• not a weekend for the ladies

    Some of my regular readers might remember my tangle with SFX magazine last year over its one-off special horror edition, which barely mentioned the existence of women in its pages, and its poor response. Things must have changed, eh? One year on the magazine just ran its multi-media conference, the Weekender 2, an event promising to offer ‘the ultimate sci-fi experience, packed with activities for fans’. I noticed a comment on Facebook today from one of the guests who wondered about the dearth of female guests. I looked at the list: 37 guests, only 4 of them are women. However, I spotted something else. Two of the female guests are…

  • miss representation

    I was delighted to hear that a new documentary, called Miss Represention, created by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, played at the Sundance Film Festival, and has been getting a great reception. Here’s the trailer: The issue of how women are represented in the media is one that occupies my mind on a regular basis, so I’m pleased that Newsom has put her time and effort into analysing and criticising this subject. There are a couple of articles in the Deseret News, touching upon this film and related issues that are well worth reading. The first is Family Films are not Friendly to Women, which reports on a public interview that took…

  • because I’m a girl

    I mentioned last year that Martin and I joined Plan Ireland, and we’re now sponsoring a girl in India. In December we received our first note from her. Both the letter and its translation were hand-written. It was lovely to hear from her in a way that makes the connection immediate and real. I returned her note with my own hand-written letter. I could have sent it via email, but in this case I felt it was important to take the effort for her to see my writing – not as neat as hers! Plan Ireland acts as the intermediary, so I included a note saying how much I appreciate…

  • British women in comics

    Tamara Drewe

    After blogging about the absence of women in the line-up of the Kapow! comic book convention I had a number of lively discussions about it. I also discovered that Mark Millar twittered about this issue back on the 7th of December 2010, when someone else pointed out there were no female guests. His response, over two tweets: You realise this is being put together by 5 women, don’t you? The reason the comic guests are mostly male is because the biggest names in UK comics are male. Who is the big british female pro they’re missing here? I’m amused by ‘the comic guests are mostly male’ bit, when the guests…

  • smile, get girls reading comics

    Over the past year I’ve increased the amount of comic books/graphic novels I’m reading. Partly because I’m writing coming books now, and also because it’s such a fun, diverse medium. There are so many great titles being published to suit all tastes. When I was a girl I was not encouraged to read comics – I wasn’t discouraged either, but I didn’t know another girl my age who loved them the way I did. I’ve no idea where I got the notion that ‘comic books were for boys’, but it was something I understood. I didn’t agree, but I knew that my liking comic books was not the norm. It…

  • Kapow!, no women

    I got an email from a regular commentator on my blog pointing me to the new comic book convention that Mark Millar is organising this coming April in the UK called Kapow! ComicCon. He hinted that I might discover something missing from the event. Well, yes the omission is pretty glaring to me: not one woman among the forty guests. This is strange. It’s not like there are no top-class women working in comics. Anyone who suggests otherwise is not paying attention. For instance, I’d recommend reading the excellent ‘She Has No Head‘ column by Kelly Thompson on Comic Book Resources for plenty of examples of the fine work women…

  • Involuntary Muscle

    Issue 35 of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction is now out and it includes my short story ‘Involuntary Muscle’. Thanks to editors Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood for choosing to include my story in this issue. It also features work by Matthew Amundsen, Douglas Ogurek, reviews by John Greenwood, Stephen Theaker and Howard Watts, with cover art also supplied by Howard. I find myself somewhat finger-tied at the prospect of writing a preamble or summary of ‘Involuntary Muscle’. I suppose the best I can offer is an anecdote from when I attended Clarion West, and Maureen McHugh was our mentor for a week. She said one time that when you write a…

  • Little Crackers

    Over the past couple of years the satellite broadcaster Sky has been venturing into commissioning original television programmes, which is generally a good thing as I’m always happy to see screenwriters getting work. Even though Sky is part of the Murdoch MegaCorp, it can have its benefits (as long as you avoid the news channels). This holiday season Sky has been airing a series of short films by male and female comedians called Little Crackers. Most of them are autobiographical, or at least represent the essence of the comedian (and the comedians usually appear in the short as a character). I’ve seen five of them so far and they are…

  • marvellous mirren

    Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren has just been given the Sherry Lansing leadership award at a breakfast ceremony, organised by The Hollywood Reporter magazine, to honour the Women in Entertainment Power 100. I’d highly recommend you watch the video of her acceptance speech, which is just marvellous. Not only does she recognise how much women have achieved in recent years, she also points out the continuing disparities in the industry and takes particular issue that Hollywood “continues to worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis.” She stresses how affirming it was to her ambitions that her parents believed a woman could do anything, notes the…

  • atwood interview

    There’s a very interesting interview from yesterday’s BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour with Margaret Atwood about her seminal text, The Handmaid’s Tale, which is twenty-five years in print this year. In the past Atwood has dismayed those of us who enjoy genre writing by trying to disassociate herself from science fiction, but thankfully when the issue of The Handmaid’s Tale being within a science fiction tradition was raised in the interview she didn’t argue against it – although she seemed more comfortable associating herself with the likes of Huxley and Orwell. I didn’t read the book when it first came out, but I was eighteen when it was lent to…