As has been extensively reported Canadian writer and professor David Gilmour (no, not that David Gilmour) has made a bit of fool of himself, basically saying that there are no interesting women, Canadian and Chinese writers and saying that he only reads Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth. Quite apart from the sheer stupidity of making such a statement, essentially condemning a whole range of writers purely because of their sex or nationality, and then going public with it, Gilmour’s comments are wrong-headed for other reasons.
1. His condemnation of women writers and his statement that he only reads heterosexual guys shows that he clearly has concerns about his masculinity. His interview appeared on the Random House Canada blog. If you look further down on that blog, you will find this post. Now we know that one of Gilmour’s literary heroes is the second-rate Philip
Roth, a man who loves masturbating in public. And Henry Miller (who reads him now but the sexually frustrated?) Is this Gilmour’s problem? I think we should be told.
2. More importantly, there are lots of very good women, Chinese and Canadian writers, David. Perhaps you should try reading them. Here is a list to get you going. I have even put links to Amazon Canada for some of them, so you can buy them.
China produced a whole range of first-class prose literature, well before your heterosexual guys were born.
Story of the Stone (aka The Dream of the Red Chamber. Hey, it starts off with the story of a young man who prefers girls to studies. A real heterosexual guy.
The Water Margin. Lots of brawny heterosexual men here, David. Just your sort of man, even if they are not, you know, white.
Journey to the West (aka Monkey, with a monk fighting demons. Tough and maybe even heterosexual.
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. More heterosexual guys fighting.
There are modern Chinese writers as well. Gao Xingjian and Mo Yan both won the Nobel Prize. Xiaolu Guo is a woman but she is heterosexual and was on the list, though she is Chinese. Mao Dun was producing great literature when Chekhov and Tolstoy were.
And, yes, your own country produces some great writers (beside you, of course). Up on the top at the left, you will see the cover of a book by a Canadian writer – Margaret Atwood. She is very well known, very well-respected and a woman. There are other good Canadian writers as well – Michael Ondaatje, Timothy Findley and Rohinton Mistry. Some of them write in French – Marie-Clair Blais, Nancy Huston and Gérard Bessette. Here is a detailed list to help you.
As for women writers, I would not know where to start, so I will start with my women writers page. Many of the early writers were women. A Celebration of Women Writers can help you there. Oh, I see that you have apologised. A bit late, David, but do read some of these women, Chinese and Canadian authors. You might even enjoy them.