i'm a white writer. in new york. original, no? i've been blogging since october 2002. this blog picks up in october 2008, when i moved from DC to NY...(and then I moved to Maine in 2012)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Statistics from My Work as Literary Manager

It occurred to me late last night, that as a Literary Manager, I have my own statistics I could count and share, since I keep a spreadsheet detailing all of the submissions we receive.

Of 118 submissions I've read in the last 6 months (when I came on board), 112 were written by playwrights whose names clearly indicated gender (or whose gender I happen to know).

Of those 112 scripts, 86 were by men, and 23 were by women.

Of the 86 written by men, I recommended 21 for a second read, and 2 for a must-read.

Of the 23 written by women, I recommended 9 for a second read, and 2 for a must-read.

I am horrible at ratio-figuring, but that's roughly 1 in 4 scripts by men that are of a quality I would recommend be considered for a production or reading, and roughly 1 in 2.5 scripts by women I would judge the same.

So the issue, at Red Bull Theater at least, is not one of quality, though we have an admittedly slim mission (Jacobean plays and adaptations of the same) that certainly has an impact on the gender of most of the playwrights we select.

If I meet you and you're a playwright, I'll pretty much always ask you to send me something, in case you happen to be working on an adaptation (that's rarely the case, but you never know what people are working on). (And if I forget to ask, please just send anyways, if you have something on-mission.)

The only part of my job where I am conscious of gender is in sourcing plays. I ask women to submit plays all the time, and yet I rarely get submissions from those same women. Or I'll hear of a female playwright whose work intrigues me, but the email link on their web page (if they even have a web page) is dead. I know that, as a playwright myself, I rarely feel like a script of my own is good enough to send out, and often I hear echoes of this from other women playwrights. I try to go the extra mile in encouraging women to submit, but once I am reading submissions, I am looking for the best material within the confines of our mission.

Those are my thoughts from that perspective.

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