Sad Things I Read Today

In 1998 I was on a jury of three choosing a literary prize.  From 104 novels, we selected a winner and four books for the shortlist, arriving at consensus with unusual ease and unanimity.  We were three women, and the books we chose were all written by women.  The eldest and wisest of us said, Ouch!  If a jury of women picks only women finalists, people will call us a feminist cabal and dismiss our choices as prejudiced, and the winning book will suffer for it.

 I said, But if we were men and picked all books by men, nobody would say a damn thing about it.

True, said our Wise Woman, but we want our winner to have credibility, and the only way three women can have credibility as a jury is to have some men on the short list.

Against my heart and will, I agreed.  And so two women who should have been there got bumped from our shortlist, and the two men whose books we had placed sixth and seventh got on it.

— Ursula K. LeGuin, “Award and Gender,” The Wave in the Mind, Shambhala Press, 2004

* * *

That moment when you wonder what you would write, if you weren’t afraid.

— A tweet that flipped past on my feed. If its yours and you want to own it, let me know, and I’ll append your name

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