Women Authors Left off List of the Year's Top 10 Books

Article excerpt

Female writers won several major awards this year - including the Man Booker Prize - but the industry magazine doesn't include a single one in its round-up

The publishing world has been plunged into a new row over sexism after the authoritative Publishers Weekly omitted to include a single female author in its list of the year's top 10 titles.

Leading British women writers rounded on the respected industry magazine yesterday after its pick of 2009's must-read books failed to nominate some of the year's biggest literary successes, such as Hilary Mantel, whose Wolf Hall won the Man Booker Prize, or Alice Munro, who won its international equivalent.

Lionel Shriver, the prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, said the selection was further evidence of the "weirdly retrograde sexual sensibility" that dominated publishing. "Every time a list like this comes out it just helps to propagate the same attitudes." Shriver said. "Publishing takes men more seriously than women. Female writing is regarded as second tier; there is a default assumption that men are the heavy hitters."

An all-male Booker Prize shortlist in 1991 sparked so much outrage that a women-only award, the Orange Prize for Fiction, soon followed.

Publishers Weekly's choice spanned different literary genres and the globe, with non-fiction works such as Blake Bailey's biography of John Cheever and Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder rubbing shoulders with Geoff Dyer's Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and Dan Chaon's Await Your Reply. …