Women writers: A load of old tosh?

V.S Naipaul, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, has caused a bit of a stir by saying there is no woman writer that he considers his equal.

My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don’t mean this in any unkind way.

Really? He also states that he can:

read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.

The Guardian UK has devised a test to see if you too can work out whether the writer is male or female.  Try it out here.  Happily I only scored 4 out of 10 and feel vindicated that Naipaul is completely wrong.

It is an interesting subject however, and reminds me of reading The woman who walked into doors by Roddy Doyle, and being so impressed that a male writer could get inside the head of a woman so convincingly. Since this revelation I have come to the conclusion that a good writer can get into the head of anyone, regardless of sex, race, class or whatever.  What do you think?