The chick lit debate: Which side are you on?

First aired on Q  (08/11/10)

It's pretty easy to spot books that fall into the "chick lit" genre. Their covers are generally splashed with bright colours (pink and yellow seem the most popular) and usually have a picture of high heels, lipstick or some other stereotypically feminine item smack dab in the centre. In other words, they scream "This one's for you, gals! Pick me up!"

So it's no wonder that these books are often accused of being a frivolous indulgence — a relaxing way to while away a summer's afternoon. They can place the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of their unimaginative covers.

But is that really all they are? Or should we be cutting the genre a little bit more slack?

It's no secret that women writers have historically faced a higher barrier to publication than their male counterparts. As a female reader, I've often felt myself longing for more female protagonists — ones with real depth and honesty of character. Yet here is an entire genre, created largely by women writers for women readers, and up until recently, I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

The relative worth of "chick lit" as a genre was explored recently on the Guardian's Book Blog by two female writers. The first, Diane Connell, is a humour writer who publishes under the name D.J. Connell. Why the change in name? So no one will judge her writing based on gender, of course. The second writer is a proud part of the "chick lit" community, Michele Gorman.

The debate was so interesting that Q decided to call them up to find out more. You can listen to the entire interview in the clip above. Who knows? You might just change your mind.

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Read DJ Connell's original blog post..

Read Michele Gorman's post in response..

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