“Male writers may suffer strains on their single-minded dedication to their art for reasons of class or race or nationality, but so far no male writer is likely to be asked to sit on a panel addressing itself to the special problems of a male writer, or be expected to support another writer simply because he happens to be a man. Such things are asked of women writers all the time, and it makes them jumpy.”

- Margaret Atwood (pictured below), novelist in her introduction to the 1998 anthology Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews


You may not have noticed the furore pinging ...

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  • Reply May 10, 2013

    Janet G

    It would seem from the number of acclaimed female writers winning awards today that Wikipedia should be putting up the subcategory “Men Writers”. That way people might remember who they were.

  • Reply May 10, 2013


    Yet another reinforcement of the notion of men as the default type of human and women as the other kind.

  • Reply May 10, 2013


    Normally a huge fan of your stories, but the one on Wikipedia is out of date and contains errors. For example, there IS a category American men novelists; the process wasn’t only up to ‘B’: your author just didn’t click on the ‘next 200′ button on the page; and a Wikipedia community discussion ran and closed over a week ago, quickly agreeing that the process of moving only women to a subcategory would be sexist, a mistake and the process should not continue; if your writer visited the category talk page, they would see that the community is currently discussing how to fix several problems (of which this is just one) with these large unwieldy category pages. This is a global community of volunteers, not an anonymous beureaucracy, and I think it is just taking a little time to sort the various problems out. Any ‘revenge editing’ at Amanda Filipacchi’s article was indefensible – which is why, for example, a wikipedia administrator partially protected the page from editing to allow more experienced editors to keep the article stable while the controversy blew over…this looks like it is only having mixed success, though…

    • Reply May 11, 2013


      Hi Ian, thanks for leaving a comment. I think given we are talking about a very fluid environment here, a couple of clarifications and a post script are needed.
      1. Wikipedia only changed the title to American Men novelists after Filipacchi’s original op ed piece appeared on The New York Time’s website, so one could safely assume that the change was made in response to many readers’ feedback.

      2. I have to take Filipacchi at her word. That she missed clicking on the ‘next 200′ button doesn’t seem the point to me. That kind of makes it more appalling.

      3. Isn’t the real point not how Wikipedia operates in the background but the mere fact that someone or a group of someones took it upon themselves to create a sub category of American Women Novelists? How they do it, isn’t really the central issue. The real issue is under whose imprimatur did this change occur? If you the answer to that question, I’d be fascinated to find out, since you clearly seem to know a lot more about how Wikipedia operates than I do! Mx

  • Reply May 10, 2013


    Was it Allport who recognised the normal traits were often masculine dominant, so women who strayed from this norm were in an “other” category.
    Anyway, I hope your perspective is correct Ian. Can I check on Wiki!? Where?

  • [...] You can read Meredith Jaffe’s full review of The Shadow Year HERE. [...]

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