Category: women in literature

Ntozake Shange (1948-2018) was an
author whose work focused on black feminism. Her most famous play was also her
first, For Colored Girls Who Have
Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,
published in 1976.

Her first play, which dealt with the experiences of African American
women in a racist and sexist world, won numerous awards and was performed on
Broadway. She was also involved with the Black Arts Movement and the Women’s
Institute for Freedom of the Press.

Sophie Treadwell (1885-1970) was an American playwright and journalist of Mexican
heritage. Her most famous work, the 1928 play Machinal, is often
included in anthologies as an example of an expressionist or modernist play.

She was a dedicated feminist and
suffragist, also advocating for sexual liberation and birth control rights. Her
writing career spanned more than six decades, and seven of her plays were staged
on Broadway.

Jan Morris (b.
1926) is a Welsh author and historian. She is best known for her Pax Britannica
trilogy, a comprehensive history of the British Empire.

Assigned male at birth, she underwent surgery in
1972 and published the autobiography Conundrum two years later, one of
the first books to discuss the personal experience of a trans person. She
received the Golden PEN Award for a “Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to
Literature” in 2005.

Grazia Deledda (1871-1936) was an Italian author. She received the Nobel Prize for
Literature in 1926 – the first woman from her country to achieve this.

She published her first novel in 1892, just one
of numerous others, along with collections of poetries and short stories. Her work
focused on the life and customs of Sardinian people.

Cherríe Moraga (b. 1952) is a feminist activist and author. She is the founder of
La Red Xicana, an activist group fighting for indigenous rights, culture and
education.

Born in Los Angeles, she obtained a master’s in
Feminist Writings from San Francisco State University. She is one of the first
writers to introduce theories on Chicana lesbianism. In 1983, she founded
Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, alongside Audre Lorde and Barbara Smith;
this was the first publisher in the United States dedicated to writings by
women of colour.

Zona Gale (1874-1938)
was an American novelist and playwright. She was the first woman to win the
Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which she achieved in 1921 for Miss Lulu Bett.

She published her first novel in 1906, and
eleven more followed throughout her career. In addition to writing, she also
supported progressive causes, and lobbied for equal rights in her state of Wisconsin.

Fredrika Bremer (1801-1865) was a Swedish author and feminist reformer. Seen as the ‘Swedish
Jane Austen’, her novels her highly influential in bringing about social change
for women in her country.

Her novels were very popular even outside
national borders, in the UK and the US. In a society where all women were under
the guardianship of either their fathers or their husbands, her novel Hertha
sparked a movement that granted Swedish women majority at the age of 25 – a
major victory for female independence. The first women’s rights organisation in
Sweden, formed in 1884, bears her name.

Tove Jansson (1914-2001) was a Finnish author and illustrator. She is best known
for her Moomin children books, that became internationally famous and
beloved.

She studied arts and design in Stockholm and
Paris, and had her first solo exhibition in 1943. She wrote the first Moomin book
two years later. In 1966 she received the Hans Christiansen Award, the highest
recognition for a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

Monique Wittig (1935-2003) was a French writer and feminist theorist. Her novels exclusively
depict women and are considered feminist and lesbian classics.

She has written numerous novels, short stories
and essays, mostly dealing with feminist themes. She is a main theorist of
material feminism and coined the phrase ‘heterosexual contract’, where the patriarchal
society exists as a result of the norms existing between men and women.

Alice Munro (b.
1931) is a Canadian writer. She is best known for winning the Nobel Prize for
Literature in 2013.

She is a short story writer, and has
published numerous collections over a career spanning more than four decades. Her
works have won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, Canada’s most
important literary prize, three times, as well as the Man Booker International
Prize in 2009.