Harry Markov writes speculative fiction – fantastical stories that decompose reality, sensual stories with a dark touch, superhero fiction, though mainly it’s weird things happening to weird people – and lives with the weird in the coastal city of Varna, Bulgaria. He’s bilingual, a hoarder and has cultural ADHD. he has tweets in his head and facebook likes in his blood. In the land of publishing, he’s sold fiction, read slush, edited anthologies, served as a submissions editor for the horror podcast Tales to Terrify and worked as an assistant to Jason Sizemore for Zombie Feed.

Where Are the Women in Genre?

Chill, dear reader.

The women in genre are alive and well. They’re here actually, everywhere in fact. You can find them writing genre, editing genre, representing genre, reading and reviewing genre. If they are here and have been here for quite some time, then why are we still unable to see them?

For as long as I’ve been interested in genre fiction, it’s been the women in SFF who have shaped my taste, aesthetic and my craft as a storyteller. From my experience, if a genre, sub-genre, trope or movement is rich with potential stories, women will be there among the men to tell them.

So, it perplexes me to no end to encounter online discussions with the following questions asked:

  • “Are there any women writing X?”
  • “Can we trust women writing Y?”
  • “Is it just me or are there no women writing Z?”

All these questions lead me to believe women in genre are a concept, rather than anything real or tangible, but that’s not true. As I said, women in genre are here and they kick ass. Always have, always will. However, somehow genre fans haven’t learned to see them, so they’re invisible and underrepresented as well as questioned, underappreciated and sometimes discounted.

Gender politics is a messy thing and I don’t like to speak for the whole community, but if we’re still in the active pursuit of the answer to where women in genre are, then we have a problem. One heck of a problem. It’s healthy to talk about it, but it’s also healthy to do something about it, too.

Here’s what I will do in April. I’ll dedicate each day to tell a story about how a woman in genre has changed my life for the better through her hard work and dedication. That’s 30 days and 30 kick-ass women – critically acclaimed and small press names, new talent and established names, in the limelight and involved behind the scenes.

This is what the Women in Genre month is about and I’d like to see you talk online about all the wonderful women you encounter and admire. Let’s praise and celebrate and change the tone of the current conversation about gender in genre. I believe that if we push female creators to the forefront, we’ll send the correct message and maybe cure our gender blindness at least a little bit. And men talking about women will make all the difference.

Sure, I may sound a bit idealistic and I’m sure this one month won’t restore the balance with a swift kick from behind, but it’s a step in the right direction.

How can you be a part of Women in Genre month?

  1. Express your love for women in fiction on your blogs.
  2. If you’re on Twitter, join the conversation with the hashtag #WomenInGenre
  3. Drop by my blog, The Alternative Typewriter, and leave comments with the names of the women in genre you value on any post from April 1st to April 30th. Once April concludes, I’ll gather all the names in one comprehensive list and see just how many women there are in genre.
  4. Check out and support Fantasy Café’s “Women in SF&F Month“, which served as motivation and inspiration to create this project. Kristen is doing this for a second year and has planned a very busy month of contributions by and about women in genre.

Of course, nothing should end with just one month. Keep talking once April ends. Recommend a book by a woman to a person whom you know sticks to male authors. Show young readers and writers that genre welcomes women and we might get a generation which won’t need to ask this question, because it won’t be relevant anymore.

So, yeah, who’s with me on this? Let’s be sappy idealists for once and shower the Internet with a lot of love.

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