bookgazing: (i heart books)
bookgazing ([personal profile] bookgazing) wrote2014-03-20 10:39 pm

Lady Pirates - 20th March

Reading the End wanted to hear me talk about lady pirates.

Jenny, I feel like I am going to disappoint you because while I love stories about lady pirates I know very little about these real life women. This is one of the many (many, many, many) areas of non-fiction that I would like to explore in more detail if only I were better at reading non-fiction for pleasure. I have a long list of books about pirates and female pirates that I want to get to one day – quite a lot of them are already in my house.

What I do know about female pirates I mostly learned from Diana Norman (probably better known now as Anita Franklin) and the internet. Diana Norman wrote these amazing historical novels about women who don’t feature heavily in historical fiction. When I was a teen, my library had several of her novels and I devoured them. I think she was to me kind of what Jeanne Plaidy was to other teen girls - a glorious, female focused author. It seems strange to say that now when so much historical fiction is about women, but I very much grew up with kings and knights and men adventuringon the high seas. If you haven’t read Diana Norman’s book I strongly recommend trying to find them, especially "Blood Royal" which is about a resourceful but desperate character who becomes a highway woman.

Anyway, the last book my library had was "Pirate Queen", which is a fictional version of the life of an Irish pirate called Grace O’Malley. I was a little bit in love with this story and its flame haired pirate captain.

I also read a book called "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" by Avi around the same time. This book isn’t about pirates, instead it’s about a girl who ends up travelling on a ship with a nightmare captain but it was definitely instrumental in shaping my love of all things sea adventure. There seriously aren’t enough stories about women sea adventuring and generally the sub-genre gets given a pass because sea occupations are traditionally seen as the domain of men.

Except, this is kind of like the lama situation that Kameron Hurley describes in "We Have Always Fought". There are lots of interesting female pirate characters in history: Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Mary Read and the other day I learned about a French pirate Jeanne de Clisson who sounds excellent. And there are more. Hundreds of stories have been written about one or two kings so I find the idea that there simply aren’t enough historical female pirates to justify more stories. I bet if I looked around I'd find other examples of female seafarers too. Make with the stories, world.

Oh well, at least Maggie Q is going to kill it in "Red Flag". Until that starts I’ll just be over here looking at Hook genderswap gifs. Unless anyone wants to throw female pirate recs at me? *hopeful face*

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