Scattered in hundreds of online publications are names and descriptions of contemporary women authors of fiction, poetry and playwriting.
We present them through a unified visual constellation that groups them into networks, universes of women writers, allowing to explore their connections.
It is a masculinized canon that led authors such as Mary Ann Evans or Josefina Vicens to use a male pseudonym.
We hope this visualization helps women readers and writers gain visual access to this vast network, constantly invisibilized.
There is also an invitation for new woman writers to send in their preferred writers to grow this project.
This project has prompted a dozen of contemporary writers to send in their prefered contemporary women writers to be added to the constellation we created, thanks to a form created with open source for that purpose included in the publications, and it has been read in 6 different latin american countries and Spain: Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Perú, Uruguay and Brazil.
We used data scraping through an API via a Python script for Wikipedia entries, Python programming language for visualization and open source Kobo protocol for new data collection via a form, which is then manually reviewed.
For the Wikipedia entries included, we wanted only fiction, poetry and playwriting authors, so we needed to make a manual hand-curation after automatically scraping data for all Latin American women writers of this century.
Context about the project:
Before we decided to face this data collection, analysis, curation, and visualization project, the New York times published an editorial article where H.G. Wells was presented as “the father” of science fiction. Us, two women writers and a non-binary one were outraged that the work of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein more than 70 years before Wells published was and is continously being rendered invisible by male writers all around the world.
This context prompted our work to scrape and curate Latin American, women, writers born after 1900, to show the vast number of them readilly available for columnists to select for their writings…
What can other journalists learn from this project?
This is a service project and a highly political feminist one, where other journalists can use the methodology to serve specific excluded communities such as women Latin American writers.
There is also a Python script that we share in Data Crítica’s repository.