In order to address what they see as the “systemic exclusion of women writers over several decades” from the country’s top literary prizes, a group of women writers and publishers are working to establish the equivalent of an “Orange Prize” in Australia in order to highlight fiction by Australian women, according to The Guardian.
The group, which includes novelist and publisher Sophie Cunningham, Miles Franklin long-listed novelist Kirsten Tranter, and Miles Franklin judge and critic Kerryn Goldsworthy, among others, hopes to establish the prize by 2012 and is currently in talks with potential sponsors. The prize has a working title of “A Prize of One’s Own.”
Women have been excluded from the short list for Australia’s top literary prize, the Miles Franklin, for the second time in three years. The Miles Franklin has been awarded to a woman just 13 times in the 50 times it has been given out since its establishment in 1957. Although women make up a large part of the publishing industry, men occupy the top positions; 68% of men in the industry earn more than AUD $100,000, with only 32% of women earning at this level.
The group establishing the prize hopes to expand efforts to promote the work of women by engaging in lobbying efforts, establishing mentorship opportunities, and garnering more rigorous research on women in publishing.
Formerly an attorney representing domestic violence survivors, Lourdes E. Acevedo is a writer and poet of Mexican and English descent interested in art in furtherance of gender and social justice. She holds a J.D. from UC Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and got her starting writing with the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice and the California Law Review. She is currently at work on a novel based on her experiences as an attorney, as well as a chapbook of poems. Connect with Lourdes on her new blog: http://lourdesacevedo.wordpress.com