Great Women Writers

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The definitive list of women who shaped the literary and feminist scene.
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Canada's most decorated female writer tackles the topic of debt with the same style and grace used in her fiction.
Payback, Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
Payback
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Is woman doomed by natural law to be the mental inferior of man? That's what Kate Austin asks in her seminal work. This is by no means an easy read, but it's a classic that will introduce you to the second wave of feminism, where we question our place with relation to men.
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Bad Feminist is a 2014 collection of essays by cultural critic, novelist and professor Roxane Gay. And really, like what the title suggests, it's an insight on what it means to be a feminist, and how badly we are at it sometimes. Let's face it - women are multi-faceted, with different struggles and liberation needs. So even the right thing done, might be wrong. Roxane Gay talks about the real issues and struggles of the 21st century, and packages them in a relatable, lighthearted manner that will have you wanting more.
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist
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Activist, feminist, writer bell hooks was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hooks drew her unique pseudonym from the name of her grandmother, an intelligent and strong-willed African American woman who inspired her to stand up against a dominating and repressive society.
Appalachian Elegy is bell hooks's portrayal of harsh realities of life in and around the Appalachian mountains. hooks's poetry quietly elegizes the slow loss of an identity while also celebrating that which is constant, firmly rooted in a place that is no longer whole.
Appalachian Elegy, Bell Hooks
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Rising voices It’s time to revisit what’s at stake, what could still be lost, and why we must continually fight for equality and freedom for all. Get Out of my Crotch! is a collection of 21 different feminist voices (like Roxanne Gay, Betty MacDonald, Mira Ptacin) that study, examine and honestly confess the struggles that women continue to face.
Get Out of My Crotch, Kim Wyatt, Sari Botton
Kim Wyatt, Sari Botton
Get Out of My Crotch
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To say that the The Female Eunuch was an important piece for feminist writing is really an understatement. The book was really a landmark, and a turning point to how contemporary society viewed the female body. It may be nearly 50 years that the book has been published, but its key message still resonates till today.
The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer
The Female Eunuch
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Female crime authors are few and far between and Karin Slaughter is one of the best. A tense standoff between gunmen and police officers is happening in Georgia, and officer Lena Adams might just be the only one who knows what the gunmen wants. But she can't be sure. Karin Slaughter's "Indelible" is riveting, shocking and tense all at the same time. And when Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl says that she's one of the best thriller writers today, you best believe it and pick this one up.
Indelible, Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter
Indelible
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From bass guitarist, to wife, and to mother, Kim Gordon was always the front, center and solo of her own life. "Girl in a Band' is her heartfelt, honest memoir, on what it means to be in a scene full of boys, and what life after Sonic Youth is like.
Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
Girl in a Band
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Rocker and lover. You'd think Patti Smith would be loud, voracious and all out, but Just Kids, her 2010 memoir shows a softer side of her. Smith documents her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, and how she really transitioned to a musician, how her poems turned into songs and how she put together a band.
Just Kids, Patti Smith
Patti Smith
Just Kids
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Elena Ferrante is one of Italy's best writers to date and her portrayal of women and their friendships is second to none. My Brilliant Friend is all about two women and how their friendship withstands the passing of time and change. Ferrante masterfully spells it all out on the pages, and its terribly refreshing to have two women who manage to be solid friends, instead of the usual catty tropes.
My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend
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Burn This Book, Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison
Burn This Book
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Real women, real sex That's right, Sugar in my Bowl is a no bullshit approach to sex. Read what some of the most famous female writers like Naomi Wolf, Jennifer Weiner and Fail Collins have to say about the female desire. Unfiltered, unfettered, unapolegetic - a refreshing, daring book full of candour and wit.
Sugar in My Bowl, Erica Jong
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The Antelope Wife is Native American magical realism in its finest. We get a man who is able to wean a newborn, and a cake that tastes of grief and joy. The novel is about scattered families, who like beads in a tapestry, are woven together to form patterns, a larger picture. Following generational deaths, births and marriages, the novel loops and twists through years of history, to give us a beautiful piece of work.
The Antelope Wife, Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich
The Antelope Wife
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Hurston is one of your must-read authors when it comes to African American literature. Their Eyes were Watching God tracks the life and history of Janie Crawford through a story-telling session by her best friend Pheoby. The rich narrative travels through the American Civil War and gives us a glimpse of the slave trade through the life of Janie's grandmother. This novel has become a seminal piece of work in both African-American and women's literature, as Hurston lends a strong, compelling voice to the meek, teenage girl who grows up to be independent force in the community.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God
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Arguably, Joan Didion is one of the greatest woman essayists of modern times. Her slightly reclusive nature might seem alienating, but her work is anything but. The Year of Magical Thinking comes at her time of grief, but it is a solid piece of writing which sparks a lucidity and an epiphany.
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
Joan Didion
The Year of Magical Thinking
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Set in the Midlands in the late 1820s, Middlemarch touches on a wide variety of topics including women's rights, religion, the status of marriage and education issues. But we let reviews speak for themselves:
Virgina Woolf: "...the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people"

Emily Dickinson: "What do I think of Middlemarch? What do I think of glory – except that in a few instances 'this mortal [George Eliot] has already put on immortality'."

And seriously, how infuriating it was for Eliot to use a male pseudonym in order to get published?
Middlemarch, George Eliot
George Eliot
Middlemarch
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The Pickup, Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer
The Pickup
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The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making it the first novel written by a woman to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Bonus trivia: Edith Wharton was 58 when she won. The Age of Innocence presents a picture of upper-class New York society in the late 19th century, where newly engaged Newland Archer is attracted to Ellen Olenska, a recent divorcee whose status causes distress to their inner circles. Eventually, the trappings of responsibilities to self and society cause them to abandon their love.
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton
The Age of Innocence
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Virgina Woolf deals with women's suffrage and examines the relationships between love, marriage, happiness, and success through the daily lives and romantic attachments of two women. This 1919 novel should have been mandatory reading for all women at that time, and even more so now. After all, is marriage mandatory for happiness? And can marriage and love coexist?
Night And Day, Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Night And Day
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This classic novel has now come to serve as inspiration for monster origin stories, but none comes close to how groundbreaking the novel was when it was first published anonymously in 1818. Not only was the novel one of the earliest to discuss man's manipulation of science to produce fantastical results, it also goes in-depth into the gruesome nature of mankind.
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
Frankenstein
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