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Amongst women: Male romance authors and Irish chick lit author, Andrew O’Connor

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It has been claimed that writing is not directly 'gendered'; that all, or at least most, subjects are universal and can be written about by anyone. Regardless of this, novels written by men, those seen to emphasize 'men's' values, have traditionally been granted more recognition and respect. So-called 'women's fiction' - arguably some of the most commercially successful fiction in recent decades - is often criticized and ridiculed, though the reason for this may be as simple as the fact that, particularly in the case of male critics and reviewers, they simply may not comprehend women's fiction, with its natural and understandable emphasis on woman-centred values and experiences, and, as such, feel uncomfortable in a strange, woman-centred environment. This raises an interesting point: whether typically woman-centred fiction would gain more respect and recognition if it were written by men. This article will examine the situation of male writers of woman-centred fiction; it will discuss the reception these authors have typically received; and it will explore the work of Andrew O'Connor - also known as A. O'Connor - something of a rarity as a male chick lit author, with the aim of revealing whether a man can effectively and convincingly write about women and their experiences.

Keywords: chick lit; feminism; gender; literary history; popular culture; romance fiction

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Mary Immaculate College

Publication date: 2011-09-08

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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