Here’s a small sampling of the responses writer Whitney Reynolds (@whitneyarner) received to the viral Twitter challenge, “Describe yourself like a male author would,” which appeared on April 1:
“She was mostly too tall for me to see her but sometimes I noticed that she was man-sized, with man-sized shoulders and small breasts. I 100% did not find this intimidating why do you ask.”—Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned King (@linneaharts)
“She was forty but could have passed for a year younger with soft lipstick and some gentle mascara. Her dress clung to the curves of her bosom which was cupped by her bra that was under it, but over the breasts that were naked inside her clothes. She had a personality and eyes.”—Jane Casey, author of the “Maeve Kerrigan” series (@JaneCaseyAuthor)
“Her breasts entered the room before her far less interesting face, decidedly maternal hips and rounded thighs. He found her voice unpleasantly audible. As his gaze dropped from her mouth (still talking!) to her cleavage, he wondered why feminists were so angry all the time.”—novelist Jennifer Weiner (@jenniferweiner)
“When I began the book, I was listening to my friends speaking about their nannies, saying, My nanny is very nice, my nanny, and I was like, It’s very weird. It’s the nanny of the children, it’s not her nanny, and they’re saying ‘my nanny’ as if she owns her and as if she was herself a child being raised by the nanny. And they also say, I like her so much. She’s like a member of the family. She’s like another mother to my children. But you know that she doesn’t think this and that she doesn’t want this. She doesn’t want her to be a second mother. She wants to be the only mother. It was a way to show the hypocrisy of everyday life.”—Leïla Slimani, author of the domestic horror novel The Perfect Nanny, at the Cut
“You will be staring at your mobile in a crosswalk, answering a complaint from an author about their seat assignment on a United flight, and then be hit by an Uber. That is the most succinct description of book publishing in the 21st century that the director can think of.”—Knopf Doubleday executive VP and publicity director Paul Bogaards offers an alternate description for an actual job opening in the Tumblr post, “On Public Relations.”
Megan Labrise is a staff writer and the co-host of the Kirkus podcast, Fully Booked. The photo above right of Leïla Slimani is courtesy of Catherine Hélie at Gallimard.