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Congratulations to Naomi Alderman

April 15, 2013

Granta today has released its influential “once-a-decade” list of twenty promising British writers.  In the past, the list has identified then little-known authors who later came to be major literary figures, including Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith (twice), and Jeannette Witherspoon.

Of particular interest given some recent posts here at BLT:  the Granta list is dominated by women (in 2003, only eight of the twenty names were women, and this year, only eight of the twenty names were men).  

I’d like to extend particular congratulations to Naomi Alderman, who wrote a fascinating novelistic version of the gospels informed by her own knowledge of Judaism:  that has been well reviewed:  The Liars’ Gospel.  (Oh, and yes, she had previously won the women-only Orange Prize – or as some call it, the “Lemon Prize.”)


(Congratulations to all the other winners as well; I would like to also single out Sunjeev Sahota who reportedly “"had never read a novel until he was 18 – until he bought Midnight’s Children at Heathrow. He studied math[ematic]s, he works in marketing and finance; he lives in Leeds, completely out of the literary world.”)

PS:  Lest we think that this represents a reversal of male-domination of literature, we can also point to recent stories pointing to abysmal figures for women in major literary publications:  at London Review of Books women wrote 24% of reviews and 27% of reviewed books; at New York Review of Books, the figures are 16% of reviews and 22% of reviewed books; at Times Literary Supplement, the figures are 30% of reviews and 25% of reviewed books.

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