Now all philosophers agree
That WOMEN should not LEARNED be
For fear that as they wiser grow
More than their husbands they should know.
Anonymous c. 1739
For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.
Virginia Woolf, 1928
WritingWomen.org is an information sharing and discussion site devoted to the daily life of writing women, as well as to the history, practice, concerns, aesthetics, theoretical perspectives and life stories of such women from all cultures and time periods. I am a creative writer and an academic, and my own research expertise and personal interest is in American and British women writers in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. I have developed and now teach a course in this subject at Kingston University in London (see my short bio), and this site will become both a resource for my students and also a place for them to share their own work.
In addition to research-based academic writing, I also write creative non-fiction, poetry, and autobiographical fiction. And I am a woman. Over the last decade, I developed the department of Creative Writing and Kingston University and therefore have unique access to any number of well-known women writers. Likewise, in over a decade of teaching and researching English and American literature, I have come to know and learn from dozens of highly respected academic women. Over this period, many of these women writers, both creative and academic, have become friends and mentors, and I will to draw upon and share their knowledge and experience via this blog. Taking Virginia Woolf’s warning above as a guide, I hope to eradicate the anonymity and invisibility of women’s wisdom and women’s voices, by both sharing and listening to the words of my sisters.
The aim of the blog is two-fold and reflects these two different “hats” I wear when I am writing and thinking about writing:
The first is my “Creative Writer”hat:
Writingwomen.org aims to offer daily inspiration to those women who, like me, consider themselves to be writers – whether they are published professionals, secret scribblers or something in between.
Such inspiration will come in the form of wise words my students and I have collected over time from contemporary and historical writing women, including free access to podcasts of bespoke interviews I will undertake with many well-known women writers. I will also share a bit of my own daily writing practice and the ups and downs of writing and trying to publish short stories, non-fiction, poetry and literary fiction for commercial and general trade publishing.
The second is my “Academic Writer” hat:
Writingwomen.org aims to offer links to current, cutting edge research in the field of women’s studies, literature and history by, about and for women. Such information will come in the form of links to key influential and contemporary studies in these areas, and in podcasts and interviews with academic women writers. I will also share a bit of my own academic writing practice and offer insights into the ups and downs of writing and trying to publish academic writing with University Presses and peer-reviewed journals.
I look forward to hearing from you!