Friday, 23 October 2009

Friday Coffee Morning

Sorry for the delay but Blogger was down for a while. Still I've managed to keep the home made porc and sage sausages warm ,also today I have some local butter and honey. And as there is a hint of Autumn in the air I have some mugs of steaming hot chocolate. The OH has asked if I can host the coffee morning every day as he is enjoying the breakfasts.[Doesn't normally get anything!!]While I was writing last weeks post, thanks for the suggestions btw, it suddenly occurred to me what an inbalance there is in our group of aspiring writers. So I wanted to ask why you think this is? Do we need more support than our male counterparts, are we more social, are we readier to ask for help, are we more technophobic and like our hands held when dealing with new ideas?Then it started me wondering about blogging as a whole. What is the proportion of bloggers male/female does anyone know?I was sitting in my armchair last night thinking about what I was going to write this morning and I caught site of my TBR pile. Without looking I wrote down the first names that came in to my head : Kate Atkinson, Tracy Chevalier, Joanne Harris, Margaret Atwood, Iris Murdoch, Margaret Drabble, I could go on but you probably get the picture. It was some time before I wrote down Ernest Hemingway. Then I had to look at my books to remind myself of Khalid Hosseini, Sebastian Faulks, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Markus Zusak, all authors that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed recently but whose names had slipped my mind!! Then I took a look at the books that are not still in boxes and they are predominantly by women writers, you have to look hard to find the men amongst them, E M Forster, Anthony Powell, Graham Greene and a few others.So off the top of your heads tell me the first SIX writers that come instantly to mind. Are you as sexist as me and am I missing out on some really good men, I am dying to know!!!!!!Over to you.


sheepish said...

Thanks CB but I finally managed it so I will delete all the extra bits

Denise said...

Ooh, hot chocolate sounds perfect, thanks! Great post, really got me thinking.

The first 6 authors I thought of came out 50/50 - Alistair Reynolds, Nancy Kress, Neal Stephenson, JK Rowling, Anne McCaffrey, Christopher Brookmyre - but I think that might have been because you'd got me thinking about male writers. Also probably because I read a lot of science fiction, and that is a genre dominated by male writers.

I think you're right about there being more women bloggers than men, but it depends on what they're writing. There are a lot of news / politics based blogs written by men, but I read only a few that are the everyday / chatty blogs that I prefer. Maybe that's a difference in the way men and women like to communicate? I bet there's a sociology graduate somewhere writing a paper on this!

You've also got me wondering whether it is easier for women to say they write, than men? There are a lot of very succesful male writers - especially crime writers - but was it something they talked about before they were published? Writing is creative / arty and perhaps something men find harder to blog about?

Kate said...

My favourite six authors (contemporary) are:
Kate Atkinson (my favourtie ever I love her)
Then in no particular order off the top of my head I really like
Matt Beaumont
Lionel Shriver
David Mitchell
Frank McCourt
Toni Morrison

Kate x

Graeme K Talboys said...

I suppose the carriages on this train of thought might come in differently at another time, but off the top of my head this morning were Joanna Russ, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Virginia Woolf, Diana Wynne Jones, Jack Trevor Story, and Andrey Kurkov.

That's mostly because I've just or am just about to read books by them. Russ, Warner, and Woolf would certainly always feature in my top ten of writers, along with Angela Carter. A quick glance through my catalogue (how awful does that sound, anyone else out there have their books catalogued?)running about 2 to 1 in favour of male fiction authors.

JJ Beattie said...

Oooh, I can't think of any names and am cheating now and looking at my shelves.

I mostly read women writers, not exclusively, just mostly. I'm going to make a mass generalisation now but I think the topics that men tend to choose (more often) to write about are different from those that women choose. I'm not interested in guns, aliens and dinosaurs; I'm much more interested in the personal and domestic as a point of drama and those subjects are more often dealt with by women.

As to why most of us here are women, well, I've no idea.

Karen said...

Yes, I think you've put male writers in my head now!

I like Ian McEwan, Linwood Barclay, Harlen Coben, Nick Hornby and Matt Beaumont, but must admit I read predominantly female authors :o)

Annieye said...

I hope there's some of this scrummy breakfast left and I could murder a cup of hot chocolate.

Right. Here's my six (I didn't peep at anyone else's)

Enid Blyton
Ken Follett
Rosie Thomas
Sam Bourne
Nick Hornby
Penny Vincenzi

I think men read more books by male writers because it's not macho to read books by women.

liz fenwick said...

Interesting.....having just been on twitter my head is filled with writers I have just been tweeting with and those I just posted a picture of on the RNA blog. So I will leap back to yesterday in the bookshop with DS - we bought Bernard Cornwell (5 books) for ds1 but I was looking for Cally's book. All the books I picked up and read for me and not for DS1 were written by women...

Just walked around the house - with a few exceptions like Amin Maaloof most of my books are written by women. I think that I'm like JJ.


Fia said...

Hot chocolate, just the thing this damp morning.

Thought provoking question Sheepish.

Off the top of my head:

Nikki French
Kate Atkinson
Kate Long
Thomas Edison
Kate Harrison
Frank McCourt

Should I change my name to Kate?

Cathy said...

I think my top six would all be women but I do also enjoy Ian McEwan, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Kellerman and many male crime writers.

I think nowadays I am reading more women's fiction and literary fiction written by women because that is largely what I am writing.

Amanda said...

Lovely breakfast, thank you!

The first six authors that came into my mind were..

Diane Setterfield
Cecelia Ahern
Lisa Jewell
A.S. Byatt
JK Rowling
Agatha Christie


B said...

Oooh what an excellent question! Val McDermid, Maggie O'Farrell, Neil Gaiman, PD James, Phillip Pullman, Garth Nix. OK - I'm sure I'm usually not at all that 50/50!

Caroline Smailes was also one of the first that came to mind (I was visualising my bookshelves!) but I removed her from the list as I wasn't sure if friends were cheating, and if I'd gone down that line of thinking I would have added Cally, Kate H, etc etc and that seemed to stack the deck rather :)

Just reading the comments now. I think Annieye is spot on. We all know why it's JK Rowling and not Joanne Rowling...

From my TBR books (at least the ones I could find from a quick scout of my shelves!) 7 are male authors and 13 are female.

I'm far more likely to take a chance on a female author I've not heard of than a male one. I have no real idea why.

Interesting subject Sheepish - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Alas, I think the time for breakfast and bacon butties has long past. The good news is that beer o'clock is fast approaching.

This is a fascinating question and I wish I could answer it more quantitatively and qualitatively. Unfortunately I can only speculate...

I have no real statistical data but in my three years as a wannabe writer, I found the arena to be almost totally dominated by females (it's a hard life, isn't it?). The writing-related blog circle is predominantly female; of the 53 blogs I read, only two have male authors. The Novel Racers are only 7% male. Jane's "Wannabe" group has only two male regulars. Two visits to the annual wh@c show that blokes are in short supply. You get the picture.

I suppose the big question is: are there really that few male writers, or are they just not part of these circles? Perhaps there are loads out there but are simply getting on with it, rather than talking about it on the internet. Perhaps there are stigma related issues as to why more men don't write, or talk about writing. Talking about the latest martial arts film is macho but sitting on a train engrossed in a pink book rather isn't. Personally, I don't care but I'm probably not typical.

I won't name the first six authors that come into my head because the question had already prejudiced my thinking. A quick look at my bookshelves show approximately a 50-50 split overall. Genre is a different matter though. Crime and thrillers are about 50-50 (on my shelves), romance is 100% women, SF is mostly male though not completely, horror is all male. Comedy is, perhaps surprisingly, mainly male with one notable exception.

No real answers then, just more questions.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Terry Pratchett
Neil Gaiman
Kate Atkinson
Val McDermid
Patricia Cornwell
Iain Banks.

I think men just have less time to blog -- football and telly, anyone? Or is that sexist of me?

Lily Sheehan said...

I think I'm probably gonna say all women but here goes:

Marian Keyes
Sophie Kinsella
Chris Manby
JK Rowling
Cally Taylor - just read her book
and who could forget....
roald dahl
i know you said 6 but I almost forgot John Diamond (C is an amazing read!)

DOT said...

Interesting poser. My six are predominately male and Catholic influenced by my Mum's bookshelves when I was in my early teens. So:

Graham Greene
Evelyn Waugh
Anthony Powell

Then the French mob - my Mum sppoke fluent French

Albert Camus
Jean-Paul Sartre
Simone de Beauvoir

I didn't appreciate half of what was written at the time but it was a good education.

I don't differentiate between gender when it comes to writing, only to genre. I like literary fiction, Complex, thought provoking prose I don't fully grasp. However, it interests me in all the blogs I follow, mostly women I hasten to add, that women bloggers appear to get far more response in terms of comment than male bloggers. This may be a distorted, male-insecure point of view, it may also be that women invite comment more than the male bloggers I follow. I know I tend towards being didactic in tone - my daughters call me the lecturer not without cause - but I regard myself always as polemic. I never necessarily believe what I state but invite response. Debate opens ups one views and I hold dear absolute belief in one's opinions leads to early reification of the brain and premature death.

Liane Spicer said...

That's quite a breakfast! Enough to make me eschew my 'fruits only' resolution.

My books are mostly in boxes so I have no idea how the male/female ratio balances out, but the ones on my bedhead bookshelf right now seem about half/half, including:

Julia Cameron
Douglas Adams
Dick Francis
Ray Bradbury
Octavia Butler
Heather Sellers

HelenMHunt said...

Ooh, here goes -

Kate Atkinson
Agatha Christie
Robert Barnard
Colin Dexter
Dick Francis
Jasper Fforde

I think that probably says more about genre than about male/female balance in my collection.

At the moment I tend to spend most of my time reading books that I've been sent to review, so I don't exercise gender bias in my reading choices at the moment - and it's a great way of getting to know new writers, both male and female.

Kate Lord Brown said...

First six: Colette, William Boyd, Muriel Spark, Anais Nin, Doris Lessing, Alice Munro. With you on the girls :)