There has been much talk about the gender imbalance in literature, especially encouraged when VIDA, an organisation founded in 2009 to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women, came up with some pie charts in 2011 that track the number of women and men both reviewing and being reviewed at some of the most popular publications on both sides of the atlantic. The latest author to weigh in on this debate is Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot, Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides). In an interview with Salon, when asked if books by men and women on similar topics are received differently, he dismissed the issue, saying that he didn’t know why Jodi Picoult, a commercially successful author, was “belly-aching“: “It seems to me that there’s a difference between the kinds of books that Jonathan Franzen writes and Jodi Picoult writes – so it’s not surprising to me that they’re treated differently in terms of review coverage or literary coverage. I don’t think that’s based on gender.” Yesterday, Linda Holmes of NPR incisively unravelled the merits of Eugenides’s comments.
Shakespeare on the big screen: You can now catch three stage plays that originally ran at the Shakespeare’s Globe last year—All’s Well That Ends Well (from 26 Sep/UK), Much Ado About Nothing (from 10 Oct/UK), Doctor Faustus (from 24 Oct/UK)—on the big screen at local cinemas in the UK, USA, Australia, and New Zealand. Visit globeonscreen.com for more details.
The Huffington Post celebrated what would have been the 124th birthday of T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) on 26 September with a gallery of his best quotes and images. One of them—”I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”—from the poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It is probably worth also going back to his Paris Review interview.
The Southbank Centre has some great literature and spoken word events coming up in the next few months. D. T. Max (author of the biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story), Richard Ford (Canada), Orhan Pamuk (Snow, Museum of Innocence), Pat Barker (Toby’s Room, the Regeneration trilogy), New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik (Paris to the Moon), Edna O’Brien (The Country Girls), Phillip Pullman (the His Dark Materials trilogy), and this year’s shortlisted Man Booker prize authors will all be making an appearance. Phillip Pullman will also be comparing notes with Neil Gaiman at the Cambridge Theatre, London on Monday, 29 October at 7:30pm—bound to sell out so get your tickets here now!