One of my favorite events during Litquake is the all-memoir women’s night. I was especially excited this year because the lineup included Laura Fraser who I’ve taken a class with at the Grotto. I believe she is one of the most talented writers I’ve ever read. She’s thoughtful, honest, and always infuses the perfect amount of humor in her writing. She stole the show on Friday night, sandwiched between female memoirists reading autobiographical passages.
“I’m not going to read from one of my memoirs. I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about female writers and the challenge we face in the industry. After my memoir came out, a reviewer labeled my book ‘Chick Lit.’ That really upset me so I wrote this article for the Daily Beast.”
Here are a few of my favorite snippets that she read, but for the full article, click here.
“There are as many guys’ books that explore the nature of being a guy in the early 21st century as there are women’s books about trying to figure it all out in these confusing times. What if they called the male species “Dude Lit”? (There is another term for the genre with a more felicitous rhyme, but we chicks don’t like to use the word “dick.”)
“As a genre, Dude Lit books generally propel a confused, often drug-addled or alcoholic, narcissistic, philandering male protagonist to, well, not self-discovery, but some semblance of adult behavior. Nick Hornby is perhaps the prince of Dude Lit, along with Martin Amis, Jonathan Lethem, Paul Auster, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Ford, David Carr, and sometimes Michael Chabon (Dave Eggers’ touching Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius gets a mention as honorary Chick Lit).
“Norman Mailer, John Updike, and Saul Bellow are in a category of their own: Prick Lit. What separates Prick Lit from Dude Lit is that the Dude Lit writers may have once, perhaps in college, said something positive about feminism, if only to get laid.
“In Chick Lit, women are forever searching for Mr. Right but falling into bed with Mr. Wrong, hating themselves for it afterward, via too much ice cream and shopping, and brushing themselves off and trying again for Mr. Right. In Dude Lit, men are commitment-phobes who sleep around and are mean to the women they’re with, but it’s OK because they feel bad about it afterward.”