If you're a novelist looking to win any of the major awards, know one thing: if you write from the perspective of a female character, you're probably not going to win anything.
This insight comes after a careful study of book awards done by novelist Nicola Griffith, who's done her homework and found a huge bias in books that receive awards.
Even one of the most prestigious awards, the Pulitzer, has not offered an award to an author writing about a female lead character.
Griffith examined the last 15 years of book awards to come up with her statistics. She looked at the major fiction awards, such as the Pulitzer, Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics' Circle Award, Hugo Award and Newbery Medal.
From 2000 to 2015, the majority of Pulitzer awards went to men who wrote books about men and boys, which also shows a bias towards male authors. She found similar statistics for the other major book awards that she researched: men writing about men and boys received more awards than books by women (even those with male lead characters).
However, Griffith's research turned up the opposite with young adult fiction, with female authors writing about female characters often nominated for the Newbery medal, which hands out awards for fiction targeted at children and young adults. This suggests that the awards bias is really only with adult fiction (although many adults actually read young-adult fiction).
"It's hard to escape the conclusion that, when it comes to literary prizes, the more prestigious, influential and financially remunerative the award, the less likely the winner is to write about grown women," writes Griffith on her blog. "Certainly the results argue for women's perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy. Women seem to have literary cooties."
Griffith points out that although women represent half of our culture, they're still not being properly represented in the literary industry, and her statistics certainly support that statement.
Griffith also offered some suggestions about how we can fix what is obviously a very broken system in the literary awards business. Griffith suggests that we seriously study the data, such as the statistics she turned up, as well as figure out why books about women receive fewer awards.
"When we have causes, we can find solutions - or at least begin to experiment with a variety of solutions," she writes. "And it will take experimentation: small (or radical) changes at many levels."
[Photo Credit: Brittany Stevens | Flickr]