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Old 9th Mar 2012, 18:14   #21
Mookse
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Default Re: Orange Prize 2012

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Originally Posted by Stradlater View Post
I wish there wasn't a need for the prize. But, clearly, from statistics issued only in the past few weeks (the VIDA stats, the IFF prize, the translation prize, all showing that a gender bias exists) there is a need for it.
There certainly is an imbalance. A few years ago I ran the numbers on the Booker and some American prizes, and there's just no two-ways about it. However, my findings showed no improvement in those prizes (a slightly larger imbalance, in fact) once the Orange Prize was created, but these kinds of things take years to readjust, if they ever do.

Another thing to point out, the IFF prize and the translation prize are going to continue to have massive gender imbalance because books written by women make up only a slight percentage of books translated into English. We can't blame the prizes then, in my opinion, but it's astonishing how few translated authors are women -- though many of the translators are. Not important, but worth noting, the last two winners of the Best Translated Book Awards were books originally written by women.

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Originally Posted by Polly Parrot View Post
I meant that it being a prize for women only there is a chance that the books they select may not be up to scratch because they have to choose women writers only. As in, perhaps one year the output of women writers isn't all that great. Didn't mean to be vague there.
I think it's just as possible in any given year that there were no good books by men or women. For me, it's not the quality of the books selected that causes me pause. Rather, it's the idea a "corrective" prize can convey, though it's not intentional and is certainly wrong: that women writers need this prize because they cannot compete with men. It's an unintentional backlash that could actually make things worse for women writers.
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Old 10th Mar 2012, 0:42   #22
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Default Re: Gender-specific Prizes, Awards, Lists

The Booker is Commonwealth only. The Orange is women only, but the women can be from anywhere. Can the Commonwealth not compete with the non-Commonwealth? Certainly that's not the reason for the specification, nor is the inability to compete with male authors the reason for the Orange's.

The unintentional backlash that Mookse describes does hit the Orange much more often and more fiercely than the Booker though. Why is that? (rhetorical, no need to answer)
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Old 10th Mar 2012, 1:09   #23
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Default Re: Gender-specific Prizes, Awards, Lists

Note to Stewart: Most women hate to be called "ladies". This came as a surprise to every man on the "Equality and Diversity" course I attended last year. (The course is required where I now work and it's definitely the most interesting and arguably the most important of all the required induction courses.)
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Old 10th Mar 2012, 3:47   #24
Mookse
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Default Re: Gender-specific Prizes, Awards, Lists

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The Booker is Commonwealth only. The Orange is women only, but the women can be from anywhere. Can the Commonwealth not compete with the non-Commonwealth? Certainly that's not the reason for the specification, nor is the inability to compete with male authors the reason for the Orange's.
No, certainly that is not the reason for the Orange Prize, but people, including women who despise the Orange Prize, see its existence as perpetuating a belief that women need to exclude men to be recognized.

As for the Booker, the Commonwealth doesn't suffer from an extended history of institutionalized discrimination. It is more likely that the Booker's establishment be seen as a celebration of one's own (as would a male-only award).
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