So it is that time of the year again – a day dedicated to all the women in our lives, past, present and future. I always like to do something on the blog to celebrate so Becky and I thought we’d talk about some of our favourite female authors! We have decided to pick four each (a lot harder than it sounds) and share the reason why they, and their work, has impacted us so much.
“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
As much as I wanted to aim for female authors that aren’t as well known, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning Madeline Miller. I first came across her work when I read the much-loved Song of Achilles and like many people, that book absolutely wrecked me. Not only was it a heartbreaking story but it also features another love of mine – greek mythology. So of course when she released Circe, I was straight on it and I loved it just as much. I love how in Circe, she gave a voice and a story to a somewhat overlooked character in greek mythology and if you’ve read her work, you know how beautiful and atmospheric it is. I just want her to rewrite all the myths in her own words please and thank you.
“Remember this, whoever you are, however you are, you are equally valid, equally justified and equally beautiful.”
My first novel by Juno was her YA contemporary, Clean and the way she wrote about such a hard-hitting topic such as addiction and mental illness immediately put her onto my radar for all her future (and past) releases. As well as her contemporaries such as Clean and Meat Market, Juno has also edited the Proud anthology featuring LGBTQ+ short stories as well as The Gender Games in which she shows that ‘what is in your head is a lot more important than what’s between your legs.’ I love how her strong voice carries across every genre and how she can bring light and humour but also respect to hard-hitting topics.
“No sapient could sustain happiness all of the time, just as no one could live permanently within anger, or boredom, or grief.”
If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of Becky Chambers. Despite her books being predominately science fiction, I still recommend her books to everybody because in these futuristic worlds, she piles a whole lot of diversity. In her sci-fi worlds, there are different genders, sexualities, races. There are non-binary characters and genderfluid characters, pronouns are not assumed and found families are a huge part. Her books are marketed as sci-fi soap operas and focus a lot more on the characters than anything else. It’s so refreshing to see such a diverse and open-minded look at the genre, especially in her Wayfarers series.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
I think I can sum up picking Angie as one of my favourites by saying there’s a reason The Hate U Give is still a bestselling novel. Angie burst into the YA scene with this heart-wrenching but incredibly beautiful novel and has since gone onto to release On the Come Up both of which are 5-star reads to me. These novels focus on our main characters and the discrimination both they and their families face as black people. In The Hate U Give, the story focuses on police brutality and the unlawful killing of black people and On the Come Up focuses on both aspiration and the unjustified link between rap music and violence in the black community. Angie is definitely an important voice in the YA community.
Sarah Maria Griffin
“Some days the hearth in her burns a little too bright, but she knows that heat could give her energy and protection, if she let it. Today she feels more like a building full of beasts and flame than a woman, but the elements would settle. They would not make ash of her.”
I mean, I assume you all expected me to include Sarah in this. Not only did I fall in love with her work when I read her first novel, Spare and Found Parts, but I’ve since been lucky enough to meet her quite a few times now. Sarah has such a powerful voice, through her books, through her zines, her poetry and her other writings scattered across the internet. I find new secrets in her novels every time I re-read them, and aside from that, she’s beyond lovely to her readers.
“Accidents happen. Our bones shatter, our skin splits, our hearts break. We burn, we drown, we stay alive.”
I’ve only recently read Moïra’s work, but found how powerfully feminist it was to be such an impact. Her latest novel, All The Bad Apples, focuses on generations of women and how they were mistreated in Ireland simply for being ‘different’. It’s an absolute must read, managing to both empower women and bring some atrocities to light that have long been hidden.
“People like their women to be lovely. Women are a lot of different things.”
Perfectly Preventable Deaths is yet another Irish, feminist novel I’ve recently read and loved – have you guys spotted the theme yet? PPD is a super atmospheric, feminist book, exploring coming out, sisterly bonds, toxic relationships, witchcraft and more. I was lucky enough to have a tarot reading done by Deirdre at YALC last year and although my reading wasn’t necessarily a fully positive one, it was such a great experience. (The two of us have also been known to talk about guinea pigs sometimes…)
“Instead of disappearing, she makes me feel reappeared. Reimagined. Her touch shapes me, draws out the boldness that had been hiding in my core.”
I just had to include Natasha on this list. Her debut, Girls of Paper and Fire, definitely took the book world by storm when it came out and certainly lived up to its hype. Following Lei as she is forced to become a Paper Girl (a human concubine) for the part animal aspect King, the books unflinchingly look at sexual abuse and the way the nine girls react to their abuse differently. What really makes the series is how realistic it is.
Who are your favourite female authors?
Lots of Love,
Angharad & Becky