Category: literature

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) was an author of children’s books, best
known for her Little House on the Prairie series. The popular books
dealt with life in a settler and pioneer family.

In
addition to her writing, she also had a career as a teacher, started at the age
of 16. She had a weekly column in the Missouri Ruralist newspaper, where
she talked about farm life and the increasing opportunities of a woman at the
time.

Hannah More (1745-1833) was a notable English author and philanthropist during the 18th
and early 19th century. She was a leading member of the Blue
Stockings Society, an organisation of intellectual women of the time.

She
was well known in English society for her plays and poetry, as well as for her
anti-slavery activism. She was responsible for founding twelve schools in poor
areas of England and donating the money that helped establish Kenyon College in
the United States.

Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was an English author who was
nominated for the Booker Prize in 1987, as well as the Lost Man Booker Prize in
2010. She is one of the very few writers who have both been nominated and
served as a judge for the prestigious award.

She has written 55
books for children and adults over a career which spanned more than five
decades. In 2004 she was awarded the Golden PEN Award for “a Lifetime’s Distinguished
Service to Literature”.

Connie Willis (b. 1945) is a writer of science fiction
novels. She has won eleven Hugo and seven Nebula Awards – more than any other
writer.

She is best known for
novels such as Doomsday Book and Blackout/All Clear, which
feature time travel. Most of her major works were nominated or won major sci-fi
awards.

Sandra Gilbert (b. 1936) is an important feminist literary
critic. Her 1979 work The Madwoman in the Attic, co-authored with Susan
Gubar, is considered a fundamental text of second-wave feminism.

She obtained a PhD in
Literature from Columbia University. She was the President of the Modern
Language Association and won numerous prizes and scholarships for her work,
such as the American Book Award and the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award
from the National Book Critics Circle.

Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was an English writer and philosopher,
celebrated today as a pioneer for female authors. Her 1666 work The Blazing
World
is one of the earliest examples of utopian fiction and science
fiction.

She wrote extensively,
poetry, plays and other fictional works, and published them under her own name,
in a time when women still mostly wrote anonymously. She was the first woman
invited to attend a meeting of the Royal Society of London in 1667 – the Society’s
first female member was only inducted, however, in 1945.

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African-American
woman to publish a book of poetry. She achieved this in 1773 with her volume, Poems
on various Subjects, Religious and Moral
.

She was born in West
Africa and sold into slavery in the United States at the age of seven. The
Wheatley family, that had bought her, taught her how to read and write, and she
wrote her first poem at the age of fourteen. Her work achieved great success
both in the US and overseas, and figures such as George Washington praised her writing.

Margaret
C. Anderson
(1886-1973)
was the founder and editor of The Little Review, an art and literary
magazine published between 1914 and 1929. The magazine was instrumental in
introducing numerous prominent writers of the 20th century, such as
Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot or James Joyce.

Before
founding The Little Review, she was a pianist and a book critic. The
magazine published the serialised version of Ulysses, one of the most
important novels of the century. Along with her co-editor and lover, Jane Heap,
she was accused of obscenity for publishing sexually explicit poetry, and
issues of the magazine were confiscated and burned.

Sheema
Kalbasi
(b. 1972)
is an Iranian poet and activist. She has written extensively on themes of
feminism, human rights and social justice, and serves as the director of the
Poetry of Iranian Women Project.

In addition
to her literary endeavours, she has volunteered with disadvantaged refugee children
and has worked for the UNHCR and for the Centre for Refugees in Pakistan and in
Denmark.

Suzette Haden Elgin (1936-2015) was one of the most important figures in
the linguistics field of constructed languages, particularly in science
fiction. She was a writer herself and founded the Science Fiction Poetry
Association in 1978.

She earned a PhD in linguistics from the University of California, San
Diego, writing two dissertations: one on English and one on Navajo. Her science
fiction writing focused on feminist themes and featured an engineered language
called Láadan – a language that tested the theory that Western natural
languages are male-centered and do not properly express the views of women.