The Literary Horizon: How to Suppress Women’s Writing, The Secret Feminist Cabal

Women’s writing—throughout history, it’s been suppressed, dismissed, and ignored, but God knows we keep at it. Today’s selections deal with women’s writing as a whole, as well as women’s writing in the supposedly accepting world of speculative fiction.

How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

By the author of The Female Man—a provocative survey of the forces that work against women who dare to write.

via Amazon

While Joanna Russ’ The Female Man is on my reading list, she’s also interested me because of her essays on slash and her involvement with Star Trek fandom in the eighties. In fact, I’m quite disappointed to learn that Russ passed away last year; she sounds like an absolutely fascinating woman. But I’m very much looking forward to this.

Amy at Amy Reads loved it so much her review involves gushing; Special K at Bookish quite enjoyed it, pointing out Russ’ recognition of the shortcomings of her own book.

How to Suppress Women’s Writing was published in 1983.

The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick

In her cultural history of science fiction feminisms, Dr. Merrick explores the stories told about feminist science fiction by the various communities responsible for creating feminist sf culture, including authors, editors, fans, and scholars from across the disciplines. The Secret Feminist Cabal will appeal to every member of the feminist sf community, to fans and critics interested in the history of the science fiction genre, and to anyone interested in the production of feminist culture, history, and theory.

via the publisher’s website

This recommendation comes courtesy of ladybusiness, which is an amazing blog that everyone should follow. One of the ladies mentioned this in passing as a book she wants to read, and I want to read it too. You know me—if there’s fandom history, I’ll come running.

Brit Mandelo, writing for, enjoyed it but pointed out its shortcomings when it comes to representing queer women and women of color; Maria at the Hathor Legacy enjoyed it as well, pointing out its accessibility.

The Secret Feminist Cabal was published on December 1, 2009.

8 thoughts on “The Literary Horizon: How to Suppress Women’s Writing, The Secret Feminist Cabal

  1. I think this every time I visit your blog: Why do I not come here more often, why do I comment so little? So now I’m just going to say it.. Here’s to hoping that by saying it “out loud” I will actually stick to it?

    I love both the recommendations, I had heard of How to Supress Women’s Writing before through Ana, and I usually avoid the ladybusiness coveting posts because I always end up with all the books on my wishlist.

  2. Oh oh oh oh I can’t recommend How to Suppress Women’s Writing enough. Special K is right that one of the best parts was how she acknowledges even her own shortcomings. How fantastic is that in an author? Seriously, I loved it 😀 (In case you didn’t get that from my review. heh)

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