‘Male writers get asked what they think, women what they feel’

Congratulations Eleanor Catton for winning The Man Booker prize this year!

Eleanor is young, only 28. Many older male writers are now jealous of her!
She said–


“I have observed that male writers tend to get asked what they think and women what they feel,”

“In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are – about luck and identity and how the idea struck them. The interviews much more seldom engage with the woman as a serious thinker, a philosopher, as a person with preoccupations that are going to sustain them for their lifetime.”

“People whose negative reaction has been most vehement have all been men over about 45.”

“One of those things that you learn in school about any kind of bullying is that it’s always more to do with them than it is to do with you. I don’t see that my age has anything to do with what is between the covers of my book, any more than the fact that I am right-handed. It’s a fact of my biography, but it’s uninteresting.”

“A sense of irritation from some critics – that I have been so audacious to have taken up people’s time by writing a long book. There’s a sense in there of: ‘Who do you think you are? You can’t do that.’ Something else related to that is to do with the omniscient third person narration of the book. There’s a feeling of: ‘All right, we can tolerate [this] from a man over 50, but we are not going to be spoken to like that by you.'”

We, women, who are writers know about these too well. Eleanor Catton’s critics remind me of my critics. I was at her age and was the youngest one when I won the most prestigious Bengali literary award Ananda, some older male writers in Bangladesh were so jealous of me! My critics were filthier and nastier than Eleanor’s critics. Once an old male writer filed a libel case against me because I took his masks off in one of my books, they were behind the banning of my books; in West Bengal, they even asked the government to ban my books, they finally managed to make my books banned, and then they did everything to threw me out of my home and my land only because my books were bestsellers and I was more popular than them and I did not respect lit-mafia bosses or bow my head.

It is a man’s world. Like other worlds, the literary world is also dominated by men. Women-writers are still treated as sex objects or as inferior beings. Most men prove that they are selfish, jealous, mean. They have really made themselves so small! Big hearted men are not afraid of being equal. But men’s good qualities are so rare now a days! They do not mind if women get an education, they do not mind if women get a job, but they mind if women get better jobs then men, and they get angry with women if women do better than men.

Eleanor! You go girl!