Iconic Novels Women Published Under Male Pen Names Are Being Re-Released
- Classic novels that were written by women using male pen names are being re-released under the author's real name thanks to a partnership between the Women's Prize for Fiction and Baileys.
- The Reclaim Her Name campaign features 25 novels that are now available as free digital books with new cover art celebrating the writer's true identity.
- Titles in the project include Iras: A Mystery by Henrietta Everett, Painted Clay by Doris Boake Kerr, and Middlemarch by Mary Ann Evans.
Books featured as part of the project include Middlemarch by Mary Ann Evans (published as George Eliot), Indiana by Amantine Aurore Dupin (published as George Sand), and Cecila de Noël by Mary Hawker (published as Lanoe Falconer). Many of these novels were written in the late 19th century at a time when women writers were not taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
Per Baileys, the books will not be sold, instead, "The full collection of 25 books are free to download as e-books so as many people as possible can have access to these amazing works. Physical box sets will also be donated to libraries across the country."
The issue of unequal representation in the fiction world is ongoing. A 2011 study of The New York Review of Books found that the vaunted publication reviewed 71 female authors that year, as opposed to 293 male authors. In the case of The New York Times, the paper reviewed 273 women compared to 520 men that year. Even today, women writers have spoken about pressure from their publishers to adopt a pen name that makes their gender difficult to identify, specifically Sharon Bolton, who has been published as SJ Bolton, and Joanne Rowling, who is better known as J.K. Rowling. Rowling has said she was so eager to get her book released that she acquiesced to their suggestion, which was based around a belief it would attract more male readers.
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To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we’ve teamed up with @baileysofficial to do something very special. Introducing the #ReclaimHerName collection, 25 books previously published under male pen names, with the real, female authors' names finally printed on them (head to our website to see the full list 👉)
The Women's Prize for Fiction is a prestigious literary award honoring full-length works of fiction written by women from around the world. The 2020 shortlist of nominees consists of Dominicana by Angie Cruz, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell, and Weather by Jenny Offill.
Making these books widely available and shining a light on the true identity of their writers will hopefully continue to erode the old world gender biases of the publishing industry and inspire young women novelists to tell their stories without having to compromise.
View the original story here: Iconic Novels Women Published Under Male Pen Names Are Being Re-Released.