Why is history still written mainly by men?

Fantastic article in The Guardian: Only four female writers appeared in the list of top 50 bestselling history titles in the UK last year. And women are still perceived as more suited to writing about drawing rooms than battlefields. Why? Leading historians and biographers discuss sexism and subject matter. All the big British names in history and biography have contributed to the piece, and quite a few big names from elsewhere too.  Well worth a look. And if you are in the longform essay mood, try this review by Janet [...]

2018-03-27T20:31:57+11:00February 8th, 2016|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

Where does non-fiction end and fiction begin?

Back in April I drew your attention to a marvelous review by Janet Malcolm of the non-fiction work of Joseph Mitchell.  In the course of the review Malcolm makes the startling revelation that his non-fiction is substantially enhanced by the (recently discovered) fictional additions. Mitchell’s travels across the line that separates fiction and nonfiction are his singular feat. His impatience with the annoying, boring bits of actuality, his slashings through the underbrush of unreadable facticity, give his pieces their electric force, are why they’re so much more exciting to read [...]

A Book Review by Janet Malcolm

Of course you should click through and read it.  It's a book review by Janet Malcolm.  Yes, Janet Malcolm. In the New York Review of Books.  The Master Writer of the City is Malcolm's review of a biography of a writer, Joseph Mitchell.  And in the course of the review Malcolm writes about writing.  That alone makes it worth your while. Apparently the biographer discovers that some of Mitchell's non-fiction pieces in fact included quite a lot of fiction.  Malcolm ostensibly does not approve of such creative flights.  Or does [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:39+11:00April 8th, 2015|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

Books about Biography

Sometimes it seems like I spend more time reading about writing than actually writing. More time listening to people talk about books (at festivals, on podcasts, in book reviews) than actually reading. I could beat myself up about this - and sometimes I do - but more often I just accept that I reading and writing are important to me.  I enjoy the theory as well as the practice.  As an inevitable result of my interest in words, many of the books on my shelves (Liatorp, Ikea - much admired [...]

2018-03-21T14:56:15+11:00September 11th, 2014|Writing|0 Comments
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