One great reason why we should stop using the term “women’s fiction”

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Anna Brech
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Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty has hit out at the phrase “women’s fiction” - and her logic is entirely on-point…

When it comes to describing book genres, “chick lit” is one of those outdated phrases to put your teeth on edge, but what about its less patronising sister, “women’s fiction”? 

The most obvious issue here seems to be that it’s not easily defined: fiction that “belongs” to women could just as easily resonate with men, depending on personal taste.

But novelist Liane Moriarty has another grind with the term, too.

The bestselling author of Big Little Lies thinks “women’s fiction” is problematic because it denotes women as a sub-category, when actually research indicates that they are far more prolific readers of fiction than men.

Liane Moriarty: “women are the biggest readers of fiction”

“I get frustrated by the women’s fiction label. I’m not fond of the term,” Moriarty told an audience at a book signing event in Hertfordshire this week (as reported via the Telegraph). 

“It doesn’t make sense because women are the biggest readers of fiction. We should not be the sub category - men’s fiction should be the sub category because we’re the ones reading all the fiction.

“If I’m at a party and someone asks: what sort of books do you write? I have no idea what to say,” she added. “If I was a man I’d probably just say: ‘Contemporary fiction’. People call it domestic noir, suburban satire… but they’re just stories.”

The TV adaptation of Big Little Lies, starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, was one of 2017’s most popular small-screen dramas.

A second season is due in early 2019, with Meryl Streep joining the cast. Meanwhile, Moriarty’s latest book Nine Perfect Strangers is also out now.

Images: Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.