Where Have All The Good Girls Gone?

July 19th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

In their continuing series of editors, MediaBistro talks to Julia Cheiffetz of Random House. And Cheiffetz talks about her current project, a book with the controversial title of This Is Not Chicklit* and why she believes it’s important for diverse voices in literature.

One day when I was out for a jog, I started to think about all of the big literary novels that have been championed in the past few years: Middlesex, Motherless Brooklyn, The Corrections, Everything is Illuminated&151all great books. But it dawned on me that, more or less, these were all guy books. I started to wonder why there hasn’t been a huge breakout literary novel written by a youngish woman (that didn’t have an ethnic twist). When this came up in conversation with an editor here, he said, “what about The Lovely Bones?” Well, that’s not quite what I meant. And it’s true that this year Random House was lucky enough to publish Prep. But still I think it’s an issue.

Fabulous women writers of literary fiction do exist but, sadly, they don’t always get the kind the kind of exposure they deserve. I wanted to publish This Is Not Chick Lit to gather these writers in one place.

After discussing the importance of remaining true to your art (or writing what you need to write rather than writing to what you perceive to be the market, Cheiffetz goes on to say,

This is a really tough question. Gender obviously informs the way we perceive the world. I think much of Francine Prose’s 1998 Harper’s article “Scent of a Woman’s Ink” still holds up. The editorial process is the same for men and women.

* – There are lots of places to find discussions about this title. We think it’s great that people are talking about a book. We also think the title is great — it’s time to open the doors here.

File Under: Publishers and Editors