Maybe it’s time to let men judge the Orange prize, says the current chair of judges. Her reasoning?
“I’m open-minded about it. It would be an interesting debate for organisers to have. Seventy per cent of fiction is bought by women, so having a panel of women judges means they know what women like,” she said.
“But I think it could be quite interesting to have a man on the panel.
“The one disadvantage to an all-female jury is that there are certain books that women like … the judging could be tilted a bit against science fiction.”
The obvious response is that you don’t need to add a man to address that particular bias, you just need to pick different women; you’d think that if someone has noticed women are writing this stuff, they might be able to guess that women are interested in it, too. But given that my immediate reaction to the longlist this year was “Where’s The Carhullan Army?” (and my reaction to the shortlist was to be disappointed that The End of Mr Y didn’t make the cut), anything that encourages the Orange to recognize a broader range of work written by women is good in my book.