National Book Awards Are Pleasantly Lady-CentricS

The National Book Award finalists were just announced, and four of the five in fiction are women. Four of the National Book Foundations "5 under 35" are ladies too — maybe all that Franzenfreude is having an effect?

The fiction finalists are Peter Carey, Jaimy Gordon, Nicole Krauss, Lionel Shriver, and Karen Tei Yamashita. And women make a good showing in nonfiction (3 out of 5), poetry (3 out of 5), and young people's literature (also 3 out of 5). Maybe the National Book Foundation took note of the outcry over Publishers Weekly's all male best-of-2009 list — or, more recently, of the controversy over attention paid to Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. That controversy had less to do with the merits of Franzen's actual work than with the fact that, as Franzen himself said, "the categories by which we value fiction are skewed male." Groups like the National Book Foundation have the power to correct this imbalance, and it's good to see them finally doing so.

National Book Awards - 2010 [National Book Foundation]

Earlier: "5 Under 35" Includes Four Literary Ladies
Why Books By Women Aren't "Serious"
On Freedom And "Franzenfreude"