I was so excited to report the Man Booker Shortlist names (and the attendant Seattle connection) yesterday that I completely failed to follow the advice of Seattle author Nicola Griffith: I didn't count the number of women's voices on the list. Luckily, Griffith did do a gender count, and she finds the results to be "appalling." There are fewer women on the shortlist than usual, she says, and very few of the books are about the experiences of women.
This year, 2 of the 6 shortlisted books are written by women. Between them they wrote 6 protagonists, 5 of which are men.2 One male author writes about 1 woman (though he also writes about 3 men). So this year, of the 15.4% of protagonists who are female, a pitiful 7.7% are women written by women.
I interviewed Griffith on this subject a couple months ago, and it seems that I've already forgotten the lessons of that interview. I should have known better, and I should've done better in my post yesterday. If we want publishing to become more inclusive, we need to submit every literary prize to this kind of scrutiny.