The Ten Most-Read Male Writers in College Classes, Based on Their Names Alone

She's so great!
She’s so great! Photo: ullstein bild/Getty Images

Books: Can they be written by women? Debatable, but let’s find out.

This week, Time assessed the results of a survey of 1 million college syllabi collected in the Open Syllabus Project by pointing to the 100 most-read women writers in college classes. The top two — Kate L. Turabian and Diana Hacker — are both authors of writing manuals, so that’s not exactly reassuring. But they are followed by Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, and Virginia Woof. All classic female writers who are universally beloved! Nice.

But at the list’s end, a correction by the story’s male author has been issued: “The original version of this story included Evelyn Waugh, who was a man.” Damn it. Fooled again. Why are the genders of famous authors so hard to determine? Is there a chance that the Cut’s favorite male writers are actually — uh oh — ladies? Because here is our list:

10. J.K. Rowling

9. George Sand

8. Carson McCullers

7. Lionel Shriver

6. James Tiptree

5. P.L. Travers

4. George Eliot

3. H.D.

2. Isak Dinesen

1. Harper Lee

Well, hey, you know what they say: Behind every good man is a good woman (who has been asked to mask her identity so that the oppressive system she lives in doesn’t inflict prejudice on her for no reason other than her gender).


The 10 Most-Read Male Writers in College Classes