A woman won a $1m literary prize. Three men turned up to collect the check.

Originally published at: A woman won a $1m literary prize. Three men turned up to collect the check. | Boing Boing


Shades of JT LeRoy.


The men, all in their 40s and 50s, denied choosing a female pseudonym to help sell the books. …

Yeah, once they hired a model to portray the author that denial is about as compelling as … as a novel about the inner life of a quirky, sensual, and adventurous woman marketed as written by three middle-aged dudes.


Simpsons did it.


‘Spain’s Elena Ferrante’

ultra-violent, macabre novels

I think I got Mom some 'Elena Ferrante’ novels. It certainly puts her literary tastes in a new light!


Their lead character in the Carmen Mola novels is detective Elena Blanco, a “peculiar and solitary woman, who loves grappa, karaoke, classic cars and sex in SUVs”, according to publisher Penguin Random House.

All at the same time? And on the job?


Oh god, there’s got to be passages waxing eloquent about her perky boobs which somehow operate independently of the laws of physics.


Three men write under pseudonym with backstory only three men could imagine!


It’s less complicated as a solitary woman.


The onebox immediately made me think of Caroline Keene and Franklin W Dixon.


“As usual, anger flows toward the women complaining, not the men laughing.”

Weird way to end this article. I’m sure it’s true, but…


Grappa, Karaoke and sex in SUV’s does not sound like the pursuits of a solitary person at all.

That sounds like solidly extrovert territory.


I could buy a woman writing a female character who was into some of these things, but all of these things together somehow screams “female character written by a man”.


The last two of those things would seem to suggest at least two men, who do not see eye to eye on cars and/or sex.


Nevertheless, from the Gurardian article.>

Last year, a regional branch of the Women’s Institute recommended one of Mola’s works as part of a selection of books by female authors including Margaret Atwood that could “help us understand the reality and the experiences of women in different periods of history and contribute to raising awareness about rights and freedoms”.

It would appear that nobody had any concerns about the author’s ability to write about women’s experiences until this reveal. If anyone’s judgement of the content of the novels changes now that this information is known, I think it says more about them than it does about the novel.


I don’t know a lot about the current book market, except in a recent incident I believe that marketing of who wrote it is a huge deal and there is a cult of personality around certain authors. James Patterson evidently has a whole system worked out where he plots and others write books for him, marketed under his name - and has been very successful. So successful that Conde Nast hired him to write a new book of The Shadow. Though, evidently, it has very little resemblance to the 300+ pulp stories, and dozens of comic stories, or even the 200+ radio shows. Pretty much any fan of The Shadow hated the book. I have no idea how Patterson fans received it. But for Conde Nast, it is a win if they sell books, and Patterson continues to make books, and the marketing drum beats on.

So anyway, the fact that 3 guys marketed themselves to be appealing to readers, really isn’t surprising in the least.

While we are talking about books, my GF highly recommends Stephen Graham Jone’s The Only Good Indians. I saw an amazing cover for the Mexican market (or maybe fan made?) but I can’t find it now. Anyway, she highly recommends it.


Because feminism means “not like those other girls!”


You say that but do you actually think that anyone would listen if some one was like “I don’t believe that is a woman” when they went to great lengths to pretend that it was? I would actually hope not generally.

Realistically it says most about the limitations that keep actual women from working as authors and how futile it feels to fight against that even in places where people are trying. At least that’s what it says to me :frowning:

Also: Fierce Femmes: The Problem with Strong Female Characters | by Rachel Wayne | Medium

And it’s worth noting that of any of the examples only Ripley wasn’t written by men with “being a strong female” as her main defining characteristic.


Oof. Hiring a model to represent your pen name? That’s when they jumped the shark on this idea. I have zero problem with folks wanting to use pseudonyms when publishing a book. There’s lots of reasons to do so. But they misrepresented who they really are when they went that far.

There’s another whole argument wrapped around “not enough female authors as it is, and how many great women writers were ignored by the publisher to give three white guys another opportunity in the market by pretending they’re something else,” but what do I know. I’m a cis white male author writing female protagonists into my novels… but I already made the conscious decision I’ll publish under my own name rather than misrepresent who I am in the hope it’ll increase sales. Because I honestly can’t see any other reason they would do it. They could have just as easily picked a false male name.

I mean, sure, good for them if the character is a well written female protagonist. But maybe they’ll be a little braver going forward and willing to open themselves up to criticism if that’s not the case, rather than hiding behind a nom de plume of the opposite gender.


And it had to be a model, not a regular soccer mom or retired teacher.