Thursday, 8 March 2018

International Women's Day Reading List

Image from So Here's a Thought...

To celebrate International Women's Day, here's some top women authors who have written books about women and their worlds:

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an author I often mention as I love her work, which usually features some very strong-minded women navigating difficult situations. Her novels are often set in India and America and examine the culture clashes and challenges that come with bridging those countries. Sister of My Heart is probably my favourite.


Bem Le Hunte wrote one of my favourite novels of all time, The Seduction of Silence. Similarly to Divakaruni, it examines relationships from the Ayurvedic hills of India to a spiritualist church in London. The complex relationship between mothers, daughters and wives is deeply explored.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a huge name in world fiction, featuring women at the forefront of her stories. The relationship between the sisters Olanna and Kainene in Half of a Yellow Sun is one that I'm still unpacking today. As well as being a brilliant writer, she's also a clear voice on the subject of feminism. I highly recommend watching her TED talk on the subject.

Inga Muscio is an America writer who wrote Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. It's a very interesting look at the language used, especially in a derogatory sense, towards women, and how we might reclaim those words and put them to use in a positive sense. It also navigates a range of issues from birth control to female rivalry. Well worth a read. 

I'm including the late, great Diana Wynne Jones in this lineup. She's best known for YA fiction like Howl's Moving Castle and the Chrestomanci series. Her stories usually include a balance of male and female characters, but the thing I love about them is that, despite their fairytale settings, the women are never passive. Sophie in HMC kicks ass and princesses are just as likely to rescue the princes. Good stories for young minds.

You can also find a back issue archive of the feminist magazine Spare Rib online.

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