Further, Wayne writes, "the mainstream publishing paradigm has shifted from books the highbrow critics are buzzing about to books that [women's book] clubs will embrace. . . . Being a midlist male author who writes about males is a distinct financial disadvantage. Not only will you not get reviewed in the Times, but you won't get reviewed in the women's magazines that drive sales, like People and O, the Oprah Magazine."

But the numbers don't lie: NPR has six times the number of listeners that People and O do combined. It should be obvious who's really talking to more women.

The truth is that major publishers put out more books written by men than women. Print publications write more about books written by men. NPR discusses more books written by men. Unsurprisingly, the best seller list is dominated by books written by men: men outnumbered women 25 to 11 on last year's number-one-best-seller fiction charts. And to be honest, I'm not innocent of this either — in the last calendar year, of the 76 books I wrote about, 42 were by men and only 34 were by women.

Clearly, female novelists have neither the cultural capital nor the financial capital that male novelists do. When will people face up to that? And when will it change?

Eugenia Williamson can be reached at  ewilliamson@phx.com.

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