The Rise Of The New ‘Lit Girls’



Twenty-four might seem young to write a memoir, but not if you’re Hannah Diviney. Already this articulate disability activist has co-founded a media company, starred in a TV series and successfully petitioned Beyonce and Lizzo to change their ableist song lyrics. For Diviney, writing a bestselling memoir seems less an act of precocity, than the next logical step, particularly given that she has 10,000 Instagram followers ready to snap up a copy as soon as it hits the bookshelves.

Diviney is among a new wave of Australian ‘lit girls’ – young women whose memoirs and books have all debuted in the past month. As well as Diviney’s memoir I’ll Let Myself In, consent activist Chanel Contos has just released Consent Laid Bare and Hannah Ferguson, the founder of social media juggernaut Cheek Media, has written Bite Back. Most of the books are part-memoir, part-manifesto for a new wave of feminism that has arisen out of the crucible of the #MeToo movement. The women behind them are young, activist, articulate and all of them have already amassed considerable social media followings. No wonder they’re catnip for publishers.

That all these books are being released right now is no coincidence: September and October are significant months in publishing – blockbuster season in the books business. Releasing a book 10-15 weeks from Christmas gives people just enough time to read and recommend it, but not quite enough time to move on to The Next Big Thing. The timing suggests then, that publishers don’t just think these women have worthy stories to tell, they expect them to sell.

“Women have always written about their own lives but historically it was safer/more acceptable to disguise these stories as fiction like Plath did in The Bell Jar.

– Ingrid Ohlsson,  publisher at Pan MacMillan

It’s not surprising, in a post-MeToo culture of female testimony, that stories of gendered suffering took centre stage. Indeed, speaking up and being heard can be a political act: cathartic for the author who gains control of her own narrative, educational and empowering for the readers.

Meet The Women Making Thousands From Their Wardrobes



Read Diana Reid's piece on the new wave of memoirs from young, activist, articulate women at PRIMER.


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