On Celebrating Female Authors

Whenever someone challenges me to name a female author I always experience a moment of panic. My mind goes blank and I find myself desperately racking my brain to come up with a name, any name, in order to prove that women are out there writing books. Inevitably, I’ll yell out an obvious one like “Margaret Atwood” or “Suzanne Collins” but I’ll walk away from the conversation feeling a bit cheap for grabbing such low hanging fruit.

When not put on the spot, I discover that I can rattle off the names of a hundred female authors with ease and wonder why I experience that uncharacteristic moment of blankness.  Oddly enough, this phenomenon doesn’t occur when asked to name male authors. Their names come easily because they are at the forefront; both in my mind and in our society. Female authors are neither lauded, nor applauded like their male counterparts and, although their books may be diverse in content and intent, they tend to all find themselves in the chick-lit ghetto.

Because I hate the notion that I might suffer from some sort of literary bias, I’ve challenged myself to not only read more books by female authors, but also to celebrate the ones that I’ve already read that have particularly touched me.

I challenge you folks to do that same in an effort to celebrate the diversity of women’s literary voices and in order to discover new books and authors.

What books written by women have moved your or entertained you?  If you can, try to branch out from the big four that are always mentioned (Rowling, Collins, Atwood, and Meyer).

Some of my favourites are:

The Bitch Posse- Martha O’Connor

The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern

The Colour Purple- Alice Walker

The Song of Achilles- Madeline Miller

The Mists of Avalon- Marion Zimmer Bradley

Bonk- Mary Roach

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    What, no love for Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club, one of the most famous books with female protagonists ever written?) She’s got a lot of books, too by the way — her most recent one was ‘The Valley of Amazement”

    Also look up Lisa See, Joanne Harris, and Jhumba Lahiri.

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