Female Authors

Times Flow Stemmed reads Maureen Johnson and pauses to reflect.

from Ms. Johnson, a list:

Edna Ferber, Diana Wynne Jones, Kate Chopin, Patricia Highsmith, Miles Franklin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Shirley Jackson, Lillian Hellman, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Edith Wharton, Eudora Welty, Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Virginia Woolf, Marianne Robinson, Lorrie Ann Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Grace Paley, Barbara Kingsolver, Mary McCarthy, Paula Vogel, Suzan-Lori Parks, Edwidge Danticat.

And, of course, other than the obvious--that the list comprises only the 20th and 21st centuries, I would ask where are:

Willa Cather, Sylvia Jewett Orne, A. S. Byatt, Penelope Fitzgerald, Bobbie Ann Mason, Jayne Anne Phillips, Alice Munro, Julie Orringer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni, Chimamanda Ngozi Adechie, Maaza Mengiste, Helen Garner

and a host of others all of whom deserve a wider readership?  (Well maybe not Munro and Lahiri, both of whom have quite large audiences--but still--you get the point.)

The answer, of course, is that no list is exhaustive, and that the offered list is merely to whet the reader's appetite for books by and about women.  Although why one should need to have one's appetite whetted for half of the fictional world is well beyond my ability to understand.


  1. Steven - If by 'half the fictional world' you mean books by and about women, the point that I took away from the article is that too few critics and publishers are whetting our appetites about women writers with the same persistence (and seriousness) as male counterparts.

    I get the impression, intuitively or by design, your reading is well balanced between genders. In my case, and Maureen Johnson's, that is not true.

    Thank you for linking my post.


  2. Dear Anthony,

    Point taken. I just think through my reading and I have no deficit of great female writers that I could name for anyone through much of time. Even the Middle Ages with Margarette of Navarre and Christine di Pisan, etc. So, the critical world may be at fault, you are correct. But we can individually remedy part of that deficit if we pick up books at our library or bookstore because they are interesting rather than because they are deliberately displayed for us to pick them up. It's a tough road, but as Ms. Johnson points out--there are a good many very, very fine female writers out there who deserve more attention and more critical attention.

    Thank you.




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