Friday, 15 February 2008

Book Prize Judges in Male Shock

They've announced the judges for next year's German Book Prize. And look, they're six men and one woman. Oh no, I can hear you groaning, she's going to bang on about quotas and participation now. Too right I am!

The book business is a female industry. It doesn't pay all that well, it's "creative", you don't usually earn much recognition, and it's mostly a hard slog. Women make up the mass of the readership and the junior ranks in the publishing world. Women write a lot of books, and women translate a lot of books. According to HJ, women also get more toilets than men at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which must mean something.

But it seems that information hasn't quite filtered through to the German Book Prize. Now I'm not expecting them to select pop songstresses for the panel like the Orange Prize. Nor do I want women on there merely for the sake of shutting young harridans like me up. I'm not sure whether women and men have different reading tastes and writing styles, nor whether that actually matters. But I am sure that an industry that sells mainly to women should embrace women at the top (not literally) - if only for barefaced economic reasons.

But the people choosing the judges seem to be mostly men too. So no surprises there then.

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