Kamila Shamsie: ‘Let’s make 2018 the Year of Publishing Women, in which no new titles should be by men.’

Our thanks to Russell for this in – of course – The Guardian. Could there be any better evidence of the nasty, anti-meritocratic, totalitarian streak that runs through feminists? Kamila Shamsie calls her piece a ‘provocation’, which reminds me of children who say something nasty to other children and then, seeing the distress caused, say, ‘I was only joking!’

One paragraph alone should give you a flavour of the piece:

Of course, there will be many details to work out, but the basic premise of my “provocation” is that none of the new titles published in that year should be written by men. I’ve been considering literary fiction so far but other groups within fiction – and non-fiction – publishing could gain from signing up too. The knock-on effect of a Year of Publishing Women would be evident in review pages and blogs, in bookshop windows and front-of-store displays, in literature festival lineups, in prize submissions. We must learn from the suffragettes that it’s not always necessary or helpful to be polite about our campaigns. If some publishing houses refused to sign up, then it would be for the literary pages and booksellers and bloggers and festivals to say they wouldn’t be able to give space to the male writers who were being published that year. Many male writers would, I’m sure, back the campaign and refuse to submit their books for publication in the given year, while also taking an active part by reading, reviewing and recommending the books that were published.

11 thoughts on “Kamila Shamsie: ‘Let’s make 2018 the Year of Publishing Women, in which no new titles should be by men.’

  1. And who will decide that two books are of ‘equally literary merit’? The women who dominate English Literature education, we can be very sure. My local library in Bedford must have thousands of ‘chick lit’ titles, but not one title by Henry Miller.

  2. I saw this coming a few months ago when a (female) head teacher argued that there should be more books by women on the GCSE syllabus. She proposed that where two books of “equal literary merit” were under consideration, one by a man and one by a woman, the one written by a woman should automatically be selected. I scoured the media for a response over the next few days – none.

  3. Many male writers would, I’m sure, back the campaign and refuse to submit their books for publication … ‘

    This woman may be mentally ill but she is at least clever enough to make the distinction between male writers and men writers. I’m sure scores of effete male writers will sign up to this disgusting idea and I’m equally sure that no men will.

    What I think the men will do, if they are discriminated against, is to found their own publishing houses, rather as actors did in pre-war Hollywood with production companies like United Artists. And it isn’t beyond the wit of men to start their own, men only, literary festivals. Stuck in their own little bubbles, feminists make the mistake of thinking that because women are completely useless without men to do everything important for them, helplessness is the universally obtaining normality, so that men are simply going to have to sit helplessly by when women temporarily have control and exclude us from the process. You might reasonably expect them to have learned by now that we don’t think or behave like that.

    So men go off, get together, found their own publishing houses and festivals, the established houses and festivals fail because not enough readers are buying the dire output of most female writers and not enough festival goers want to listen to the insipid self-serving drivel that flows from the mouths of most female writers and the women demand … what?

    At some point women will be disenfranchised, the welfare state will be dismantled, the mental hospitals will be re-opened and sanity will return to our national life.

  4. Indeed it is. On a serious note men really must use the existing laws. In our legal ystem something doesn’t really become law until there is ” case law” ie. cases that establish what the written law actually means in practice. Hence the CPS desperation to find one (and so far only one) FGM case to prosecute. Men and women will have to use the laws to get change. Thus although “affirmative action” is rife in higher education and employment; the fact that it is “illegal” in written law won’t make much difference until there are cases. Of course another obvious situation is MGM.
    Now in my experience people simply assume what public bodies and large firms do is legal and are unaware of their rights. So it really is important that men and those who care for them are informed and encouraged to take legal actions. Those public bodies aren’t going to do it.

  5. “We must learn from the suffragettes that it’s not always necessary or helpful to be polite about our campaigns…” Firebombing buildings, trains and mailing letterbombs isn’t impolite. It’s terrorism.

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