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Tag: gender equality (1-2 of 2)

On The Books: Grasshopper Jungle might be a movie

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Hollywood hasn’t finished with the story trend of teens struggling to find their identity in a post-apocalyptic dystopia yet.  The most recent YA novel to get snatched up by movie executives is Grasshopper Jungle, which was just optioned by Sony. Scott Rosenberg (Con Air, Beautiful Girls, High Fidelity) plans to adapt the script. The novel is about a 16-year-old boy who inadvertently unleashes a plague of insects that turn the populace into mindless super-soldiers looking to eat, have sex and kill things — basically a bizarre take on the Pandora’s Box myth. Apparently author Andrew Smith carries it off with some verve though because we gave it an A- in our review. Movie-wise, I’d say this would come in around Planet of the Apes mixed with 28 Days Later and multiplied by that Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Teachers Pet.” Can’t wait.

A new campaign called Let Books Be Books aims to end gender bias in the presentation of children’s books. They’re calling for publishers to remove “for boys” and “for girls” labels from kids books, as well as make the covers more gender neutral. This idea has been swirling for a long time, but it seems to be gaining more momentum recently…or maybe I’m just thinking of that amazing GoldieBox commercial for girl’s toys. [Guardian]

On that note, there’s a great essay by Anna Holmes in The New Yorker called “How to be a Good Bad American Girl.” Holmes looks at the legacy of troublesome little girls in American literature, specifically Harriet the Spy and To Kill A Mockingbird. “Harper Lee and Louise Fitzhugh taught their readers that difference, nonconformity, and even subversion should be celebrated in young girls,” she writes. “These qualities are the prerequisites for, and not the enemies of, creativity, curiosity, and insight.” [New Yorker]

The longlist of 20 nominees for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was just announced today. Lots of great women made the cut. I don’t envy the judges’ job of narrowing this down to a winner for June, 4th. Check out the nominees below.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
  • Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam
  • Suzanne Berne, The Dogs of Littlefield
  • Fatima Bhutto, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
  • Claire Cameron, The Bear
  • Lea Carpenter, Eleven Days
  • M.J. Carter, The Strangler Vine
  • Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
  • Deborah Kay Davies, Reasons She Goes to the Woods
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things
  • Hannah Kent, Burial Rites
  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
  • Audrey Magee, The Undertaking
  • Eimear McBride, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
  • Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English
  • Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs
  • Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
  • Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing

On The Books: Gender count shows literature is still a man's world

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Since 2009 the good people at VIDA have been trucking away counting bylines and book titles to give us the hard data on gender equality in literary journals. The 2013 VIDA count just went up today and the general consensus is that there is still a disparity between men and women when it comes to literary coverage — both in whose doing the writing and in whose being written about. The highlights:

– Most improved this year goes to The Paris Review. “The Paris Review’s numbers, previously among the worst in our VIDA Count, have metamorphosed from deep, male-dominated lopsidedness into a picture more closely resembling gender parity. While such progress is remarkable in one year, we are likewise pleased to note that we haven’t heard anyone bemoan a drop in quality in The Paris Review’s pages.”
– Poetry Magazine is consistently the most equal.
– The least gender equal with at least 75% male representation: The Atlantic, London Review of Books, New Republic, The Nation, New York Review of Books (actually holding steady at 80% men for four years) and New Yorker.
– Journals that skew more than 50% female: Tin House, Callaloo, The Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, New American Writing, and Ninth Letter.

Amtrak is contemplating a “writers’ residency” program on their trains, which would allow writers to travel for free (or at least for cheap). They’ve already hooked up Jessica Gross, who contributes to the New York Times Magazine. Gross got to ride for free from New York to Chicago and back (straight through 44 hours, no hanging out in the Windy City.) After the trip, she wrote a piece for The Paris Review on her time. Sounds a little like…how do I say this? Hell. A 44 hour train ride with no destination? To me, the draw of writing on trains is open adventure, being in the Tuscan hills with nothing ahead of you except sunflowers and vineyards. Or being on the Orient Express scoping each new passenger for murderous intent in between exploring Egyptian ruins. Somehow being trapped on a commuter train between NYC and Chi-town sounds more like living Sartre’s No Exit. [The Wire]

Rick Yancy’s The 5th Wave has won the 2014 Red House Children’s Book Award (a unique award because it’s voted for entirely by children). Big surprise: the YA novel is set in a post-apocalypse dystopia. The plot follows Cassie who is left alone, after waves of extinctions, running for her life from death squads roaming the countryside. But she meets a boy named Edward — no, Peeta — no, it’s Evan this time who might be the key to her survival. [The Guardian]

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