SHARP 2018 Panel: Quantifying the Biases and Value of Book Reviewing and Prizes
Proposed Panel for SHARP18
Making it Count: Quantifying the Biases and Value of Book Reviews and Prizes
Convenors: Dr Melinda Harvey (Monash) and Dr Julieanne Lamond (ANU)
This panel proposes to bring together researchers who examine book reviewing, prizes, publishing and other consecratory acts in the literary field through quantification.
The past decade has seen a resurgence of attempts to reveal gender bias in prizes and book reviewing through statistics. Since 2010 the VIDA Count has been publishing figures on the relative representation of men and women in the book pages of the major US and UK-based literary publications. In 2015 they added scrutiny of race, ethnicity, sexual identity and (dis)ability to the mix. In Australia, the Stella Prize was established as a response to the ‘sausage fest’ prize shortlists that were becoming routine. Since 2013 they have counted gender bias in reviews and this year they expanded their Stella Count to include feature articles and broadcast data. These projects are instances of successful data-driven feminist activism in the literary sphere. They also constitute an amassing of statistical information that offers the opportunity for scholars to consider how the mediation of literary value is affected by shifts in book publishing and the news media in the internet age. We are in a position to offer new accounts of how books are discussed, how literary authority functions, and who the crucial players are.
We would like to hear from researchers who consider book reviews, prizes, publishing and other consecratory acts through the lens of data and gender. We are particularly interested in work that counts reviews and prizes in national contexts other than the Australian one, makes conscious feminist interventions into the literary field using data and/or approaches these issues with a longer historical perspective.