If you are also one of those readers who may have the basic question – why should one read women novelists – here is something you must read. First of all, let’s be sure that reading women novelists offers a variety of benefits. It provides valuable insights into women’s experiences, broadens our perspectives, promotes gender equity in literature, and offers an enjoyable and enlightening reading experience. Well, I am not sure what the phrase gender equality may connote today, in a world with so many genres (and more being invented), it was fundamentally between two universally acknowledged genres hitherto – men and women. By embracing the diverse voices of women authors, we enrich our understanding of the world and foster a more inclusive literary community. Today, it certainly appears from the outside, women are well-represented in the world of literature as we can see them occupying important places on the global, national and even local forums of literature. In this article, I will be writing about 10 women novelists anyone must read! I am a man (till now) and my pronouns are He, Him (for now).
The list below may have names that you may wish to replace with others. However, you can read as many women novelists as you want. This is just a suggestion and I am all willing to hear your versions in the comment section. Let’s dive into it now!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is renowned for her contributions to fiction, nonfiction, and essays. Her critically-acclaimed novels, “Purple Hibiscus” (2003), “Half of a Yellow Sun” (2006), and “Americanah” (2013), have been translated into over 30 languages and won numerous literary prizes. Adichie’s work explores complex themes such as identity, race, and social dynamics, and her writing has been praised for its insights and thought-provoking nature. She is a powerful voice in contemporary literature, and her work continues to inspire and engage readers around the world. Click here to buy Chimamanda’s novels from Amazon India – Books by Chimamanda Ngozi on Amazon India.
Virginia Woolf: Well, there are many who are afraid of Virginia Woolf! A lady who believed in disruption and a novelist who looked for the unexplored sides of human life with a special focus on the role of women in society, Woolf’s works are famous in academic circles today. Virginia Woolf was an impactful feminist author who wrote about the role of women in society. Perhaps the best-known work by her, A Room of One’s Own, is an extended meditation on the challenges faced by women writers. In this work, Woolf argues that women need to have financial independence and a space of their own in order to be able to write freely. In a way and on many fronts, she was right! She also criticises the patriarchal literary tradition that has excluded women from the canon. And the world can only look and laugh because the British Empire exhibited their gaudy and fleshy kingdoms around the world could not do justice to their women! Shocking, shameful and (do you think?) expected! Woolf’s other works, such as Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, also explore feminist themes along with many other ideas such as existentialism, women in society, the importance of a life synchronised with time and more. Many critics believe that in these novels, Woolf depicts the inner lives of women and shows how they are shaped by the social and cultural forces of their time. Moreover, if you observe carefully, Woolf also challenges traditional notions of femininity and motherhood. Even today, more than ever, Woolf’s work has a profound impact on the feminist movement. It was she, at the beginning of the feminist movement, who helped to raise awareness of the challenges faced by women and to inspire other women to write and fight for their rights. In addition to her writing, she was also a founding member of the Women’s Cooperative Guild and the National Society for Women’s Service. She also gave lectures and wrote essays on feminist topics. Well, nothing takes away the fact that Virginia Woolf was an amazing author and her novels still fascinate readers around the world. Interested in knowing more? Read this article – Interesting and unknown facts about Virginia Woolf
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Toni Morrison: I am sure many of the readers of English novels must have heard the name of Morrison. Toni Morrison was a groundbreaking American novelist, essayist, and professor who broke barriers as the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. It was, perhaps, because the lady novelist kept in close sync with her roots, issues that African-Americans faced, racism, and other problems. Her novels explored the experiences of Black Americans, particularly Black women, with lyrical prose, complex characters, and unflinching examination of racism. Morrison was born in 1931 to a working-class family in Lorain, Ohio. She attended Howard University, where she studied English and creative writing. After graduating, she worked as a teacher and freelance writer before becoming an editor at Random House. In 1970, she published her debut novel, The Bluest Eye, which was a critical and commercial success. The success of the novel The Bluest Eye inspired and propelled her to write more. As a result, Morrison went on to publish 11 more novels, including Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, and Beloved. Her novels were praised for their lyrical prose, complex characters, and unflinching examination of racism. In 1993, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first African-American woman to receive the prize. Morrison’s impact extended beyond her novels. She was also a prolific essayist and held teaching positions at prestigious universities, including Princeton and Yale. She died in 2019 at the age of 88.
Read books by her – click here to buy Toni Morrison’s novel from Amazon
Jeanette Winterson: Jeanette Winterson, a British author, has crafted a diverse body of work comprising over 20 books, spanning novels, short stories, essays, and non-fiction. More than anything else, renowned for her wit, intelligence, and originality, Winterson’s writing style is often characterised as lyrical and playful, frequently employing metafictional techniques to explore the essence of storytelling. Once you read her novels, you will realise why her style is characterised as playful and witty. Born in Manchester, England, in 1959 and raised by a Pentecostal minister after being adopted, Winterson draws from her early experiences to delve into themes of religion, sexuality, and identity in her works. Her debut novel, “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” (1985), gained widespread acclaim and established her as a significant voice in British literature. Subsequently, Winterson has released numerous novels such as “The Passion,” “Written on the Body,” and “Gut Symmetries,” alongside non-fiction works including “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” and “Art Objects.” Translated into over 20 languages, Jeanette Winterson has received numerous awards, including the Whitbread Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her writing style is characterised by lyrical prose, playful wit, and metafictional techniques, captivating readers and leaving a lasting impact. Though she may be considered a novelist for modern readers, her writing style draws inspiration from the traditional masters of the art of fiction writing and her works still have something for the readers of classics in literature. So, when do you wish to try reading her novels?
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Charlotte Brontë: Charlotte Brontë, born in 1816, was a famous English novelist whose impact on the literary world still remains unchallenged (and perhaps unmatched). While Jane Eyre remains her most popular and critically celebrated work, other famous novels such as Shirley and Villette add more to her aura in the world of academics. Brontë’s writing style was characterized by its emotional intensity and deep introspection, deliberations on human life, and discussions on the struggles of a woman in society. She masterfully depicted the internal struggles and desires of her characters, allowing readers to form deep connections with them. Who can forget Jane from Jane Eyre? Brontë’s colourful and realistic descriptions brought her settings to life, creating atmospheric and immersive worlds that heightened the reader’s engagement. Her exploration of themes such as love, morality, and gender roles challenged societal norms of the time. Brontë’s contributions to literature extended beyond her captivating narratives, as her works helped pave the way for future generations of female writers. Even her sister, Emily Brontë was one of the many female writers! Her writing continues to inspire and resonate with readers, making Charlotte Brontë an enduring figure in the literary canon. Interested in reading her novels? Click the link below:
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Lauren Groff: Nominated for prestigious literary awards like The National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Lauren Groff, the illustrious luminary of American letters, has emerged as a virtuoso whose literary panache has left readers spellbound in its wake. Famous for novels like Matrix and Fates and Furies, Lauren’s writing style is distinct and peculiar. With an enchanting command of the language, her prose assumes an ethereal quality, cascading like a melodic symphony upon the page, enrapturing the senses and stirring the depths of the soul. Within her literary tapestry, Groff conjures characters of remarkable complexity, their spirits etched with deft strokes, baring the profound intricacies of the human condition. Through her narratives, she traverses the hallowed realms of love’s tender embrace, the bittersweet tendrils of loss, and the quest for unshakable identity. In her deft hands, reality fades to a mere wisp, as she guides readers into fantastical dimensions where the imagination reigns supreme. The resounding accolades bestowed upon Groff bear testament to her literary grandeur, as her name reverberates among the ranks of esteemed critics and adoring readers. Her opulent works, destined to withstand the relentless march of time, will remain alive in the hearts of contemporary readers for a long time.
Read the works by Lauren – click here to get her novels from Amazon India
Jane Austen: Who does not know Jane Austen? And if you say no, I will stop talking to you! Seriously! In the realm of literary brilliance, the name of Jane Austen shines with resplendent radiance. From her writing style to an exquisite tapestry woven with threads of wit, unexcelled irony and sharp realism, everything adorns the pages of her timeless works. With an expert hand, Austen deftly interlaces humour into the very fabric of her narratives, dexterously exposing the foibles and vanities that permeate society’s grand tapestry. Her pen, akin to a finely tuned instrument, surgically dissects the intricate intricacies of 19th-century life, affording readers a window into the ebb and flow of everyday existence. From marriage to affairs, romance to sensible match-making, heart-to-heart conversations to the harsh realities of life, Austen exhibits everything that her audience could ask for! Through her meticulous prose, Austen unfurls a vivid tableau of human nature, where her characters, akin to exquisitely carved marionettes, spring to life upon the vast stage of her fertile imagination. With each stroke of her pen, she breathes depth and authenticity into their very souls, endowing them with vibrant life. Today, Austen’s novels continue to captivate with their ever-flowing delight, as readers are enthralled by her incisive humour, scintillating wit, and acute observations of the human condition. From the enchanting and spirited dance of “Pride and Prejudice” to the tender resonance found within the pages of “Sense and Sensibility,” Austen’s literary legacy beckons, inviting readers into a realm where laughter and introspection harmoniously intertwine.
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Mary Shelley: Seldom a list of women novelists can be complete without mentioning the name of Mary Shelley, the famous novelist popular for her Gothic novels and the magnum opus of her writing we know as Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. Born in London in 1797 to renowned feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft and philosopher William Godwin, Mary Shelley’s early years were shaped by a deep love of reading and writing. So, you can understand how she turned out to be a novelist to create an immortal character… Well, in 1814, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, an esteemed Romantic poet, a revolutionary visionary famous in his college years, and together they embarked on travels across Europe, encountering influential literary figures such as Lord Byron. Well, the story behind the creation of Frankenstein is something that you must know. It was during a fateful summer in 1816, while sojourning at the Villa Diodati in Geneva, that Shelley penned Frankenstein as part of a friendly ghost story challenge. And soon after its publication, this seminal work that delves into themes of science, religion, and the human condition, following the tumultuous tale of Victor Frankenstein and his creation, the rejected and vengeful monster, became a sensation among readers and continues to be so. Other than this amazing work, Mary Shelley wrote many other novels – The Last Man, Mathilda, Lodore and Falkner. Get novels by Mary Shelley from Amazon India. Click the link below:
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Sally Rooney: Sally Rooney, 32, an acclaimed Irish writer, is known for her famous novel, later made into a TV series, Normal People. She skillfully portrays contemporary relationships with realism and candour. With a unique style of writing, she has the distinct ability to draw the attention of readers till the very last page. Her clear and concise prose delves into the depths of her characters’ minds, exploring complex emotions such as love, loss, and solitude. Rooney’s literary artistry invites readers to reflect on the enigmatic tapestry of the human condition. She has written three novels – Beautiful World, Where Are You, Conversations with Friends, and the famous Normal People. Critics and readers recognize her as a virtuoso, praised for capturing the nuances of human connections. Her works have transcended language barriers, being translated into over 30 languages and adapted into captivating televised and cinematic creations. Once you read her novels, you will certainly have an appreciation for her writing style.
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Margaret Atwood: Margaret Atwood, the illustrious wordsmith hailing from the heart of Canada, has established herself as a revered literary figure, wielding her pen to explore the weighty realms of feminism, dystopia, and environmentalism. With a masterful command over the art of storytelling, Atwood weaves intricate narratives adorned with vibrant imagery and a piercing wit that cuts through the fabric of her tales. Her remarkable contributions have garnered adoration from critics and readers alike, solidifying her status as a luminary of the literary realm. As her narratives unfold, Atwood’s words serve as an incandescent beacon, inspiring and captivating readers, allowing them to glimpse the depths of her imaginative prowess. You will enjoy reading her novels (and she has written many). Famous ones are – The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testament, The Robber Bride, and The Blind Assassin.
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So, friends, this was the list for the day and I hope you will enjoy reading these literary artists. These ladies have been read by millions of readers around the world. Some of them are in libraries for centuries and others intend to do the same. Do let me know in the comment section the ones you have read and the ones you plan to read soon. All the best! Happy Reading!
By Alok for ReadByCritics