She Writes Blogger Ball

This weekend marks the She Writes blogger meet-and-greet, and this post is by way of saying hello. I’m a freelance writer, and my work has appeared in everything from The Smithsonian Magazine to Bookslut to The Missouri Review to rabble.ca. My forthcoming pieces include an article on feminist YA literature (no, WSJ, not all YA is filled with “depravity”) for a Canadian magazine.   I also curate Women Doing Literary Things, an essay series featuring bookish women writing on the topic of gender and literature. I now host WDLT as a weekly feature on She Writes as well.

This blog features book reviews and commentary on literary happenings. My primarily interest is fiction (with an emphasis on feminism and race-related issues), but I read almost Everything. Kind folk would call my blog eclectic; most would say it lacks focus. Please wander around and leave your comments!

Welcome to the SheWrites Blogger Ball!Click on the bookshelf to check out the other participants in the ball.

A House for Ms. Biswas

Each time I hope that the gender gap in literature might be narrowing, each time I envision Women Doing Literary Things’s peaceful organic end, along comes a Naipaul with idiotic remarks on the supposed inferiority of women’s writing. This is why we need forums where women writers support each other, communities which encourage work dealing with domestic, the ordinary, and the so-called banal (and zombies and apocalypses too, of course). One such space is She Writes, an online group of women writers. With over 15,000 members from 30 countries, it’s great place to hang out with kindred literary women, and I’m delighted to announce that WDLT essays are now a weekly (Wednesday) feature on She Writes! Please do check the site and the feature out.

Fittingly, this week’s WDLT essay deals with the deeper implication of Naipaul’s remarks. Writer Tina Biswas, in her essay titled A House for Ms. Biswas, confesses that Naipaul was the writer who inspired her to write. How did he get this business of women’s writing so wrong?

“When growing up, I would choose male authors over female ones, because of some misguided perception that men wrote about more serious matters (I’m now not sure what exactly constitutes a serious matter), and even if they were not writing about serious matters, they were at least writing about silly matters in a serious way.

This sort of bias can only come from a deeply prejudiced society. The kind of society where men are chefs but women are cooks. Where men are just men but women are wives and mothers and daughters and sisters. So when Naipaul accuses women of having a “narrow view of the world”, he means that they have a domestic view of the world, and from his chauvinistic standpoint, this domestic view is petty and banal and uninteresting and can only ever be inferior to the grandly political. But for such an insightful writer, he therefore completely fails to comprehend the relevance and importance of the domestic and how even his own life story has been shaped by not only the great sweep of history but also the small but equally powerful brush-brush-brush of the interior life. So when women choose to write about personal relationships and men think that is not important or interesting, that is their failing and their inability to value that which is closest to home.”

Please click here to read the rest of the essay.