Does it Make a Difference if a Writer is Male or Female?

Posted by ap507 at Nov 12, 2015 11:43 AM |
Expert panel to discuss role of gender in literature on 13 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 12 November 2015

  • Part of the University of Leicester's Literary Leicester festival
  • Panel-led debate will include authors Lisa Williamson and Bali Rai
  • The free event takes place on Friday 13 November
  • Schools and young adult readers welcome to join the discussion

A spirited debate about whether gender plays a part in literature is due to take place at the University of Leicester this week.

A panel of professional writers, a publisher and students will discuss a number of issues around male and female authors – and talk about how it affects the writing, interpretation and perception of classic and modern books.

The event, Does it Make a Difference if a Writer is Male or Female? is part of the University's Literary Leicester festival and is being held at the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, on Friday 13 November, at 1.15pm.

Taking part will be leading young adult authors, Lisa Williamson and Bali Rai, senior editor at publisher Myriad Editions, Vicky Blunden and young adults from local schools.

This free event is being held in partnership with Whatever it Takes – a campaign to get every child in Leicester reading – and Leicester Secondary Education Improvement Partnership.

Author Bali Rai said the discussion would raise a number of topics related to gender and penman(or woman)ship.

He said: “The discussion on Friday will centre on whether author gender makes a difference to the reader.

“Are female readers more inclined to read female writers and vice versa?

“Are there male and female books per se?

“Does publishing do anything to promote or encourage or use any perceived gender differences in terms of covers and marketing and promotions, etcetera?

“The debate should be lively and we have two local students taking part, alongside industry professionals. It's a chance to debate one of the hot topics in children's and young adult publishing and to hear what readers, writers and publishers think.”

The debate is aimed at people of all ages and is part of the University's eighth annual literary-themed festival dedicated to the written word.

Festival co-ordinator Dr Harry Whitehead said: “We are very excited to be working with local literacy charity Whatever it Takes once more to organise this fascinating panel event.

“With two renowned young adult fiction authors, Lisa Williamson and Bali Rai, a senior publisher and two local young adult readers on the panel, it will be a fabulous discussion.”

Schools groups can make group bookings online or, for larger groups, contact

For more information about this and other events taking place, please visit:


Notes to editors:

Festival running order:

Thursday 12 November 2015

  • First Story: Young Writers' Showcase: Attenborough Arts, 1.30pm
  • Remembering G.S. Fraser: David Wilson Library, 3.30pm
  • Literary Salon: "Unlearning Childhoods" with novelists Caryl Phillips and Elleke Boehmer: Attenborough Arts, 4pm
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson and Caryl Phillips in Conversation: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm
  • Louis de Bernières: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 8pm

Friday 13 November 2015

  • 'Does it Make a Difference if a Writer is Male or Female?' A panel discussion with authors, publishers and local students: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 1.15pm
  • Why did Samuel Pepys Keep his Diary? Attenborough Arts, 2pm
  • 'Who Loves Jack the Ripper?' with Bruce Robinson: Phoenix, 6.30pm
  • Withnail and I: screening with an introduction by its director, Bruce Robinson: Phoenix, 8pm

Saturday 14 November 2015 - 'Fantasy Fiction Saturday'

  • Emily Gravett: Letterbox Club Event (children aged 6 and up): Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 11am
  • Rigby Graham: Artist and Writer: David Wilson Library Seminar Room, 1pm
  • Stuart Hill: “BLOOD, BLAST AND FIRE!" The Icemark Chronicles (for 10-15 year olds and readers of all ages): Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 3pm
  • The Kingdom of Dreams: The Uncanny Worlds of Graham Joyce: Ogden Lewis Suite, 4.30pm
  • The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland, with Robert Douglas-Fairhurst: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm
  • 60 Years of The Lord of the Rings, followed by panel discussion: 'What's the Point of Fantasy Fiction?' with leading authors Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Stuart Lee Juliet E. McKenna & Farah Mendlesohn: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 8pm

All events are free, but some are ticketed, so please check the University of Leicester website, or venue, for more information.


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