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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 05:54 GMT 06:54 UK
Do real men read "women's books"?
Lionel Shriver with her Orange Prize for fiction
There's a taint of patronisation in publishing, says Lionel
A new survey of the books we buy makes difficult reading for women writers. Apparently four out of five men said the last book they read was written by a man.

It's not just Aga Sagas and Chicklit which turn off male readers: it's almost anything with a female name on the cover.

As if to reinforce the argument, the winner of last night's Orange Prize for fiction revealed that she changed her name to Lionel because she thought men had an easier life.

  • So why do real men steer clear of female fiction?

  • We talked to authors Nick Laird and Ekow Eshun

  • We heard from the winner of the Orange Prize for fiction, the American author Lionel Shriver.

    What you told Breakfast
    reading should be about enjoyment, irrespective of whether the novel is by a certain sex author, or whether it is short-listed for some literary award
    Mike Chilvers, Norfolk

    She told Breakfast she believes that sexism is alive and well in the publishing business.

    "There's still an assumption that the heavy hitter, the truly serious writers who write the great books are men.

    "Meanwhile women, who also buy most of the books are keeping the industry afloat because they're writing the books that women buy.

    "There's still taint of patronisation about womens' writers."

    The Orange Prize for Fiction is awarded each year for the best novel written in English by a woman.

    We Need to Talk about Kevin is written from the perspective of a mother, who's trying to work out why her son has killed seven of his high-school class-mates.

    She looks at their relationship - and whether she was to blame.



  • BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
    Breakfast's interview with Lionel Shriver
    We talked live to the winner of last night's Orange Prize for Fiction


    Do real men read women's fiction?
    We talked to writers Nick Laird and Ekow Eshun



    BBC Breakfast

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    SEE ALSO:
    Press views: Lionel Shriver
    07 Jun 05 |  Entertainment


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