Get with the ladies

A friend sent me the link to this LA Times blog piece about another 100 Best Books list, this time on NPR, that has 93 books by men and 7 by women on it. (And I like how Nicole Krauss is tacked on as the last one, as if the writer was thinking…”Oh yeah, who’s that chick who’s Jonathan Safran Foer’s wife?”)

What’s depressing is how reflective it is of other lists, especially the Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels, which included 92 books by men and 8 by women. And almost all of those by white people.

It’s reflective of the history of major literary awards in adult fiction:

Nobel: 94 men, 11 women
Pulitzer: 64 men, 28 women
National Book Awards: 43 men, 15 women
National Book Critics Circle Awards: 26 men, 12 women
PEN Faulkner: 23 men, 5 women

Statistics like these make me want to crawl under the covers. At least in YA fiction, more recently-founded awards, such as the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (started in 1996) and the Printz (started in 2000) have been more egalitarian:

Printz: 5 women, 5 men (hurrah!)
National Book Awards: 8 women, 5 men (hurrah! hurrah!)

Let’s hope that keeps up—it’s yet another reason to celebrate the YA world.

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