I’m a BIG FAN of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts because of the work they do to support and promote women writers. Their annual Count brings to light the VAST disparity between men and women in publication. And I’m thrilled to see their work getting more and more traction.
One of my favorite ways VIDA’s work is getting noticed is through Joanna Walsh’s #readwomen2014 project, which encourages people to read only women this year.
I’ve been actively trying to read more diversely; in particular, I’ve been trying to read more books by people of color and people who write in languages other than English. I have always read a lot of work by women, but this year, it seems I have, already, jumped headlong into the #readwomen2014 movement. I kind of like that.
This year, I have read (or begun) 9 books – 7 of them by women. While I did love John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, (which has a female protagonist, of course) and I am enjoying Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor, it’s women’s voices that are drawing me these days.
Just this week, I finished Katie Hayoz’s wonderful young adult novel Untethered. I thoroughly enjoyed Sylvie’s voice and attitude, and the sort of supernatural-ish element of astral projection gave the book a freshness that was lovely.
Last night, I began Jesmyn Ward’s much-acclaimed novel Salvage The Bones. And while a Nyquil induced haze kept me from getting very far, I’m already in love with the narrator’s voice.
So I think I’m going to make a more formal commitment to reading only women in 2014. Not because I hate men. Not because I don’t think male voices are important. But because I think that we need to elevate women so that we may, finally, have our voices heard equally.
That said, I’m offering an incentive to join me in this quest. On December 31st, I’ll do a post to share all the women I’ve read this year, and in that post, I’ll offer a $50 gift card to Powell’s Books for anyone who reads 20 or more books by women this year. All you’ll have to do is list the titles – or link to a list of what you’ve read – and you’ll be eligible.
Who’s joining me in this celebration of women and their writing?