Today we commemorate International Women’s Day! Happy International Women’s Day to everyone! It is just one day but you are all awesome every single day. Never lose that luster and keep on shining. I am eternally grateful for being surrounded by empowered women who never balks at speaking out their minds. They have also been a great influence on my growth and development as an individual. Keep on being amazing.
In the spirit of what we are celebrating today, I have decided to list ten of my favorite female writers. I have read the works of over 400 writers and a prominent voice among them are the female writers. In fact, my four most-read writers are all women: Danielle Steel (42), Agatha Christie (28), Mary Higgins Clark (25), and Nora Roberts (21). Without more ado, here are my ten favorite writers.
Please note that these are writers with at least two read books.
When I was younger, my favorite literary genre was suspense and mystery fiction. It was the genre that introduced me to the world of literature. While Mary Higgins Clark will always have a special place in my growth as a reader, it is Agatha Christie who is one of my favorite all-time writers. At a time when I started losing interest in her genre, Murder on the Orient Express reignited my waning interest in suspense fiction. It was my first novel by the so-called Queen of Suspense. The book has made it to my all-time favorite books and would be followed up by more amazing works by Christie, such as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None, and The Caribbean Mystery. However, I have read my most recent Christie novel four years ago. I just might line up a Christie novel this March.
Prior to 2019, I have never heard of Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk; apparently, I wasn’t the only one. She piqued my interest, and many readers the world over for that matter, after she was declared the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her victory was a catalyst in making her works available to the rest of the world and I was more than happy to have acquired two of her works. Both Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead and Flights astounded me. Both books were unique, employing different literary techniques while exploring a vast array of subjects. The same can be said for her latest translated novel, The Books of Jacob. It was singularly cited by the Nobel Committee as her magnum opus.
There is no reason not to miss Jane Austen’s name. She is one of the most popular writers of her time and her works remain popular in the contemporary. My first encounter with her was back in my university days. Back then, I barely had any iota on the English classics but I took a chance on Pride and Prejudice. The book left a deep impression on me. On that day, Jane Austen earned another admirer; I am one of many. Unfortunately, it would take nearly a decade before I get to read my next novel by Austen. Despite the passage of time, reading her works felt like the most natural thing. I have now read four of her works and I am looking forward to reading her remaining works.
It was by going through must-read lists that I have first encountered Chilean writer Isabel Allende. Her novel The House of the Spirits immediately captured my interest. This was notwithstanding the fact that I barely had any iota on what the book was. I also had no idea who Isabel Allende was. But I knew I wanted to read her novel. And I was not mistaken. The House of the Spirits enthralled me from the onset. Allende transported me to a world that was reminiscent of my own country. While my second Allende novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, did not live up to my expectation, I am nevertheless looking forward to reading more of her works. I recently received my copy of her latest novel, Violeta, and I can’t wait to read it as soon as I can.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Lately, I have also been venturing into more works of African literature. It was an interesting and rich experience. One of the writers who immediately stood out was Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It all began in 2019 when I read Half of a Yellow Sun. The depth of the book and its historical contexts simply took my breath away. I knew right there right then that I wanted to read more of her prose. True enough, in 2021, I got to read my second novel by Adichie. Americanah, while starkly different from my first Adichie novel, was scintillating in its examination of the migrant experience. It was raw and honest. It was impressive. I am crossing my fingers that I get to read Purple Hibiscus soon.
Canadian writer Margaret Atwood is another name I wasn’t familiar with until I started going through must-read lists. Several of her works were listed as must-reads. It goes without saying that she piqued my interest and thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long to read my first Atwood novels. While my first Atwood novel, Bodily Harm, was forgettable, her succeeding novels that I read swept me off of my feet. Both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin were magnificent and memorable reads. Each was also unique and stood out. I am not that impressed with The Testament but it is not stopping me from exploring more of Atwood’s prose.
Turkish writer Elif Shafak is one of my latest discoveries. It was in 2019 that I first encountered her when I acquired a copy of her novel The Bastard of Istanbul. I bought sans any iota on what the book was about nor have I had any idea on who Shafak was. It was my insatiable appetite for new reading adventures that made me dive into uncharted territories. It was, however, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World that I read first. It sure has captured my interest. While my next two Shafak novels failed to impress me, both showed me different dimensions of her prose. Her background in political science astounded me for it came across in these two works. I am also in awe of her courage in examining her homeland’s turbulent history. She was nearly censored and litigated for her works.
Like Austen, the Brontë sisters have also established quite the reputation as skilled storytellers. The trio has published some of the most renowned titles like Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Windfell Hall, and Wuthering Heights. Of the three sisters, it was the eldest, Charlotte, that provided me with my first insight into their brand of prose. I can still vividly recall being in awe of Jane Eyre when I read it half a decade ago. I had the same reaction to Villette. Like Austen, her early demise was lamentable. for who knows how much more they could have achieved, and consequently, how far-reaching their literary influences could be. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to reading more of the Brontë sisters’ works in the coming months (or perhaps years).
I think it was in 2015 when I first encountered Donna Tartt. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch, was one of my random purchases. I barely had any iota on what the book was about. I also didn’t know about the Pulitzer Prize bank then but I felt like it was something prestigious; I, later on, confirmed that indeed it was. Despite the book’s length, I found myself heavily invested in the story and it made me look forward to exploring Tartt’s prose. The Secret History, her debut novel, was my second Tartt book. It was shorter but it was equally impressive. Now I can’t wait to read The Little Friend. I am hoping that she publish more works in the future.
Madeline Miller’s Circe was part of my 2018 Books I Look Forward To List. I didn’t have any idea who Miller was back then. This did not, however, stop me from including her work in my most anticipated books list. Circe did not disappoint. I love Greek mythology but I was more awed by how Miller took on the timeless tale of Circe. She added her own twists to produce new work without sacrificing the original. I loved the idea of giving voices to characters most readers dismiss as insignificant. This was a similar approach Miller had in her debut novel, The Song of Achilles. I can’t wait to read more brilliant retellings of Greek mythology.