Award-winning Irish author Sinead Gleeson is joining forces with indie rock icon Kim Gordon to edit a new literary anthology celebrating women in music.
Due in 2022, This Woman’s Work is a collection of essays by female writers, writing about 'the female artists, movements and pioneers that matter to them and about their own personal experiences'.
Best known as the guitarist in seminal US rock band Sonic Youth, Gordon published her own acclaimed memoir, Girl In A Band, in 2015. In recent years she's been acclaimed as a visual artist, with a show at IMMA (the Irish Museum of Moden Art) in 2019.
""What's it like to be a girl in a band?" The often-repeated question throughout my career as a musician made me feel disrupted, a freak or that we are all the same," says Gordon. "I once asked my boyfriend what it was like to have a penis? To me they are sort of equivalent questions. If it was born out of pure curiosity it’s understandable. Hopefully this book begins an unravelling of the myth that if you’re a female musician you are ready-made, easily digestible. I loved working with Sinéad – she is a true inspiration!"
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As well as Gordon and Gleeson, contributors to This Woman's Work include Irish Booker Prize winner Anne Enright, alongside Rachel Kushner, Fatima Bhutto, Jenn Pelly, Juliana Huxtable, Leslie Jamison, Liz Pelly, Maggie Nelson, Margo Jefferson, Megan Jasper, Ottessa Moshfegh, Simone White, Yiyun Li and Zakia Sewell.
Subjects explored include Anne Enright on Laurie Anderson; Megan Jasper on her ground-breaking work as CEO with Sub Pop; Margo Jefferson on Bud Powell and Ella Fitzgerald; and Fatima Bhutto on music and dictatorship.
Sinead Gleeson won the Irish Book Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year in 2020 for her bestselling essay collection Constellations; she's also the editor of a trio of acclaimed short story collections, The Long Gaze Back: Short Shorts by Irish Women Writers (2015), The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland (2016) and The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories (2020). She's currently working on her first novel.
'Music has been a massive part of my life," says Gleeson, "from fan to music journalist and writer, I've always been aware that male narratives have dominated this industry; valorised and prioritised above many ground-breaking female practitioners. Women (like Kim) had to carve out their own space within it, and we wanted to create a book that asked women to tell us about the female artists, movements and pioneers that matter to them. It’s been an honour to find these stories, and to work alongside Kim - who I first saw play in Dublin with Sonic Youth when I was 16."
This Woman's Work: Essays on Music will be published by White Rabbit on 7th April 2022.