.” Booksellers fared better in this imagined future, but not by much. To the suggestion that booksellers can continue to play a role in providing advice on books, one participant cracked, “you might have difficulty living on that.” Publishers came in for some dismissive comments, as well, and radio and television got it in the neck.
Gender bias discussion heats up on ABC Radio National, by Linda Leith
The gender bias discussion initiated by the VIDA statistics, commented on by John Barber in The Globe & Mail, and then in these pages last week continues to generate comment and discussion, most recently on the antipodean airwaves.
This morning (which was yesterday evening Montreal time), the ABC Radio National Books & Arts Daily show devoted time to the topic which, from the tone of the discussion and comments on the show's website, suggest that gender bias is a mighty hot item down under, where there seem to be a larger number of vocal feminists per square mile than there are up here in Canada.
One of the panelists, Monica Dux, is a writer and a board member for the new award for Australian women's writing, the Stella Prize. She has written critically about the impact on the feminist movement of one of its Australian godmothers, Germaine Greer, but I have to say I was impressed by Greer when I first read The Female Eunuch, and I'm impressed by Dux and other Australian feminists today. The third member of the panel was Jason Steger, literary editor of The Age newspaper.
When host Michael Cathcart asked me if I thought it would be a good idea if, as literary editor of an Australian newspaper, he were to get half his reviews written by women -- and ensure that half the books reviewed were authored by women -- I said that would be a good start, and Dux agreed.
Producer Sarah L'Estrange has uploaded the cover of Joanna Russ's 1983 book How to Suppress Women's Writing on to the show's website. Beside the weighty sociological issues raised by questions of gender, I have a very practical consideration in mind as the publisher of an online literary magazine, and what I want to know is why their version is less fuzzy than the one I found on the website of the University of Texas Press and reproduced in my article.
You can hear the tape and read the lively comments on the show here.
© Linda Leith 2012