After The Times ran our piece on female writing friendships, we became interested in rivalry between women authors.
As writer friends who have often collaborated together and competed against each other, this is something we know all about. Indeed, the Spectator Books Blog commended us for touching on this in our feature for The Times.
In this new Mslexia feature, we have investigated why popular ideals of female friendships rarely accommodate competition. Why is it, for instance, that Mansfield and Woolf have gone down in history as foes, whereas Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald are remembered as friends?
In an attempt to get to the bottom of why rivalry between women is still considered such a taboo, we interviewed Madeline Miller, winner of the 2012 Orange Prize. We asked her for an insider’s view on being shortlisted for the prestigious award. The experience, though a game-changer for the debut novelist, was fraught with possible conflict since it pitted her against her novelist mentor, Ann Patchett. She explained how their friendship survived, and even thrived, on the competition.