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Women Winning Fewer Literary Prizes

While women have made great strides in the literary world, they are still coming up short when it comes to winning the prestigious literary prizes such as the Nobel Prize, the Man Booker Prize, and the Pulitzer. Of course the historical context comes into play when tracing the history of the Nobel Prize, but I don’t think that same excuse can be made for the Booker and the Pulitzer; both prizes have had an astounding number of male winners since the year 2000. Is this a deep rooted cultural bias? Is this a reflection of the judges? Are the groups of judges made up equally of male/female judges? For example, the Swedish Academy which is the body responsible for picking the Nobel winner is made up of mostly men. Are men just better writers? That last question is loaded with sarcasm but still a question to be asked when looking at this trend in the literary prize atmosphere.

  • One idea could be to look at the context of literature written by female authors who have been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize. Are they dealing with themes which might be controversial and provocative? – Ryan Errington 6 years ago
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  • Are you thinking of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction or poetry? For fiction, since 2000, there have been six female winners and nine male winners (no one won in 2012). For poetry, since 2000, there have been six female winners and eleven male winners. For the Nobel Prize in literature there have been five female winners and ten male winners since 2000. – JLaurenceCohen 6 years ago
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  • I have never thought about this issue before and would be extremely interested to read about it. Perhaps explore the general bias readers have when reading a female's work as opposed to a male's work...for instance how some female writers opt to use a pen name to prevent this bias. – moespaulding 6 years ago
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