My conversation on gender parity continues with Felicia Lin who is a Taiwanese American writer. The diaspora of her parents’ generation and Taiwan’s international isolation, have fueled her interest in Taiwan. In 2001, she left New York to live in Taiwan, where a creative breakthrough led her to pursue a career as a writer. Metropolicks, the first book she has co-written, is a romantic comedy novel. Currently she is working on the memoir of Su Beng, a Taiwanese revolutionary, activist and historian.
Here’s her take on the publishing world:
As far as the publishing industry goes, it is a female dominated industry, i.e. there are more women working in the field of publishing than men. However the majority of book reviewers and authors reviewed are men.
Here are some of the statistics from the field of literature and publishing that I referred to while on the panel:
1) According to a Publishers Weekly salary survey in 2010, 85% of publishing employees with less than three years of experience are women
2) Here’s a link to data gathered by VIDA Women in Literary Arts which shows a breakdown of the number of men and women in the categories of authors reviewed and book reviewers: http://www.vidaweb.org/the-count-2010/
Out of 40 charts, women outnumbered men on only two of them.
This New Republic article takes a closer look at what’s behind these numbers: https://newrepublic.com/article/82930/vida-women-writers-magazines-book-reviews
The New Republic article states: At Harper’s, there were 27 male book reviewers and six female; about 69 percent of the books reviewed were by male authors. At the London Review of Books, men wrote 78 percent of the reviews and 74 percent of the books reviewed. Men made up 84 percent of the reviewers for The New York Review of Books and authored 83 percent of the books reviewed.
3) As for self-publishing, this Guardian article indicates that self-publishing allows women to break through the glass ceiling of the book industry.
The article also states that according to a report from online publishing platform FicShelf, the authors doing best in the medium tend to be women.
The man whose biography I’m working on, Su Beng (he’s a nonagenarian Taiwanese revolutionary) was a very strong supporter of Tsai Ing-wen, who is the first woman be elected to be the President of Taiwan. She was elected on January 16th and she even mentioned Su Beng in one of her acceptance speeches. I wrote about this on my blog about Su Beng here: http://aboutsubeng.com/blog/2016/1/16/11616-tsai-ing-wen-elected-as-the-next-president-of-taiwan. I’m attaching the photo of Su Beng ad Tsai Ing-wen that appears in that blog post.
Biographer of Su Beng
Lifelong Taiwan independence activist, revolutionary and author of TAIWAN’S 400 YEAR HISTORY
Co-author of Metropolicks and The Metropolicks We Call New York City: A Guide for Singles