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The Best Female Writers of All Time

Due to the International Women's Day, the whole month of March is usually dedicated to women all around the world. Marking the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women is always a nice reason for celebration, especially in an era during which we still have a lot to accomplish in the field of equality.

In such spirit, little female me has proudly prepared for everyone a list of some of the most accomplished female authors of all time.

"Every word a woman writes changes the story of the world, revises the official version.” - Carolyn See

"Every word a woman writes changes the story of the world, revises the official version.” - Carolyn See

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”

— Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen (1775-1817) is famous for her artistry in harsh and satirical social critique stashed inside romance novels.

Born in Hampshire, fairly educated, Jane proved herself to be very talented with words; her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published in 1811. Soon, other valuable novels followed, such as Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and many others.

Her legacy is certainly a priceless asset to every personal library. Full of important messages, her work was adapted to screen multiple times.

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“He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

— Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

А literary family from Yorkshire gave birth to three amazing artists: Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818-1848), and Anne (1820-1849). One novel per each was more than enough to secure them three places in history. Nevertheless, all three of them offered more than that, but they're mostly famous for their novels.

Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights, and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are some of the best pieces of written art. The sisters were very close, and all three mastered the skill of storytelling relatively early in life. The one thing they had in common is the following: all their novels portrayed the lives of many people, but the center of the attention was always a strong-willed, female character.

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“There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.”

— Frankenstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851) was known in society as the wife of a famous and talented philosopher and poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Little did the world know that Mary was good with words as much as her husband was.

The idea for Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, was conceived in the summer of 1816. Mary and Percy engaged themselves in nurturing a friendship with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont, and they spent the whole summer in Byron's lakehouse in Switzerland. The company was challenged by Lord Byron to write a ghost story. That's exactly how Mary came to an idea for her novel, infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement.

Her work is still considered to be a shocking, revolutionary, and priceless piece of art.

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“I will not be "famous," "great." I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”

— A Writer's Diary

Virginia (1882–1941) was one of the most significant modernists and an author skilled at the stream of consciousness (depicting multiple thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind of the artist) as a narrative device. During her life, he was very troubled by her mental illness, but she managed to create wonderful prose despite the illness, or maybe even because of it.

The Voyage Out, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, and A Room of One's Own are all considered to be masterpieces. Her last novel, Between the Acts, was published after she committed suicide at the age of 59.

Her novels have been translated into more than 50 languages so far.

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“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

— Song of Solomon

Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison (1931-2019), born and raised in Ohio, was a skillful novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. Winner of both Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Nobel Prize in Literature, Toni deserved a worldwide recognition for her work.

Her most accomplished novels were The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, The Beloved Trilogy, and God Help the Child.

In 2012, she was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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“There is no death, daughter. People die only when we forget them,' my mother explained shortly before she left me. 'If you can remember me, I will be with you always.”

— Eva Luna

Isabel Allende (born in 1942) is probably the most read Spanish-language author in the world. She is a part of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the winner of Chile's National Literature Prize. In 2014, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Her works are frequently spiced with aspects of magical realism, which give her novels a special note. Her work is often inspired by her own experience in combination with historical events of great importance. She is quite skilled in intertwining myth and reality.

Isabel Allende earned respect and literary fame with The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, Island Beneath the Sea, Zorro, and the series Memories of the Eagle and the Jaguar.

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“Meanwhile we have learnt something, and to know is to be prepared.”

— The Big Four

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan (1890-1976) was a very talented writer of crime and mystery novels. Her pen gave birth to 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, the world's longest-running play The Mousetrap, and six romances under the pen name Mary Westmacott.

Agatha Christie served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, and during the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital in London. Logically, she gathered knowledge for her novels in her everyday life. Like most women, she struggled to get her work published, and was rejected six times before she won her place in the literary world with the novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. She's famous in the world due to her characters Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple.

Lots of her novels have been adapted for television, radio, video games, and comics. Agatha Christie is an eternal inspiration for many authors all over the world.

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“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

— Little Women

With the pen name A. M. Barnard (1832-1888), Louisa May Alcott was a novelist, writer of short stories, and a poet. The world is mostly acquainted with her novel Little Women, and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys.

Louisa worked from an early age to help support her family, but also managed to write. She grew up among many well-known intellectuals of the day, which certainly helped her to properly channel the talent she possessed. Little Women is a novel somewhat based on her personal experience and was adapted many times to film, stage, and television.

Louisa May Alcott was an active abolitionist and a feminist.

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“Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

— To Kill a Mockingbird

Nelle Harper Lee (1926–2016) published only two books, and with them, she contributed to the literature so much that she was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Like Mary Shelley, she is proof that quality is the most important thing you can possess.

She received formal education at the University of Alabama, where she studied the law. Harper Lee wrote for the university newspaper and the humor magazine.

The plot and characters of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird are loosely based on her previous life, and the novel itself deals with some serious questions and issues as old as the world itself. Later, she wrote and published Go Set a Watchman, which is considered to be a sequel to her first novel.

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“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”

— Middlemarch

Mary Ann Evans (1819–1880) was known by her pen name George Eliot. She was a novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. George Eliot wrote seven novels and was known by her strong realism and presentation of the spiritual, emotional, and mental lives of the characters.

Mary Ann was a passionate reader, especially at an early age. Besides being a novelist, she was also a skillful poet. Some of her famous poems are How Lisa loved the King, and Count that Day Lost. Despite being a great poet, she thrived with her novels, such as Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, and Romola. Eliot fearlessly presented her social critique using her work.

One of her novels, Middlemarch, was often described as the greatest novel written in the English language.

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During history, every female writer contributed to the quality of the world. Each woman brought something refreshing and new to the universe of literature. More than anything, these daring women did their part in a centuries-long fight for the equality of the sexes. There are many talented authoresses who weren't mentioned in this article, but that doesn't make them any less worthy.

Which female authors would you add to the list?

Comments

Jim B Blogs from New Jersey on October 25, 2020:

Interesting article. Virginia Woolf and her use of stream of consciousness are particularly appealing. I still remember reading her "Mark on the Wall" in college.

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on July 09, 2020:

authentic post

Sp Greaney from Ireland on July 09, 2020:

It's great to see a list of female writers who have all contributed something to society. There are a few here that I have never heard of, so I must check them out.

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on June 22, 2020:

I'm definitely going to check out their works! Starting with the "Rasidi Ticket".

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 22, 2020:

Oh Ivana, all those writers that I have mentioned, they are internationally famed English Best sellers!

Amrita Pritam, whom I am closest to has done the work of translation for so many languages of the world.

If you want to know her, please read "Rasidi Ticket". It is available in many languages.

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on June 22, 2020:

I'd like to read some of their work in the future. I'll make sure to find English copies if possible! Thank you for adding a few more names to the list.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 22, 2020:

Thank you so much for sharing this. Oh, I was to add a few names but before that scrolled down to find if anyone else have put that.

Denise, has already mentioned Maya Angelou. Then in India we have Kamala Das, Amrita Pritam, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sudha Murthy, there are many more to be enlisted here.

For me Amrita Pritam is my idol. I see myself in her image.

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on June 16, 2020:

Thank you, Sankhajit!

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on June 16, 2020:

great and valuable post

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on June 16, 2020:

Thank you for your kind comments, Ann! I really appreciate it.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 16, 2020:

I'm a great fan of Jane Austen (particularly Sense & Sensibility) and of Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), though I could never see anything either sane or likeable in Emily's Wuthering Heights! Some here I don't know but Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird' and the numerous Agatha Christie stories are among my favourites too.

You've done a great job of detailing all these, Ivana. Thank you also for following me.

Ann

Laurinzoscott from Kanab, Utah on March 24, 2020:

This is a very fitting tribute to women writers .... its too bad that many womenn writers had to right under male pen names in the early oart of last century...anyway...fine article!

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on March 20, 2020:

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments! I really love all authors you suggested. They're really important, and I'm sorry I couldn't include all of them into article.

Amy on March 14, 2020:

Such a lovely hub!

Anya A. on March 12, 2020:

I really like this!

Shawn Tangcalagan from Philippines on March 12, 2020:

Excellent Hub! I would love to see more of this!

Lorna Lamon on March 12, 2020:

An excellent article with many of my favourites on the list. If I could add one author it would have to be Barbara Kingsolver whose work champions the causes of feminism and environmentalism. I enjoyed reading this article as these women are so important and inspirational.

Lily Mason on March 12, 2020:

Maggie Stiefvater!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 11, 2020:

Definitely Maya Angelou is one more. This was a good list and I love them all.

Blessings,

Denise

Jared Blake on March 11, 2020:

I'd add writers like J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Veronica Roth.

Book Lover on March 11, 2020:

I really love this article. Very creative!

Rosina S Khan on March 11, 2020:

You bring together a majority of the renowned female writers, whose many works I have read. You do it beautifully so that I really enjoyed it. A nice tribute to them on the occasion of Women's International Day in the month of March, Ivana.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 11, 2020:

This is an interesting list, bringing together classics that I studied in the past and also more recent writers.