This Woman’s Work: Essays on Music is a new anthology of edited by Sinéad Gleeson and Kim Gordon, featuring new work by Anne Enright, Fatima Bhutto, Jenn Pelly, Rachel Kushner, Juliana Huxtable, Leslie Jamison, Liz Pelly, Maggie Nelson, Margo Jefferson, Megan Jasper, Ottessa Moshfegh, Simone White, Yiyun Li and Zakia Sewell.
Published to challenge the historic narrative of music and music writing being written by men, for men, This Woman’s Work seeks to challenge the male dominance and sexism hard-coded in the canons of music, literature, and film and has forced women to fight pigeon-holing or being side-lined by carving out their own space. Women like the auteurs and ground-breakers featured in this collection, including: Anne Enright on Laurie Anderson; Megan Jasper on her ground-breaking work with Sub Pop; Margo Jefferson on Bud Powell and Ella Fitzgerald; and Fatima Bhutto on music and dictatorship.
This Woman’s Work also features writing on the experimentalists, women who blended music and activism, genre-breakers, the vocal auteurs; stories of lost homelands and friends; of propaganda and dictatorships, the women of folk and country, the racialised tropes of jazz, the music of Trap and Carriacou; of mixtapes and violin lessons.
Kim Gordon said: ‘“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. 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 a ready-made, easily digestible. I loved working with Sinéad on this book – she is a true inspiration! And so thrilled to be working with Lee Brackstone again.’
Sinéad Gleeson said: ‘Music has been a massive part of my life, 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 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 has a stellar list of contributors writing across subjects both familiar and niche and we hope there’s something in here for every music fan.’
Lee Brackstone, Publisher at White Rabbit, said: ‘Kim Gordon and Sinéad Gleeson are two inspirational figures in their respective fields and a classic A Team to deliver a book which explores the female experience in music, as a practitioner, an insider, an observer, a critic, a fan and so much more. This Woman’s Work is a wonderfully eclectic and illuminating collection of perspectives and experiences on music, as seen exclusively
by women – who have been historically marginalised in the blokey world of music writing (says the bloke). I am so happy to be reunited with Kim after working together on her memoir and Sinéad who has the sharpest eye around for essays that go deep.’