The Handmaid’s Tale voted top book written by a woman for men to read

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Margaret Atwood’s best-seller The Handmaid’s Tale has landed the top spot on the “top 10 men’s reading list” of books written by women following a public vote.

The poll was part of a Women’s Prize for Fiction campaign aiming to encourage more men to read novels by female authors.

The campaign was inspired following the release of Mary Ann Sieghart’s best-selling book The Authority Gap which revealed men rarely read a fiction novel written by a woman.

Sir Salman Rushdie, Andrew Marr and Richard Curtis were among those who recommended novels written by women for the “top 10 men’s reading list” before a public vote.

Following 20,000 votes, dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tail topped the list followed by Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

Atwood said: “There was no Women’s Prize for Fiction at the time I wrote The Handmaid’s Tale but it was true then as now that many male readers shied away from books by women (except for murders and fantasies with wizards) and may also have felt excluded from them.

“It was normal for men to say to me, ‘My wife just loves your books’, a double-edged compliment.

“But The Handmaid’s Tale is not about men vs women.

“It’s about a totalitarianism – it is not a paradise for all men, any more than any totalitarianism is.

“All totalitarianisms control women in specific ways having to do with reproduction.

“Take note in light of current events in the USA: the state’s claim to ownership of women’s bodies  will  also affect men.”

The campaign comes five days before the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction is set to be announced at an evening awards ceremony in central London.

Now in its 27th year, the prestigious prize is open to original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world.

The six shortlisted novels explore a range of themes including identity, personal freedom, sisterhood, mental illness, ghosts, gender violence and more, from Antarctica to Trinidad.

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