Claire Messud is a major novelist whom I was lucky enough to meet at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference in 2005. My first novel about Algerian stowaways has affinities with her work and life. Her father was a French settler in Algeria and her second novel, The Last Life, is set partly in Algeria. Her editor, Robin Desser at Knopf, is also my editor. Claire guest-edited the Guernica issue this month that featured work by myself, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Porochista Khakpour, Sefi Atta, Holly Goddard Jones, Elliott Holt, and Hasanthika Sirisena. She introduced our work with an essay about how women are overlooked in the literary world. It’s a brave piece; one I would have hesitated to write. It’s toughminded. No whining. Today I took the time to read the comments posted after the essay. A lot of aggrieved guys wrote in to complain. That stunned me at first. I realized it’s part of the phenomena Claire takes on.