Reader's Voice Where have all the women gone? A look at female literary statues - or rather, a lack of them!

April 2017
Have Your Say! What Do You, The Reader Think?
      
An interesting topic to be discussed or pondered over 


by Helen Hollick


3% of non-royal statues in the UK are of women. 
How many of that 3% are literary figures? Half? A quarter? Ten? Eight? Four? 
I only found Virginia Wolfe.... but it is only a bust and not exactly inspiring:



Apparently there are 925 statues listed in the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) database but only 158 of these are of a woman. 

There are numerous statues of Queen Victoria – but what about our wonderful literary figures of the past? Those women who wrote the books that we now treasure – and have inspired many of us to write?

Believe it or not there are about as many animal statues as there are female statues.

OK not a statue, its a garden ornament -
 but it makes me laugh! 
Have we got even one of the Bronte sisters? Mary Shelley? Jane Austen? Agatha Christie? Harriet Beecher Stowe? Louisa May Alcott? George Elliott? Georgette Heyer…. 

There are various campaigns to petition various mayors and M.Ps here in the UK to honour our literary women (I assume the same in the US?) but how about a few suggestions for statues of women writers?

Add YOUR suggestion below – writers of the past or present! 


  • Which woman writer do you nominate
  • Why?
  • Where should her statue be placed?


 * * * 

Nominated women writers  - a tribute

Enid Blyton
Beatrix Potter


Jane Austen 
The Bronte Sisters
Astrid Lindgren
Selma Lagerlöf

Agatha Christie

Mrs Gaskell

Silvia Plath


13 comments:

  1. Funnily enough, a friend posted the statistic the other day and ut got me thinking then. Female statues other than royalty are indeed a rarity and the only one I could think of was aethelflaed at Tamworth - but she was the daughter of a king and queen in all but name, so I don't know if she even counts. (Another interesting talijg point: the only statue that I can recall having seen that is painted is that of LLewellyn at Conwy.) But back to the point: if I were to nominate several great women writers (in my opinion) of 'today' then tghat would be to wish them ill, for statues only go up after the person has died - so I'm not going there!! All the above that you name seem to me to be worthy and I sup[pose that Enid Blyton could be added to the list of 'contenders'. she has sold over 600M books since the 30's and I think all of us of 'a certain' age have read something by her. The staure, pbviously, should be erected in Dulwich, London.

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    1. (Sorry about the typos - I didn't check it before posting. Think I need a professor of proof reading!)

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    2. LOL typos are a bit of a nightmare for me at the moment as well Richard! I suppose it shows we are human not robots or trolls though! *laugh*

      Good point about statues for people who are alive....
      Enid Blyton took a down-turn in popularity during the 'PC' years some time ago when Noddy & Big Ears were condemned as gay (and there were mutterings about Morcambe and Wise as well - all those hilarious scenes with them sharing a bed!) I was furious when one of my favourite pony stories was changed - Jill's Gymkhana. Her pony was called Black Boy (because he was black and a boy) The PC brigade altered it to Blackie - which in my opinion was even worse! Still, I stray off-topic. I think I would like a statue to Beatrix Potter not only for her stories and her art work but for saving hundreds of acres in the Lake District.

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    3. Enid Blyton & Beatrix Potter added above as a tribute!

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    4. Fat fingers is my excuse!! PC has an awful lot to anser for too....I was thinking about this and th name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles came into my head (as it does), though I have to admit that I don't know much about her other than what Wiki says. I know that there are lots of p;ossible nom,inations (Rosemary Hawley Jarman, Rosemary Sutcliffe etc) but I wonder if the powers that be consider many of these great writers as 'worthy'? Certainly the 'classics' you mention in your article because even I've heard of them! (This is me who can never remember whether Jane austen was written by Jane Eyre - or vice versa!)

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    5. The classics Bronte & Austen are definite yesses!

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  2. Definately my favourite Authoress / Illustrator as a Child. Beatrix Potter! I see you have already recognised her (non-surprisingly)!!

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    1. One of the nicest things I've ever done while on holiday was to visit Ms Potter's house of Hill Top in the Lake District. To see where Ms Puddleduck was painted, and Tom Kitten - the clock on the stairs, the range in the kitchen, the rhubarb patch - the dolls house - oh it was delightful!

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  3. I have so many female writers that I admire (and quite a few are not British, so I'm thinking they wouldn't qualify for a statue in the UK :)) Here in Sweden, Selma Lagerlöf and Astrid Lindgren are the bees knees, so to say, and I do believe there are statues of both of them, albeit unpainted.
    One present-day female writer I truly admire is J.K. Rowlings. Not only has she written a series of books which, IMO, are already part of the classics, she is also a lady who has strong opinions and the guts required to stand up for them.

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    1. Pippi Longstocking if I recall for Ms Lindgren? I wonder if there will be a Harry Potter statue at Kings Cross eventually?

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  4. The Brontes definitely, Mary Wolstencroft, Mrs Gaskell, Silvia Plath, Agatha Christie - all obvious choices!

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    1. I often email-chat Mrs Gaskell's great, great, great niece Barbara Gaskell Denvil (we've reviewed a couple of her books) As we're both partially sighted we do a lot of note-comparing in very large fonts!

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  5. Julian of Norwich! Margery Kempe! Margery is often credited with being the first woman to write a biography. She was mostly based in King's Lynn so her statue should be there. Julian has her anchorhold in Ely but I don't think there is a statue of her.

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Helen