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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 31 July 2011

Mariella Frostup in the final part of her history of women's writing considers developments in female fiction since the publication of Bridge Jones's Diary in 1996. Its creator Helen Fielding reveals how the anonymity of the newspaper column allowed her to be honest than she would have been if she was writing a novel and regrets the widening of the gap between pulp fiction and the literary novel.

What is the state of writing by women a century after women achieved emancipation? Is the idea of women's writing outmoded now, where does 'chick lit' fit in, and is feminism a concept which young female novelists consider central to their work? The programme also asks whether the literary establishment itself is suffering from gender bias.

This - and more - is discussed with best selling author and co-founder of the Orange Prize Kate Mosse, writer and playwright Lucy Caldwell and novelist Matt Thorne in a round table discussion with contributions from: Helen Fielding on Bridget Jones and popular fiction; Margaret Drabble on feminism and the "domestic" novel and the former literary editor of the Independent on Sunday Suzi Feay on commissioning reviews in a male dominated media.


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