There are several things on the Twitters today that are making me ARGH, but this is one of the less rage-inducing ones, and more eye-rolly, so I can deal. Anyway, this is the story, and with context, you see why I’m more eyerolls than raging even though I did maayybe yell “NELLIE BLY” at the screen. I mean, maybe he really doesn’t rate her, which, fair enough, but I feel not rating Nellie Bly is in itself still worthy of an eyeroll. Or maybe no-one was still talking about her when he was a young man, she is quite a bit older than him. Then I read this quote from him: women writers “aren’t interested in ‘uneducated’ or ‘anti-social’ types.” Which is self-evidently a ridiculous thing to say in the way all sentences that begin with words that mean “all women think x” are, and I also yelled Nellie Bly again. (One of her most famous works in the undercover stuff she did in mental hospitals of the time, as a patient. In the 19th century.)
Peggy Hull? Dorothy Thompson? They were both war reporters, meaning the World Wars. I feel obligated to talk about journalists I admire since he’s a journalist even though the question referred to any writers generally. Those are names I recall offhand – I know there’re plenty more. And just, ugh, it’s bleh what he said, but many people are turning it into a positive by using it as a starting point to talk about the women writers who inspire them. Which is smashing. And I shall do the same, but I think I’ve written a post a bit like this before, so this time, it shall be an EXCITING GAME. Well, an exciting game for me, less so for you, lovely reader, though do feel free to join in. Anyway, the challenge will be this, I have ten minutes to write down as many women writers as I can who’ve inspired me in some way. I’m not allowed to look at my bookshelves or the Internet. Also I have to write a snippet of commentary for extra, um, points. Yes.
Off we go:
Naomi Mitchsion – I wrote a whole essay about how she is great. SHE IS GREAT. Also, Scottish.
Hilary Mantel – Greatest living British novelist, probably.
Susanna Clarke – Clarke is totally amazing, and I wonder a bit if I don’t think she’s better than Mantel cause genre and maybe I have some unrecognised bias? This is clearly the time to be thinking about this.
Jane Austen – lolarious, and delightful and I keep Mansfield Park unread cause I don’t like the idea of No More Austen.
Mary Shelley – Pioneering SF, yay! It is ridic how much we can trace back to her ideas.
Margaret Cavandish – I think her Blazing World is the earliest prose fiction I’ve read. More pioneering SF!
Le Guin – Obv. Introduced me to a bewildering array of perspectives and ideas.
Butler – Same as above, but could feel closer and more immediate.
Aliette de Bodard- my favourite living SFF short story writer. Also, many spaceships.
Lois McMaster Bujold – Why are ALL the space novels not about Cordelia?? (Yes, I know, fans of Miles, I know, they’re great, but still, Cordelia.)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman – I had yellow wallpaper in my bedroom as a child, just to give *that* story ADDED JOY.
George Eliot – Ah, small towns and how little they change in 150 years.
Christina Rossetti – I know a poem! A whole poem not in Scots, and it is hers.
Elizabeth Bear – I’m still reading that trilogy with the moons being the heirs still alive and I’m going so slow because I don’t want it to end.
J. K. Rowling – SHUSHT. Those first three books, do you remember? And the week Goblin of Fire came out. It was pretty magic.
Enid Blyton – I think she instilled a lifelong love of small islands with secrets.
Jill Murphy -I love Rowling, but this was my first and most magical magic school.
Jen Williams – she writes the fantasy of my heart.
N. K. Jemisin – I’m reading the Fifth Season right now, I mean not this second, but right now. It is QUITE THE GOOD.
Naomi Novik – I was never too taken with the dragon ones, suspect cause I knew way too much re Napoleonic era and couldn’t gloss over stuff easily, but omg Uprooted? Ilu.
Margaret Atwood – made me angrier about things I should be angrier about.
bell hooks – makes me very aware of how much I don’t know or understand but that I should always keep trying. TWEE, but whatev.
Connie Willis – the writing is amaze (when it is not the Blitz, ahrrm), but she also made me totally okay with talking about daft things, for reasons.
Charlotte Bronte -NEVER EMILY.
C. L. Moore – first women SF writer pre-seventies that I really got stuck into.
Shirley Jackson – I don’t like horror, but I keep making exceptions so maybe I do really.
Diane Duane – ROMULANS.
Daphne du Maurier – I think I read Rebecca in four hours. QUICK FOR ME.
Katherine Addison – Hell yeah, cosy fantasy needs to be a subgenre.
Okay, I cheated a bit that was more like twelve minutes, STILL. Definitely not the worst list I’ve ever made.