Muriel Gray, novelist, television presenter and this year's chair of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (for which male writers are not eligible), accompanied the announcement of the longlist with an accusation that, by and large, the writers this year's panel assessed lacked imagination, and focused too narrowly on their own lives and personal issues.
Women writers don't work hard enough to escape from their own gender and circumstances - in short, says Gray, they're failing to make things up, surely a prerequisite for good, absorbing fiction. She's coined a phrase, rural schoolteacher syndrome, to describe the phenomenon: "the delusory condition that fools the sufferer into believing that an experience, say as ordinary as being a rural school teacher, is so interesting and unique that it's almost compulsory to chronicle it ... thinly disguised as fiction".
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
In the Independent, Suzi Feay reports on a controversial critique from the Orange Prize panel chair.