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I couldn’t help myself. I had to go through the fiction list as well. Then the non-fiction. And what an interesting result. The 2014 list of New Zealand books (the latest available from the Journal of Commonwealth Literature’s annual round-up) shows that 44 (or 59%) of the 75 New Zealand fiction titles published in 2014 were written by women, significantly more than those written by men (who wrote 31 fiction titles, or 41%).  If you take out children’s and young adult fiction, the gap narrows somewhat, with 56% of adult titles written by women and 44% by men.

I wondered if chaps were more likely to tackle non-fiction and this does indeed seem to be the case, with all 11 non-fiction books in 2014 having been written by men . It’s a little different when you add in Letters & Autobiography and Drama (see charts below).  And if you look at the whole lot together, ie all titles excluding poetry, it was very even, with 50% by men, 49% by women and 1% by both (ie multiple authors).

2014 non-fiction + fiction titles %

2014 non-fiction + fiction titles number


Ethnicity is a very different story. I only looked at fiction for this. A massive 88% of fiction titles were by Pakeha authors, 7% by Maori authors (better than I was expecting but still less than the proportion of Maori in the population) and 5% by Asian/Indian writers. No Pacific writers had fiction published in 2014. Not one.

2014 fiction titles


The usual disclaimers apply – for source and methodology, please see my blog on poetry titles .


Recently I received this message from my friend, Sarah, who asked me to pass it on.


My name is Sarah and I am in my early 40’s. I have Multiple Sclerosis which has, as of the last year and a bit, stopped my legs below the knees working very well, so I have to use a wheelchair to get around these days.  You would think others would be helpful but no people apart from family and friends and a FEW others are. These are common reactions I receive from most people: fear (ignoring or trying to avoid me like I have something contagious), the assumption that because I’m in a wheelchair, it must mean I’m a moron (how strange – who really is the moron?), and a weird condescending pity that I am in this situation. (Why is that even considered to be an OK reaction?)

Everyone has different troubles. Being in a wheelchair is just one of many problems. However attitude is key. A good one despite your difficulties makes things so much easier to face.  And having people around you with an honest open attitude helps too.  And it sure would be nice to be respected for living with daily difficulty. After all, it’s how wisdom increases.

Nerve axon with myelin sheath

Nerve axon with myelin sheath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



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August 2020

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