Serious Male Novelist Jonathan Franzen would like you to know he still has zero respect for Jennifer Weiner, a popular writer whom he admits he hasn’t read but considers insufficiently serious for his manly tastes. This time, Franzen accused Weiner—who talks often about sexism in the book world—of “freeloading on the legitimate problem of gender bias in the canon.” The Franzen-Weiner grudge match goes back, at this point, at least five years, to when Weiner and Jodi Picoult pointed out that Franzen’s novel Freedom, which was about a family who has Secrets and Feelings, was getting a slightly more respectful critical reception than a similar book written by a woman would have done. At the time, Franzen agreed that there was an imbalance, telling the Guardian, “The categories by which we value fiction are skewed male, and this creates a very destructive disconnect between the critical establishment and the predominantly female readership of novels. That’s inarguable.” By 2013, Franzen was tired of talking about the whole sexism thing, writing in a rather peevish letter to the New York Times, “There may still be gender imbalances in the world of books, but very strong numbers of women are writing, editing, publishing… Read full this story
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