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Dear Gay Talese: The Official Team THINX Suggested Reading List

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Dear Gay Talese: The Official Team THINX Suggested Reading List Photo

by Team Thinx | 04/07/2016

Last weekend, American author Gay Talese spoke to a room of 600 people at The Power of the Narrative conference, held by Boston University. When asked what female writers have inspired him, Talese answered with a simple, yet deafening “None.”  Yikes. Talese (painfully) continued and clarified, stating that at the time female writers were simply not interested  in talking to  “uneducated” or “anti-social” people, therefore, their reporting was entirely centered around educated subjects. Again-- yikes.

By David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons

After intense social media backlash, Talese contacted the Boston Globe and attempted to clarifying his comments, and restated that yes, no female journalists inspired him early in his career, but since then he has greatly admired female writers. In the Globe article, written by Shirley Leung, the interview style tactic of the talk was questioned, as Talese was not prompted with any follow up questions where he could elaborate and talk about the female  writers and journalists he admires now.

While I greatly appreciate Talese’s follow-up, myself and the entire THINX team would still like to recommend some female writers that have inspired us, and urge him (and our readers!) to check ‘em out.

  1. Alice Walker

  2. Anais Nin

  3. Anna Akhmatova

  4. Beverly Cleary

  5. Brene Brown

  6. Carson McCullers

  7. Charlotte Bronte

  8. Cheryl Strayed

  9. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  10. Cynthia Enloe

  11. Donna Tartt

  12. Elizabeth Gilbert

  13. Gloria Anzaldua

  14. Gloria Steinem

  15. Hilary Mantel

  16. Isabel Allende

  17. Jane Austen

  18. Jeannette Walls

  19. Jhumpa Lahiri

  20. J.K. Rowling

  21. Joan Didion

  22. Marilyn Robinson

  23. Mary Oliver

  24. Maxine Hong Kingston

  25. Mia Alvar

  26. Miranda July

  27. Nora Ephron

  28. Patti Smith

  29. Roxanne Gay

  30. Sheila Heti

  31. Shonda Rhimes

  32. Susan Sontag

  33. Sylvia Plath

  34. Toni Morrisen

  35. Zadie Smith

It’s not that we don’t believe Talese is well-read, or that he does, in fact, admire female writers-- but we would like him to see what talented women have inspired us. Maybe next time Talese gets asked a similar question, he can find a more elaborate answer than “none.” Maybe he will feel compelled enough to elaborate on the women that have inspired him since becoming a reporter over 60 years ago, rather than talking about the weaknesses in female reporters.

Oh, and his comment about women being afraid to talk to strangers? It sounds like he needs to watch our short documentary, The Week, where our She-E-O Miki asks men questions about periods. Perhaps he will be inspired by her as well. :)

by Team Thinx

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