July 22, 2005

Are action women history? . . .


Why “are there so few adventure heroines? And even fewer female adventure authors?” In a commentary for The New Statesman, Kate Mosse, author of a female adventure novel herself, Labyrinth, asks “Is it down to a failure of imagination on the part of women writers? Or is it because the adventure stories women do write are invariably categorised as something different?” Mosse notes that “Writers of both sexes have always been constrained by expectation,” and that there has always been a conflict between “characterisation and categorisation.” What’s more, she says, “There are plenty of adventurous female characters to be found” in contemporary stories. “But,” she says, “these novels are placed, by publishers and booksellers alike, firmly on the shelf marked “historical fiction.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives