Gender Cheats?

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
Some of you will have read about how an award-winning female author has been revealed to be three male authors:

Female author Mola revealed to be three men at €1m prize ceremony | The Bookseller

With a prize worth one million Euros, the men have been disingenuous about their reasons for choosing a female pen name. One thing that they undoubtedly know is that crime fiction is read predominantly by women and by women older than 45, mainly over 60.

A few years ago, we discussed sexism in publishing and writing as the opposite sex.

Remember, there are famous examples of women who chose male pen names to get published:

12 Women Writers Who Wrote Under Male Pseudonyms

But what do you make of this story? Is it dishonest and unethical to pretend to be a different gender?

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I see no problem. Art comes first. Identity politics will be the demise of Art if we're not careful. It sucks.

This hinges on the idea that a reader has a sort of personal relationship with the writer. Well, perhaps, but that is a fandom issue.

A pseudonym is an artifice, whichever way round it is done gender wise. ARTifice.

What is the substantiation behind a comment such as this? ......'due to biases against female writers'.

What biases? Women writers are ruling the roost right now if anyone is. A mahoosive statement of victimhood presented as an absolute given.
I can totally understand why a team of three chose a pen name, rather than put three author names on the cover (what a design mess that would be!). And if they wanted to choose a female name, for whatever reason, more power to them.

Obviously, their publisher would have known who they actually were, and does it matter to readers? To be honest, I expect 90% of readers don't even notice who the author of a book is when they read it.

I'm inclined to call this a storm in a teacup. Good on them for writing a great story!
An author name is a business brand. It doesn't matter if numerous people co-write under one name or the gender they choose for that name. It doesn't matter if a woman/man/other writes under their birth name, a new name, a psudonym, an other gender name. What matters is the brand. As long as these 3 men continue to write the same genre fiction under the same name, they will satisfy the readership who are buying into that name. Just so long as they don't enter the woman's prize or Mslexia prize for fiction. It wouldn't be cheating (who says they will write better than the leading female entrants?), but it would be dishonest.
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Question: help! what is a typical pitch followup?

News And the next seminar will be…!