VIDA, an organisation concerned with women authors, has published statistics on the gender of authors writing for a number of literary journals, and reviewed by them. The figures are alarming, though I suppose they shouldn’t have been surprising. Michael Schaub, on the unfortunately named Blog of a Bookslut, examined his own statistics and was shocked, having assumed that the books he reviewed were roughly 50 per cent by men and 50 percent by women.
Rising to the challenge I had a look at the books I wrote about in 2010. I secretly hoped, of course, to find something close to 50–50. It turned out I wrote about 19 books written by women, 52 by men, and one that was written by a man and a woman. (I’m including the books I gave up on after 50 pages or so, of which at least two were by men and one by a woman.) That means I managed a little more than 37 per cent. Oops! It’s small consolation that the proportion of women authors on my blog is substantially bigger than VIDA’s equivalent for The New Yorker, The London Review of Books and others.