Carpri Diem!

It’s been quite some time since I wrote that last post, and I’m so sorry about not keeping this blog as updated as I ought to. A lot has happened in a little while, and I just haven’t given myself the time to write!

Anyway, summer has well and truly kicked off! All of my friends have moved off campus now, and I’ve been given the keys to my new studio flat! I’m sat in it at the moment, writing this. I started moving some bits and pieces over yesterday evening, and slept here for the first time last night. I have my own kitchen, bathroom, dining room, my bed is in the corner of the kitchen, along with my wardrobe, and my desk is in a lovely little conservatory section, which I love when it’s sunnier (the rain has kicked off today, sadly).

Update on the guy, we’re actually now together, as a proper couple! I even met his father the other week, and I’ve been given the thumbs up, apparently! Next week we’ll have been together for two months, scary how the time flies! I’ve never met someone so supportive and understanding about me and my issues, and I often have him behind me every step of the way when I embark on new projects, go off to places and generally follow my dreams. It’s lovely, I feel beautiful when I’m with him, and it’s wonderful.

All my coursework is finally complete! All I have to do now is print the last bits off, which I’ll do today, and hand them into the registrar’s office, then I can sit back, and wait for my grades, which I’ll get in September before the new academic year starts. Yikes! As long as I pass, then it’ll be ok, I’ll be aiming higher next year!

Speaking of university, my job as Careleaver Liberation Rep starts properly as of now! Clearing is happening, and young people across the country are finding out if they got into their university of choice. Careleavers are doing this too, and I remember opening my results letter telling me I got into my university, and wondering ‘how is this going to work out?’. So I’ll be on Twitter today, with the hashtag #careleaverlibrep to answer any questions about leaving care and starting up at university as a careleaver. Exciting time to be had by all!

So, on top of everything else, I’ve helped out with the development of an app for careleavers to assist with pathway plans, education/work/training and identity. It’ll be promoted during Careleaver Week, in October half term, so I’ll be promoting it to my students, as well as you guys. Just because you grew up in care, it doesn’t mean that you’re society’s offcast. You still have so much to offer! I promise!

I’ve also started work on a WWI novel for young people, so am hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, I should really start moving some more stuff over…

Are Women Writers Really Getting a Duff Deal?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/09/coverflip-maureen-johnson-gender-book

I was on my personal Twitter account earlier, and I came across this article that was tweeted by the Guardian. It talks about the idea that because books written by women, no matter what the subject, end up with very girly front covers which cause people to be put off by them, particularly men. It goes on to talk about the idea that if a woman writes as herself, without turning her name into initials, as I will do when I finally get something published. The writer of the article muses on the idea that if a woman who is publishing a novel under a male alias, then would the novel itself be viewed differently.

There are more woman writers than there ever were before getting published, just look at EL James and her ‘mummy porn’ books, or the shortlist of the 2012 Costa Prize, which, for the first time, was 100% female. I guess that women might be getting a better deal here, yet I suppose this article reminds us that there is still sexism in the publishing industry. 

I’m a feminist, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve been the Women’s Officer at my college for the past academic year, and attended the NUS Women’s Conference in order to ensure that women’s issues would be kept at the forefront of student union campaigns, as there is still sexism in further and higher education. 

Yes, the playing field is becoming more equal as far as writing and achieving publication and awards is concerned. 

However, it’s still a problem in the marketing and selling of the work of women. Are the publishers to blame? The agents? The graphic designers? I don’t believe any of them are to blame. I might get shot here, but I’m just going to be brutally honest.

Perhaps the issue is that no one ever really explains themselves properly when submitting! I know, I’ve never tried to submit to a publisher, but I do know about people who have. The more vague the synopsis, I suppose the more of the agent/editor/publisher’s mind will turn to what they will expect from the narrative. The writer might well have a thriller as the main story line with a hint of a romance in mind as the subplot, which (I guarantee) the writer will have written into the frame straight off the bat, and you’re a female, they will jump to their own conclusions about what the story, and thus, the cover will be like. I guess people just need to read through the synopsis they are about to send in to the agent/editor/publisher BEFORE they do it, in order for this to be kind of prevented. It may well be inevitable, no matter what you try though…

Maybe JK Rowling was on to something…

HJ