Writer’s Tea Towel

I recently read this very interesting article on the Irish Times website by John Boyne, author of The Hearts Invisible Furies.


In many of the tourist shops around Ireland you will find something known as the literary tea towel. It’s a collage of 12 great Irish writers all of which are men “most of whom look as if they’ve spent the morning drowning puppies.

‘Twelve Irish writers, supposedly our greatest, and not a vagina between them’

The article is a very interesting study on how female authors are treated in the industry and the struggle they face to have their work taken seriously. Read the article here.

I’ve known men who, on showing me a proposed jacket design, have felt pleased by the seriousness of the approach, a sign that their work is intellectual and provocative. And I’ve known women who’ve had to fight tooth and nail to prevent a bare-legged girl lying on her back in a field of hay, laughing her pretty little head off while holding a forget-me-not, being the first image readers associate with their work.”

This is the collage and below is a proposed alternative.

Are you an author? Is this something you’ve encountered in your professional life? Is this something you’ve noticed as a reader?

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4 thoughts on “Writer’s Tea Towel”

  1. I’d definitely prefer the latter, I’m sure there’d be many takers too! Good on John Boyne for coming up with an alternative.
    This is a subject often debated around the subject of so called “classics” and probably one of the reasons I shy away from reading them, for they are voices that are so loud and known and listed on too many reading lists, when there are so many alternate female voices little heard, not to mention female voices from other cultures and even other languages. My reading has changed significantly since I began to analyse it from the point of view of male/female and also by country of origin. I’ve long been interested in ‘other voices’ and hadn’t realised how difficult it was to come across them via traditional publishing and traditional outlets. These days I have a better knowledge of both bloggers and reviewers and alternate publishers who actively look for those voices, and it goes without saying that the percentage of books I read by women continues to rise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read mostly woman as well. I actually have to work to find a male author I want to read haha The trouble is when I want to read a classic it’s hard to find female authors and they are by upper class people as well. Which is understandable since the lower classes weren’t educated but it provides a skewed view of things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, female voices from the past and especially those from ethnic minorities and lower classes had a major challenge in the past and when we do find those voices, they are a rare pearl! Have you read anything by the French author Colette? She strikes me a being a ‘classic’ but a woman outside the norm of society, which seems to be due to quite a different upbringing, I read The Complete Claudine last year and now have a collection of her essays to read this year, I guess it’s the rebel in her that really appeals. I’ve linked my intro to the collection I read last year for you below:

        The Complete Claudine, by Colette – An Introduction

        Like

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