Elizabeth Estelle Burdon is a young author. She has one published book so far, ‘Ice and Fire’, however, the British teenager is currently working on her 20th novel.
When you read a book or a story, you are allowing the author into your head, letting them take the wheel, directing your imagination and feelings. That is why some men, even today, do not take female authors seriously. That is why authors like Mary Ann Evans disguised her gender behind the pen name “George Eliot”, while others like J.K. Rowling hid their gender using initials to sign their names on their work.
Let’s see what Elizabeth, a young author who is drawing her path in the world of literature, had to say about that, as we ask her about sexism, how she deals with it, and her message to women on International Women’s Day.
Hello Elizabeth! Happy to chat with you. Historically, many female authors were subject to discrimination. Some like Mary Ann Evans or recently J.K. Rowling had to write under male or ambiguous pseudonyms to avoid discrimination or prejudice on their work. Have you ever felt some sort of discrimination from people as an author?
No, I don’t personally feel as if I’ve experienced gender bias as an author, although that’s mostly because no one’s heard of me or my book anyway. I’d never write under a male pseudonym though, even if it would help my sales. What matters to me is telling my stories, and it would be against my morals to hide who I am just for some extra cash. I am who I am and if people don’t like it, then that’s their problem, not mine.
How would you react if you ever felt you’re being disregarded or undermined due to your gender?
Well, that type of stuff won’t fly with me. If it was in a situation where I could do something, I would absolutely call the person out on it. If there was nothing I could do… well, I certainly wouldn’t accept it quietly and I’d definitely do my best to make it known that I’d suffered injustice. I suppose I’m lucky that I’ve never experienced much gender discrimination – I experience more discrimination as a result of my being autistic, but I’ve never been afraid to speak out about that either.
You are 17 years old and have got a number of novels. What are your dreams for the future? Would you like to have one or more of your books made into a series or a movie? Or do you have other dreams?
I’m actually 18 now – finally, I can vote! Yeah, I’m currently (February 2021) working on my 20th novel and I’ve also written six novellas and two books of poetry. Only one of my books is published, and I definitely want to publish them all once I have the time and resources. I think that for any author, it would be incredible to see my stories on the screen but more than anything, I just want to share them. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a big successful author, but that won’t stop me from writing my books anyway, and eventually publishing them. The main reason I haven’t published another one since Fire And Ice is the lack of an editor, so hey – if anyone reading this knows anyone who’d be interested in reading through my books for me, get in touch!
Finally, on International Women’s Day, what message would you like to send young girls who see or read you and would like to be like you one day?
Well… when I was a kid, I was inspired to write by J.K. Rowling. Nowadays, I want to promise that if I ever have a platform anywhere near the size of hers, I’ll never disappoint people like she did with her bigotry. If you enjoy what I create, I promise that I won’t let you down like that. I also want to say that if you have a dream… don’t wait to pursue it. I started writing Fire And Ice when I was 11, and I published it at 14. Now, I’m just a student and not a lot of people know my name… but I’m an author. I did what I wanted to do. I hope you know that although it takes a lot of time and effort – it’s not an instant ticket to a perfect life – I do believe that it’s worth it to pursue your dreams. The first time I held my book in my hands, a real, physical book, it all became worth it. Don’t let society hold your back. If you have a dream that you think you can’t achieve, just ask yourself… why not?