I have been trying for some time to articulate what I see as an important missing link to discussions about how to improve women’s status in the literary world–namely, improving their profile in our understanding of the literary past. If students come out of college with little exposure to women writers, as they continue to do in large numbers, then it is no wonder they have a hard time imagining women writers as key players in the literary present.
Yesterday, I published an article on The Millions website. It is a response to the VIDA count, which came out two weeks ago, along with recommendations for how to advance women writers, including urging teachers to include diverse books in their classrooms. I write, in part,
The real issue, of course, is not the numbers, although they are important. The underlying issue is how we decide what writing has value. For so long as the lives and experiences of women and people of color are undervalued, so will their writing be.
I also include recommended reading by women writers of the nineteenth century that most people still don’t know, but should (including Woolson, of course). I would love for you to read the essay and share your thoughts with me. Read more.