Category: women in literature

Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) was an English…

Vita Sackville-West
(1892-1962) was
an English author and garden designer. She is known for her award-winning
poetry and novels, as well as for extended correspondence with Virginia Woolf,
with whom she had a well-documented love affair.

She
wrote a number of novels of great commercial success, as well as numerous volumes
of poetry. She was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Imaginative Literature on
two occasions. The androgynous protagonist of Virginia Woolf’s popular novel Orlando was inspired by Sackville-West.

Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968) was an American…

Mercedes de
Acosta
(1893-1968)
was an American poet and playwright of Spanish origin. Although unsuccessful in
her writing career, she is remembered for living as openly gay despite societal
prejudices.

She was involved with
a number of Broadway and Hollywood actresses, and never attempted to keep her
sexuality a secret. She was also a strong promoter of liberal causes and
women’s rights, and supported the Republican government during the Spanish
Civil War.

Lesya Ukrainka (1871-1913) is one of the most …

Lesya
Ukrainka
(1871-1913)
is one of the most significant writers in Ukrainian literature. She is known
for her poetry and plays, as well as for her feminist activism.

She was highly
educated from a young age and could speak ten languages. Her poetry had strong
political connotations, especially regarding Ukraine’s fight for independence
from the Russian Empire.

Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885) is a significant…

Rosalía de
Castro
(1837-1885)
is a significant figure in the Romantic Movement in her native Galicia. She
wrote in Galician in addition to Spanish, in a gesture of defiance against
stereotypes of the minority language.

She published numerous
volumes of poetry and is considered one of the most significant Spanish writers
of the nineteenth century. Her work focused heavily on Galician history,
society and language, fighting against the notion that it was a lesser tongue,
unfit for literature.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was a journalist…

Lydia Maria
Child
(1802-1880)
was a journalist and novelist, as well as an activist for women’s rights,
Native American rights, and abolitionism. She fought against white supremacy
and patriarchal society her entire life.

She believed that women’s rights were closely
tied with African American rights, as both groups were oppressed and no real
progress could be achieved unless both issues were dealt with. Her writings in
support of the abolitionist movement included the book An Appeal in the Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans and
the publication National Anti-Slavery
Standard.
Her fictional book Hobomok,
which portrayed a relationship between a Native American and a white woman, was
scandalous at the time of its publication.

Karen Joy Fowler (b. 1950) is an author workin…

Karen Joy
Fowler
(b. 1950)
is an author working mostly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She
is best known for her bestselling 2004 novel The Jane Austen Book Club.

Her first novel was
published in 1991 and received great critical acclaim. Throughout her career
she won the Nebula Award, as well as the World Fantasy Award, twice and three
times respectively, along with other honours such as the PEN/Faulkner Award for
Fiction.

Lisa Appignanesi (b. 1946) is a British-Canadi…

Lisa Appignanesi (b. 1946) is a
British-Canadian novelist. She has served as the President of English PEN and
is currently Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.

Among her works are Memory and Desire and Freud’s Women, studies of Freud’s ideas
in relation to women, as well as Mad, Bad
and Sad : A History of Women and the Mind Doctors.
The latter won the
2009 Award for the Public Understanding of Science from the British Medical
Association.

Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) was a poet and pol…

Muriel
Rukeyser
(1913-1980)
was a poet and political activist. Her poetry often dealt with themes of
feminism, social justice and Judaism.

She was active in politics from a young age,
and was working for the International Labor Defense at 21. She also served as
president of the American centre of PEN International. Her work was rewarded
with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Yale Younger Poets Award, among others.

Grace Paley (1922-2007) was an author and poli…

Grace Paley (1922-2007) was an author
and political activist. She mostly published short story anthologies and
poetry.

She won numerous awards for her literary work,
including a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction or the Edith Wharton Award. In
addition, she taught at various higher education institutions such as Columbia
or Syracuse University. Her activism focused mostly on pacifism and antiwar
efforts, and campaigned extensively against the Vietnam War and American intervention.

Hedvig Nordenflycht (1718-1763) was an early S…

Hedvig Nordenflycht (1718-1763)
was an early Swedish feminist. She was the host of a literary salon in
Stockholm and supported women’s writing in her country.

Her literary debut took place in 1742 with the
poem The Lament of the Swedish Woman.
In 1753 she became the only female member of the literary academy Tankebyggarorden, created with the
purpose of reforming Swedish literature.