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Sunday, September 11, 2005

And in further gender news...

The Guardian ran an article this past July entitled "Women rewrite gender balance of bestseller lists." More telling was the sub-title: "Old literary habit of adopting a male pseudonym could be reversed as female authors' works fly off shelves." Citing best-seller authors, J. K. Rowlings and Danielle Steele as present and past market influences, the article looked at both the New York Times list and the Booksellers Magazine list in London during that point in time and saw both were led by female authors, Janet Evanovich in the U. S. and Maeve Binchy in the U. K.

Author Rachel Field topped the NYT chart in 1942 with her romance, And Now Tomorrow, but that feat was a rarity in the succeeding years. The years 1958 through 1961 had not one woman author breaking onto the NYT chart. Jacqueline Susann's sex-and-drug Hollywood tale, Valley of the Dolls, reached number 1 in 1966 and became a sensation. In 1984 Danielle Steele began her first place marathon with Full Circle. But it was Rowling's ascent in 1999 that turned the tide. The article notes that "until Rowling Valley of the Dolls tied with Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird as the bestselling novels by women."

In 2002, the NYT set up a special children's section just for Rowlings; but that year, nine women reached number 1. This year, five of the ten number 1 authors have been women.

Here's hoping the trend continues (and hoping my name one day appears on that list). :-)

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/11/2005 06:08:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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