Thursday, 16 July 2015

Writing - Voices of Women




Throughout the last hundred years and possibly longer there have been moves to bring greater recognition to the artistic talents of women. The levels of success have been varied.

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Evelyn Glennie

Percussionist Evelyn Glennie is one lady who has been successful in a realm of the arts that women have struggled to gain recognition - Music. There have been plenty of female composers also but can you name one? It seems that some of the reasons are to do with composers studied by music students - almost exclusively white, male and dead! There is also a tailing off of interest from girls at high school around the mid teen years. However, there is an increase in women composing great music.  

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Caroline Shotton's work

Then there is art work by lady painters and sculptors. I happen to like the humour in Caroline Shotton's work. As with the area of music, art has been a difficult area but things are improving.

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Enheduanna

I finally come to women in writing. Enheduanna was a priestess poet, princess and probably the first named writer. She lived between 2285 and 2250BC and was the daughter of a Mesopotamian king. She became well known as the first writer to attach a signature to her work, which was rare as the concept of 'I' was withheld from women. 
The status of women in China was exceedingly low over many centuries apart from a minor 'blip' in the seventh century when the country was ruled by a woman - Empress Wu Zetian from 624 - 705AD. During that period of time China's women flourished as poets and painters.
The role of women in literature has been stronger for longer than in other branches of the arts.

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Bronte sisters

In my adopted home county of Yorkshire we have three great literary ladies in the Bronte sisters. In age order Charlotte (39), Emily (30) and Anne (29) were very quickly recognised for their talent but sadly all died at relatively young ages. Their home was the parsonage in the town of Haworth which is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and which is visited by literary pilgrims in their thousands every year.

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Self-publishing

The rise of self-publishing has had the affect of giving everyone a level playing field irrespective of gender or background. There are some amazing stories out there and as likely to be produced by a woman as a man. The modern era has short circuited the traditional publishing industry which to my mind is fairer.
In the circle of writers I have connected with there are a number of excellent women writers including, Christina Carson and Carolyn Arnold to name but two. As readers we choose to read books for all kinds or reasons but I make a plea that we don't allow innate prejudices to limit the type of authors we read.

God Bless