The Arts

Mar 10, 2017

Not a single female author in Australia worthy of ABR’s gender fellowship

Literary journal ABR advertised for a ‘gender fellowship’. But when the applications came in, none were deemed good enough.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

When the Australian Book Review advertised a “gender fellowship” last year, the news was greeted positively in the local literary scene. The gender fellowship had $7500 funding attached. Winners were promised the opportunity to write a long-form essay on the topic of “gender in contemporary Australian creative writing in all its forms". But after advertising for award and taking submissions, ABR announced this week that it would not give out the award.

Gender bias in Australian literature is nothing new. Like many other sections of society, Australian letters remains stubbornly male-dominated. According to the Stella Count of reviews of Australian books, conducted in 2015, the majority of reviews in 12 of 13 journals were by men.

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3 thoughts on “Not a single female author in Australia worthy of ABR’s gender fellowship

  1. Roni O'Brien

    Just as we do in legal trials, if the fact finders cannot reach a decision then they must excuse themselves and call for a new trial. Having found themselves at an impasse, Peter Rose, et al should have handed the selection process over to a fresh panel. A major Australian literary publication’s selection panel claiming, “No woman was good enough” is egocentric, self destruction in the extreme.

  2. Stuart Omond

    Hey Crikey, in Friday’s Insider email this article about the lack of reviews of female authors was followed by “recommendations from the bunker” recommending precisely zero articles written by women. Just sayin’…

  3. Rosemary White

    What is the y-axis on that graph? % of what?

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