A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Jennifer Egan’s thoughtless comments about female writers after winning the Pulitzer. You remember the post, right? It was the one where Egan talked about Kaavya Viswanathan’s plagiarism of other female others. In the article, Egan claimed that Viswanathan’s plagiarism was “very derivative, banal stuff.” This comment essentially took aim at some of the most successful and beloved female authors working and writing today. I wasn’t the only one who was offended or even a little pissed off by what she’d said. Jennifer Weiner was the champion of the issue, but several blogs, including the Frisky and The Signature Thing, also took issue with Egan’s comments.
She’s since apologized in a short interview with Beatrice.com. In the interview, she states:
I have nothing to defend in what I said. I really wish I hadn’t said that, and was incredibly and immediately sorry that anyone was hurt by it. I don’t blame anyone for being mad about it.I’m all for criticizing; I’m not saying that no one should ever criticize anyone else. But if you’re going to criticize, you should do it intentionally and thoughtfully and carefully and know whom you’re criticizing and for what. And I didn’t meet any of those criteria.
I have to admit, it’s a pretty good apology. She does make mention of the fact that she thinks that there’s a conversation to be had about female writers and literary culture. I agree with her, but I also think that it needs to be approached carefully and conscientiously.
What do you think, guys? Can we move on now?