Come See Me in Cambridge, Oranges & Favourite Female Writers

A few bits and bobs today, that all evolve around female writers. First up is the exciting announcement I have been hankering to tell you for a little while, and that is where I am going to be talking about ‘female fiction’ in the Summer at a literary festival I hinted at a while ago (after which a small Orange update will make perfect sense)…  

I had an email from the lovely Sophie Hannah a while back asking if I would be up for joining a panel she is hosting on Sunday June 26th 2011 at Cambridge’s Lucy Cavendish College who host ‘Women’s Word’ each year. I will be on the panel talking about ‘Why Men Don’t Men Read Books By Women and Does It Matter That They Don’t’ and I’m literally be the good guy on the panel that does indeed read a lot of fiction by women writers. I will be up there with our host Sophie Hannah (as I mentioned), and the other confirmed panel members who are poet, playwright and short story writer Michelene Wandor along with writer and Persephone Books founder Nicola Beauman. As you might guess I am really, really excited (it’s the perfect pick me up with all this health nonsense) and already gearing up for it. Which is where the next part of this post might just come in handy…

I am sure you are all aware that The Orange Longlist 2011 was announced this week and I mentioned that I didn’t think I was going to read the longlist… well I am. I am also going to try and read all the books I hadn’t yet managed on my guess list. I have been quite lucky as some Oranges have already made it through my letter box and are now about to be read through (see there are some benefits to having a big operation on your birthday, this coming Thursday, and then having lots of recuperation time), I doubt very much I will manage the 19 I haven’t read yet, for ‘Room’ was devoured last year, but then I don’t have them all. I do have these to be getting on with…

I think this will be perfect reading material to get me thinking and bursting with ideas and thoughts for the talk. I will also be doing a post next week asking you for your help, but I think maybe that’s enough excitement for one day. If you do happen to be free on Sunday 26th of June I would love to see you in a hopefully sunny Cambridge. I will be making a weekend of it and going backstage and meeting everyone so will report back if you can’t! Oh, and on the subject of books by women, don’t forget you can win one of the best, in my opinion, female novelist debuts in recent years – so go have a gander at that.

In the meantime can you tell me who your favourite female author (alive or dead) is, why and what it is about them that simply means I have to go and read them now? I might just surprise some of you with some more goodies for this one too as would be very good research for me! You can probably all guess mine.

22 Comments

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22 responses to “Come See Me in Cambridge, Oranges & Favourite Female Writers

  1. The Widow’s Season by Laura Brodie was good! Still Missing by Chevy Stevens was also good.

  2. Bet

    There’s no way to pick just one, as most of my favorite authors are female! So how about if I pick different ones for different categories– is that cheating?

    My favorite 19th century author is George Eliot.
    I can’t imagine picking a 20th century author– there are just too many! Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Whipple, Sigrid Undset, Margaret Atwood… no waaay can I pick just one!

    • Different ones in different catagories is certainly not cheating at all, in fact it could provide me with a furture post on this very subject Bet. Thanks for your recommendations. I only started reading Elizabeth Taylor this year and already love her.

  3. Ah, another reader for the Orange longlist bandwagon. 🙂 Yay! I think there are quite a few of us at it now. Have a lovely time in Cambridge – it sounds like a very interesting panel and I can’t wait to read about it.

  4. novelinsights

    New favourite female author… Barbara Comyns.

    Interestingly, I had to think about that a bit as usually my favourites are male! (Wilde, Dostoyevsky, Capote…)

    • Ooooh I have yet to read any Comyns so thats another name noted down. Its weird, in my head I dont like male authors and dont read any, this at the end of each year turns out to be untrue when I look at what I have read.

  5. Caroline

    I have many favourite authors – I know that’s a tautology – and most of them are women. After much thought, however, I’ve whittled them down to five, in order… Molly Keane, Jane Gardam, Astrid Lindgren, Angela Carter and Beatrix Potter. Molly Keane transports me on every reading, with captivating observation and wit, to a lost world of extraordinary characters. That’s all I need for a good read!

    • I have never heard of the expression ‘tautology’ before. I had to go and look it up haha. I have only read two of your list and have never heard of Astrid Lindgren. I have a few Molly Keanes in the tbr so maybe I will turn to those soon.

  6. Simon, I just wanted to stop by and said great news about the panel, you’ll be fab-u-lous and I also wanted to wish you a happy birthday and lots of good luck for Thursday x

    • Thanks very much Lynne, I am feeling just every so very blinking nervous. I am hoping I dont make a fool of myself at the event, but its given me something to focus on getting better for.

  7. I’ve been really impressed with Sarah Waltersm Edith Wharton and Helen Dunmore lately. Those are the ones that imediately spring to mind.

  8. I don’t think I can name just one favorite female author, so I’ll just name the few that truly amaze me each time I read their work:

    Sandra Cisneros
    Jean Rhys
    Yoko Ogawa
    Margaret Atwood
    Jhumpa Lahiri

    These women are beyond talented and have created such brilliant pieces of work, how could they not be some of my favoritre writers. The ways in which they are all capable of manipulating the written language to bend at their will and become stories that inspire such emotional responses is compeletely mindblowing to me. They are all must reads!!

    • Oooh good list! I have read three of them, been meaning to read Lahiri and have never heard of Sandra Cisneros so will have to look her up pronto. This is great finding out about so many authors I have not heard of but are firm favourites. I must read Ogawa’s latest soon.

  9. Well, you already know who my favourite female author is: good auld JJ!! 🙂

    Big congrats on being appointed to the panel: you’ll be terrific!

    And best wishes for your birthday too. I’m still trying to sort out a date to come see you… life seems to have got horribly busy of late!

    • I got your email Kim, will be emailing you back but think the 30th might be the best bet, am in hospital all the other times, how ridiculous!

      I have a big thanks that I owe you for the JJ introduction.

  10. Henrietta

    So many authors already mentioned. Might I add Olivia Manning, Alice Thomas Ellis and Penelopy Lively to the list?

    • I have not tried Penelope Lively, is she wonderful? I always get Penelope Lively and Penelope Fitzgerald mixed up.

      • I got them mixed up for years as well and finally added them both to my list of favourites, which made it easier. I’ve got a Mortimer muddled in there now too.

        I’m also reading the longlist for the Orange, so am looking forward to your responses to those 20 novels.

  11. Pingback: Why don’t men read books by women? | Novel Insights

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