Women dominate the fiction market as readers and writers. How, where, and when do they read fiction, and how do stories and writers influence the way female readers understand and shape their own life stories? And why are women the main buyers and readers of fiction, members of book clubs and attendees at literary festivals? Is it the writing or is it more to do with how we interact around books? Helen Taylor, long-time Festival friend and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Exeter, draws on 500 questionnaires and interviews with women readers and writers, from Helen Dunmore to Judy Finnigan, and talks about her research and the impact of fiction by women with leading literary novelist Nina Allen, who won the 2017 British Science Fiction award for best novel and whose new book, The Dollmaker, demonstrates the wide variety of fiction genres women embrace. Andrew Lownie heads up The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency, founded in 1988, one of the UK’s leading boutique literary agencies with some two hundred (often male) non-fiction authors.
Talking to Carol Ackroyd