Here in Australia, our largest retailer of books arguably is a company called Dymocks. Here are the first fifty Australian fiction authors currently on display in their Sydney store:
Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Kim E Anderson
Claire C Coleman
Michelle De Kretser
I highlighted them to make it obvious: Only seventeen out of fifty are male.
One-half of the population is contributing barely one-third of the ‘Australian Fiction’ on sale? Make of this what you will, but I know what I think! I mean, who the fuck is Claire C Coleman anyway?
For lit-lads, unless you’re an established member of the canon (Cook, Carey, Courtenay, Flanagan, et al.,), an ethnic lad (Ahmad, Dao) or an immigrant (Bhasin, Dalgarno), there’s fuck-all chance you’ll end up at Dymocks.
It’s not just me, and it’s not just Oz.
James Marriott noted in 2020 that there hadn’t been a young, white British man on the Booker shortlist since 2011. Joyce Carol Oates was outed in 2022 for noting that young, white male writers have been shut out. James Patterson got the virtual shit kicked out of him for echoing the same observation.
What? A form of racism? Idiot, it’s just boring old discrimination.
Even fully-emasculated virtue-signalling beta-male writers are joyfully kicked in the nethers. The advice to them? “Read more books by women, POC, and LGBTQ writers. Submit less. Pitch less. Especially white men. You are already over-represented.“
There you go: White male writers fuck off. Whereas white female writers, on the other hand … I mean, obviously the world needs more men-hating Clementine Fords, am I right?
If you’re not female, exotic, established or (that most repulsive descriptor) ’emerging’ then nobody wants to hear from you. But mostly (67 v 33) if you’re not female. A recent Penguin Random House survey confirms this, so it’s not just ass-trumpeting sexism.
The Milly-Molly-Mandys of the new literary panteon are mostly all white chicks.
As a once-aspiring writer, this galls me. I mean, please somebody try to argue that people who identify as women are better writers than people who identify as men. Persuade me this isn’t just roaring sexism+tokenism.
Please, I’d love to hear it.
And I didn’t even get to sample the quality on the ‘M’ shelf…
Or maybe it’s just as random American literary critic Clare Vaye Watkin’s asserts, that modern authors (ie., women) have rejected a ready-made canon “gifted us by some white fucks at Oxford.”
But boys can redefine the landscape too, can’t they? Girls can be white fucks too, can’t they?
If you let them, boys can write something “new”.
That’s not to say that the 67 authors I-have-so-presumptuously-identified-as-women aren’t reasonable writers. But if you’re selling the best Australian writing, or if you want to read the best, then why not adopt genderblind publishing?
Anyway, I didn’t do the numbers for the remaining authors because the first-fifty was depressing enough.
This was as much to avoid seeing the shelf-space wasted on ‘NYT best-selling author’ Matthew Reilly as it was to avoid basking too obviously in this:
Funny how the “author’s” name is fifty fonts larger than the title. And could they have fit more head on the cover? I’m gobsmacked she didn’t sneak in at least one tattoo. But at least I left with a smile on my face!
To be published a white male author, we need a pseudonym with the name ‘Jennifer’ in it, and an ethnic backstory. I could be Erika Kaisson from Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä, and did I tell you about the time…?
Or we could just shut the fuck up like the angry ladies say.