Kamila Shamsie: ‘Let’s make 2018 the Year of Publishing Women, in which no new titles should be by men.’

A piece published on the website of Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them), the political party of which I’m the chairman, in March 2016:

Our thanks to Russell for this in – of course – The Guardian. Could there be any better evidence of the nasty, anti-meritocratic, totalitarian streak that runs through feminists? Kamila Shamsie calls her piece a ‘provocation’, which reminds me of children who say something nasty to other children and then, seeing the distress caused, say, ‘I was only joking!’

One paragraph alone should give you a flavour of the piece:

Of course, there will be many details to work out, but the basic premise of my “provocation” is that none of the new titles published in that year should be written by men. I’ve been considering literary fiction so far but other groups within fiction – and non-fiction – publishing could gain from signing up too. The knock-on effect of a Year of Publishing Women would be evident in review pages and blogs, in bookshop windows and front-of-store displays, in literature festival lineups, in prize submissions. We must learn from the suffragettes that it’s not always necessary or helpful to be polite about our campaigns. If some publishing houses refused to sign up, then it would be for the literary pages and booksellers and bloggers and festivals to say they wouldn’t be able to give space to the male writers who were being published that year. Many male writers would, I’m sure, back the campaign and refuse to submit their books for publication in the given year, while also taking an active part by reading, reviewing and recommending the books that were published.

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