Sahm King at the Arkside of thought did a post today that I found not only relevent to poetry but to women’s place in society and in particular, the arts.
We’ve all been aware that J.K. Rowling recently wrote a crime novel. We also know that she wrote under a pseudonym. She did this probably in order to test her writing abilities and in order to pass from the Harry Potter era to something completely different.
She was betrayed by someone in her law firm (who has had to pay her damages by the way). By blowing her cover, her book which was a slow seller became an over-night success on the strength of her Potter reputation. Old news. The real question is not that she wanted to try to publish without her Harry Potter success pushing the sales of her new book. The question is why did she choose to publish as a man.
It was because of the genre of the book. American and English publishers are convinced that women writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, Crime and similar genres will not sell. I’d like to think that they are only afraid of missing out on their male buyers because they’ve been written by a woman, however I’ve a sneaking feeling that even female readers would have their doubts before buying a crime novel written by “Mary Mercy”.
Women have been pigeon holed. Women are good at writing romantic stories or children’s stories. How much more so since the invention of Chick Lit, for pities sake. Thanks to Emily Dickenson, women can also write poetry and hope to be published if their poetry is feminine enough. A poet from the Iraqi war zone publishing about the horrors of war, might not get published if that poet is a woman.
Some interesting reading:
What’s in a name? Why authors use pseudonyms? on DW (a german e-zine) This article states that on the whole women publish crime books and are sold in Germany without any particular problems…but read on.
Have anything to add?