Romance novelists pledge to confront abortion ‘taboo’ after Alabama ban


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State senate’s near-total abortion ban prompts demand for genre to treat issue as ‘a normal part of life, not a moral lesson’

Dip into the fast-moving world of romantic fiction and it quickly becomes clear that very few of the fictional couples enjoying mind-blowing sex have any idea how to use a condom. The number of novels that use an unplanned pregnancy as a major plot point is almost as staggering as the sex they contain.

Take The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella, in which a hotel maid is “utterly pleasured” by a Greek tycoon but “discovers her midnight mischief had nine-month consequences!” Or Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir, where “brooding Pietro Agosti is stunned when his sizzling fling with vibrant teacher Molly Armstrong results in her pregnancy”. Was it really that much of a surprise?

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“I’m Not About to Let a Man Take Credit for a Woman’s Work”: Watch the First Batwoman Trailer


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Batwoman trailer Kate Kane Ruby Rose

The CW has released the first trailer for Batwoman, and we… are kinda really into it? It looks super-dramatic in a way that we wouldn’t be surprised if it veered into soap opera territory at some point, and it does lean on the catchphrases. But also there’s something so badass about a queer superhero reshaping Bruce Wayne’s batsuit to fit her own purposes so that there is no doubt about who is saving Gotham in Batman’s absence.

Batwoman, that is. Kate Kane, Bruce’s equally handsome cousin, we’re assuming is going to keep her secret identity under wraps. For now, at least.

Watch the first trailer, which also features Kate’s ex-girlfriend and a potential archnemesis who really likes Alice in Wonderland:

Kate Kane was introduced in The CW’s Arrowverse crossover “Elseworlds” last December, at which point her role as Batwoman was clearly established. Greg Berlanti’s series, then, will serve ...

From Agatha Christie to Gillian Flynn: 50 great thrillers by women


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In response to a list of the 100 best crime novels that had only 28 female authors, Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid and Dreda Say Mitchell and other leading writers nominate some alternatives

When the Sunday Times picked its 100 favourite crime and spy novels published since 1945 last weekend, only 28 were by women. “Seeing the chronic conscious and unconscious bias against work by women is enraging,” wrote Marian Keyes on Twitter. “Yeh, and don’t @ me, saying that men are just better, don’t be that tool.”

Keyes got the ball rolling with some suggestions of books that could have been included. So we asked some of the UK’s best female crime writers for further suggestions, just to get us up to 50 and even the scales.

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Avengers: Endgame Shows Us a Universe That Still Can’t Do Right By Women


This post is by Emily Asher-Perrin from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow

When The Avengers first premiered, it was a team of five men and one woman. It is 2019, and the final journey of that originating Avengers team has come to a close, the first major arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe concluded.

There are certainly more women on the battlefield now, but are they getting their due?

[Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame]

The MCU has been struggling to add more female superheroes to its roster since it set up shop, and nowhere is this dearth more obvious than the big team-up films. But there are other questions here, too. Questions about who takes responsibility and when and why they do it. Questions about who gets to make decisions and who does the dirty work after the fact. Questions about whose lives are most valuable. And when all was said and done, Avengers: Endgame had no better plans for its female ...

Cliques, clubs and cults: the treacherous allure of belonging | sarah henstra


This post is by Sarah Henstra from Books | The Guardian


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Whether it is a social movement or a secret society, humans love to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Novelist Sarah Henstra looks at what we gain from group identity – and what we lose

Two years ago, I drove eight hours south from Toronto with two friends to participate in the Women’s March on Washington DC. That night we hand-lettered our posters (“This pussy grabs back!”) and stitched up the final seams of our pink knitted hats. In the morning, as we descended an escalator to a subway platform awash in pink, we soon realised the march was way too big – 500,000 people – to take its planned route along the National Mall. It was too big to march at all; instead, for seven hours, we stood packed in, shoulder to shoulder, chanting and cheering and straining to hear the speeches from the stage.

In some ...

Risky business: the extraordinary life of firefighter Sabrina Cohen-Hatton


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Homeless as a teenager, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton has spent the last 18 years dealing with everything from fires to car crashes and terrorist attacks. Who better to write a book about life-or-death situations?

Early in her firefighting career, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton was on a shift, rushing towards an emergency call. A crew member had been badly injured. Her partner, Mike, was a member of the four-man team. Was he hurt? Was he alive? For the next four minutes and 37 seconds she tried to retain her composure. At the scene, she found that the injured firefighter wasn’t Mike (now her husband). The wave of relief that washed over her was followed immediately by another – of guilt, having felt relief at another colleague’s ill fortune. That second wave changed the course of her life.

Cohen-Hatton began to research risks to firefighters. She was aghast to find that 80% of industrial accidents were ...

Fifty shades of white: the long fight against racism in romance novels


This post is by Lois Beckett from Books | The Guardian


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For decades, the world of romantic fiction has been divided by a heated debate about racism and diversity. Is there any hope of a happy ending? By Lois Beckett

Last year, the Strand Bookstore in New York convened an all-star panel titled Let’s Woman-Splain Romance! The line to get in the door stretched down the block, and the room was thrumming with glee even before the panel started. This was not an audience that needed to be told that smart women read romance novels, or that the genre could be feminist. The authors speaking that night were all big names, including Beverly Jenkins, an iconic author of African American historical romance – who blew a kiss to the audience as she was introduced to whoops of delight – and two breakout stars of the previous year, Alisha Rai and Alyssa Cole.

The subtext of the event was clear: it was ...

Constellations: Reflections from Life by Sinéad Gleeson – review


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These intimate essays about the author’s chronic bodily ailments are full of hard-won insights

At 13, Sinéad Gleeson began to experience pain in her hip joints: “The bones ground together, literally turning to dust.” Hospital stays became frequent, then rounds of traction, surgery, biopsies, before an eventual diagnosis of monoarticular arthritis, leading to a major operation to fuse the hip joint together with metal plates. Her teenage years were shaped by suffering, by clinical intervention, by the betrayals of her body. At 28, six months to the day after her wedding, she was diagnosed with leukaemia.

But Constellations, Gleeson’s first essay collection, is not a book about illness, though it deserves to take its place among recent literary accounts of physical pain by writers such as Hilary Mantel and Sarah Perry. Rather, it’s a collection of personal, cultural and political reflections from which the fact of living in a ...

The Sex Factor by Victoria Bateman review – punching feminism into economics


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Economics has a serious sex problem, argues this spirited book by the writer known for protesting naked against Brexit, and gender equality is good for prosperity

Victoria Bateman is currently best known for protesting naked against Brexit, but she has also used her body to take a stance at the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society (Bateman is a fellow and lecturer in economics at Cambridge University). She had a couple of garments on, but not the main ones, and she endeavoured, by the shock, to rid the field of its “sex problem”, “to punch feminism into the centre of economics”.

The discipline acts as if feminism had never happened; most of the time, it acts as if women had never happened. And this, according to Bateman, is more than bad manners: it leaves economics powerless to answer its own fundamental questions, which centre on the prosperity of ...

Gripping refugee tale wins Waterstones children’s book prize


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Anti-trafficking campaigner Onjali Q Raúf was inspired to write adventure story The Boy at the Back of the Class by a Syrian mother and baby she encountered in a Calais camp

Onjali Q Raúf has won the Waterstones children’s book prize with her debut novel, which she wrote while recovering from life-saving surgery.

Raúf is founder of the charity Making Herstory, which fights the trafficking and enslavement of women. After botched surgery for endometriosis left her vomiting and in crippling pain, she was told she had only three weeks to live. Further major surgery saved her life, but forced Raúf to spend three months recovering in bed.

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The teenage dandy’s tale: how a female biographer saw Chaucer afresh


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The young Canterbury Tales author was paraded by his employer in scandalously tight outfits, says Oxford academic Marion Turner

He may be revered as the father of English literature, but Geoffrey Chaucer’s first appearance in recorded history is as a teenager wearing leggings so tight one churchman blamed the fashion for bringing back the plague.

Scholars have known since at least 1966 that Elizabeth de Burgh, who employed the adolescent Chaucer, bought him a “paltok” for four shillings at Easter 1357, spending a further three shillings for black and red hose, and a pair of shoes. But Chaucer’s first female biographer, the Oxford academic Marion Turner, suggests that no previous biographer had ever considered what a paltok might be. Delving into contemporary chronicles, she found commentators at the time describing paltoks – a kind of tunic – as “extremely short garments ... which failed to conceal their arses or their private ...

The teenage dandy’s tale: how a female biographer saw Chaucer afresh


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The young Canterbury Tales author was paraded by his employer in scandalously tight outfits, says Oxford academic Marion Turner

He may be revered as the father of English literature, but Geoffrey Chaucer’s first appearance in recorded history is as a teenager wearing leggings so tight one churchman blamed the fashion for bringing back the plague.

Scholars have known since at least 1966 that Elizabeth de Burgh, who employed the adolescent Chaucer, bought him a “paltok” for four shillings at Easter 1357, spending a further three shillings for black and red hose, and a pair of shoes. But Chaucer’s first female biographer, the Oxford academic Marion Turner, suggests that no previous biographer had ever considered what a paltok might be. Delving into contemporary chronicles, she found commentators at the time describing paltoks – a kind of tunic – as “extremely short garments ... which failed to conceal their arses or their private ...

Wellcome prize shortlist celebrates books about masculinity and mental illness


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A transgender boxer’s memoir and Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation are among the six titles vying for the £30,000 prize

From a memoir by the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden to a novel inspired by the life of Alan Turing, the exploration of gender is a key theme on the shortlist for this year’s Wellcome book prize.

The £30,000 award is open to fiction and non-fiction, and aims to celebrate a book that best illuminates “the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives”. The six books shortlisted this year include transgender boxer Thomas Page McBee’s memoir Amateur, an exploration of gender and masculinity that judges said “challenges and confounds some of our most ingrained prejudices”, and Will Eaves’s novel Murmur, which fictionalises the period of Alan Turing’s life when the mathematician was undergoing chemical castration, before he ...

Male and female writers’ media coverage reveals ‘marked bias’


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The Emilia Report, named for England’s first published female poet, analysed the fortunes of writers of opposite sexes in the same market areas

Emilia Bassano became England’s first published female poet in 1610 and – according to some – could be the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets. But Bassano has largely been forgotten by posterity, with her reputation eclipsed by male contemporaries. Four hundred years later, research commissioned by the producers of Emilia, a play about Bassano’s struggle for recognition as an artist, has found that women writers continue to be judged by the “pram in the hallway”, and pigeonholed as domestic rather than taken seriously as authors.

The Emilia Report compared broadsheet coverage of 10 male and female writers in the same market. It found a “marked bias” towards male writers, who received 56% of review coverage. Looking at comparable authors Neil Gaiman and Joanne Harris, who had both ...

Women of Westminster by Rachel Reeves review – the MPs who changed politics


This post is by Jane Merrick from Books | The Guardian


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It is 100 years since Nancy Astor took her seat in the Commons. Has life improved for female MPs?

A question has dogged every woman MP since Nancy Astor took her seat in the Commons 100 years ago, and it is one explored by Rachel Reeves in her book marking that centenary: should female parliamentarians focus on “women’s issues” or approach public policy and law-making as a male colleague would?

Reeves, the Labour MP for Leeds West, shows why it was necessary for women in Parliament to do the former – but in order to build a foundation for the latter, and eventually equality between male and female MPs. Without the pioneers throughout the decades that she celebrates – Eleanor Rathbone campaigning for family allowances, Barbara Castle fighting for equal pay for women, and Harriet Harman and Tessa Jowell pushing for better childcare provision – there would have been much ...

The Guardian view on literature: we need the Nobel prize | Editorial


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The Swedish Academy, with its credibility shattered by a scandal, could not award a prize last year. This year, it will award two. It would have been better to let the gap in the record stand

After cancelling last year’s Nobel prize in literature because of a high-profile scandal in its ranks, the Swedish Academy is making up for lost ground by awarding two this year. A double award is not unprecedented – it has happened before, in 1917, 1966 and 1974 – but on the earlier occasions the money was split. This year’s decision is a mistake. As the former permanent secretary, Sara Danius, suggested, the prize for 2018 should have been left as a gap in the record, as an acknowledgment of the scandal.

Since last year’s debacle, oceans of ink have been spilled debating whether the secretive Academy is in any fit state to remain the world’s ...

Top 10 books about women and the sea | Charlotte Runcie


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From Virginia Woolf to Tove Jansson, author Charlotte Runcie chooses books telling maritime stories too rarely told

The sea, historically, has mostly been a man’s world. Whether the people navigating it were sailors, pirates, explorers, whalers or fishermen bringing home the catch, the women in their families were usually left behind – but, of course, those women’s lives were shaped by the sea, too.

When I started writing my book about the sea, Salt on Your Tongue, it was around the time that I was pregnant with my first child. I’ve always felt drawn to the coast, but now it was the women of the sea who fascinated me most. Sea-women in novels, folklore and songs are often seductive, strong and even supernatural. In the Odyssey and Beowulf, women of the sea can be witches and goddesses, Sirens and mermaids luring men to their doom or spiritual protectors controlling ...

6 Badass Female Time Travelers Who Get the Job Done


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There is no single archetype of the female time traveler. She may be a young newlywed on her honeymoon, or a septuagenarian acting as a secret government weapon. She is black, or white, or from a future less concerned with skin color (but concerned with plenty otherwise). She is a writer, a river rehabilitator, a veteran of a World War. And no two travelers make the same passage through time and space: each of these intricate tales are brought about by everything from futuristic machinery to nanotechnology to magical stones.

Join us under the cut to meet six timestream-hopping women who have left their mark on history!

Note: We’re limiting this list to lady time travelers found in the pages of books—between the Doctor, River Song, Missy, and a delightfully long role-call of companions, we wouldn’t have the time or space for anyone else!

 

Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser (...

Women’s battles become page-turners as #MeToo inspires novelists


This post is by Sarah Hughes from Books | The Guardian


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Rape, persecution and gaslighting are in the spotlight as writers tap into a mood of post-Weinstein honesty

Female writers have responded to the #MeToo movement by taking difficult themes such as rape and gaslighting and exploring them in some of this year’s most anticipated novels.

From books such as Harriet Tyce’s crime debut Blood Orange to witty commercial fiction such as Candice Carty-Williams’s Queenie, female writers are increasingly tackling subjects that were once considered taboo.

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Game over: why haven’t dating guides woken up to new sexual politics?


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


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A domestic violence charity had called for the end of Neil Strauss’ pickup artist book The Game – but dating guides aimed at both women and men are full of retrograde advice

Before writing The Game, Neil Strauss was a self-described “lump of nerd”. But his 2005 bestseller, which has shifted more than 3m copies around the world (270,000 in the UK), revealed the secrets of his midlife transformation into a ladies’ man, through time spent in the company of professional pickup artists. Techniques revealed by Strauss – practised long before his book, but never before exposed to such a big audience – included “negging” (making negative comments to lower a woman’s self-esteem so she’ll stay to earn approval) and “cavemanning” (aggressively escalating physical contact).

None of this reads very well in 2019 and this week, the director of women’s charity Zero Tolerance Rachel Adamson called for UK publisher Canongate ...