Feminizing the canon, are we?

The Paris Review has started this new column they call “Feminize Your Canon,” which looks like the best idea I’ve seen lately in support of women’s writing. There is a but, though.

It depressed me like nothing else. If you are an unsuccessful women writer, it will depress you too. I honestly didn’t need help in this direction. My personal desk drawer (just an expression, although I could rename my computer folder where I collect all the finished work) is filled to bursting with little malformed, rejected monsters who do a good enough job of reminding me that I am crap at what I do. So now I don’t know if I need, on top of that, to read these biographies and start identifying with all the unappreciated women who ever dared to follow a literary career.

The first article of this series is on Olivia Manning, written by Emma Garman. Now I don’t recall having read anything of Olivia Manning’s, but this piece makes her sound like a very hopeful, confident writer who never got, and here is the thing, what “she thought she deserved.” Emma Garman doesn’t really make it clear if she personally believes Manning deserves a place in the canon, but only that Manning herself was very confident that she merited recognition. Which obviously never really came.

So, yeah, abandon all hope ye who enter.


  1. I think that publishing in general is a depressing place and the odds of getting published as a woman are not advantageous, so the best way to increase your chances is to take more chances, write more and keep putting it out there! Something will stick – it’s basic probability. You are not crap, Lori! I believe in you, why don’t you?

    • Thank you, Rachel! That is a perspective that really helps. I’m in such a bad place right now in regard to my writing, it’s just … I could use all the advice on how to manage to carry on 😘

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