The top 5 female authors you should know about (in my opinion anyway)
I’m not usually one for posting ‘list style’ blogs, I much prefer to ramble on about something (I don’t know if you can tell…), however recently I have had a few people ask me for some book recommendations.
I absolutely love reading, I think I mentioned that in a previous post, but to me reading isn’t part of my job prep, its honestly a hobby. It’s so easy to get into the habit of putting on Netflix before bed and forgetting all about the joys of a good story, but I made it my challenge this lockdown to fall back in love with picking up a book and immersing myself in the pages.
Personally, I find it really hard to recommend a book to people because we all like different things and books are so diverse and personal, so instead I thought I would recommend the top 5 female authors that I think you should know about. This was originally going to be a top 10 but it was getting far too long, I really can ramble away for hours on end, so if anyone wants a part two please let me know!
Why female you ask? Why not? Empowering women is something everyone should be doing because women are incredible and amazing and should be celebrated.
Anyway, here are my top 5 female authors, in no particular order, that everyone should at least be aware of, if not thoroughly obsessed with.
1 – Toni Morrison
First up we have the incredible Toni Morrison. Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor and professor. She is an all-round literary icon to be honest. Her novels are known for their epic themes, exquisite language and detailed African American characters who are central to their narratives. Her writing is strong, truthful, and refreshingly honest, and she is certainly not an author to mince her words. Some of her best-known novels include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Love and A Mercy.
My personal favorite here is The Bluest Eye which looks at the life of a young African American girl who believes that her difficult life would be better if she had blue eyes. The book originally didn’t sell well due to its controversial nature, with Morrison saying the book was received by the public in the same way the main character was: “dismissed, trivialized, misread.” Honestly, if you want a strong, passionate book that covers issues from injustice in America to the privilege of the upper class, Morrison should be your go to!
2 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Next, we have one of my personal favorites Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie is an incredible writer who makes you feel and learn so much through her work. Most of her work draws extensively on the Biafran war in Nigeria during the late 1960s. Her first novel Purple Hibiscus (2003) follows Kambili, a 15-year old whose family is wealthy and respected but who is constantly terrorized by her fanatically religious father. The book is set against the backdrop of Nigeria, and typical of Adichie is written in an incredibly passionate and emotive style.
My favorite book (which was also made into a film that is definitely worth a watch!) is Half of a Yellow Sun. After four years of research and writing, the result was an epic novel that vividly depicted the savagery of the Nigeria-Biafra war (which resulted in the displacement and deaths of perhaps a million people) but did so by focusing on a small group of characters, mostly middle-class Africans. If you want to be informed as well as made to laugh, cry and be hooked from start to finish, Adichie will do that, and so much more.
3 – Alice Munro
I physically cannot describe to you how much I love Munro’s work. Honestly, I am obsessed. As an aspiring writer her stories are just mind-blowing and as a reader, they are some of the most emotive and often heart-breaking stories you’ll read.
Munro has published an endless list of short stories aimed at teaching people a thing or two about how to, or often how not to, live. One of my favorite things about Munro is her blatant and un-fearful writing. You cannot open one of her books and expect it all to end well, because that simply isn’t life. She doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff and won’t hide the realities to her readers, so be prepared to face some brutal honestly. Her stories are also based around real people, so nothing is too glamorous or too far-fetched; I think that’s what makes some of them so touching.
I would recommend any of her short stories, however The Bear Came over the Mountain about the domestic erosion of Alzheimer’s Disease, is a piece of literary greatness. For those who might not want to read something that can be so close to home, it was also made into a critically acclaimed film Away from Her in 2006. Be prepared, it’s one to bring a tub of ice cream and some tissues too…
4 – Sarah Knight
For anyone out there who is like me and struggles to say no, or cares too much what other people think, you need to read one of Sarah Knights ‘self-help’ books. My personal favorite being The life changing magic of not giving a F*@%.
A self-proclaimed anti-guru, Knight will have you laughing out loud as you learn all about her simple NotSorry Method for Mental Decluttering. I’m not normally one for self-help books but honestly, these ‘No F*cks given guides’ are exactly what any anxious, overwhelmed, disorganised or stuck in a rut individual should have in their life. Not only are they actually super helpful, they will also have you laughing out loud, crying at the relatability of some of the problems, and just all in all becoming a stronger more powerful individual. She also has a brilliant website promoting these books so if you’re anything like me and need to learn to say no, then Knight is the author for you!
5 – Maya Angelou
Finally, we have the outstanding Maya Angelou. Angelou’s writing reflects her many experiences in life and is nothing if not completely honest. She arrived at a writing career after many long years of doing just about everything else. Just a few of her jobs included working as a streetcar driver, a pimp, a prostitute, a dancer and a performer, before winding up writing, acting and directing in her later life.
These jobs allowed her to gain the experiences that she would later use in the many autobiographies that would come to make up the bulk of her work.
Angelou lived in Ghana as a journalist and became involved in the American Civil Rights Movement, meeting both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X personally. She published her first critically acclaimed autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in 1969. Angelou’s writing is a true reflection of her career journey, her work in the civil rights movement and some of the incredible people she has met along the way. If you’re looking for honesty, truth and inspiration alongside novels that will showcase how strength of character can help you overcome just about anything, Angelou is an author you should be reading.
Okay, so there we have it! My top 5 female authors that I honestly believe everyone should know about. The novels range from absolutely hilarious self-help guides to hard hitting emotional accounts of injustice and inequality, but the one thing they all have in common is that they were written by strong, independent and powerful females.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this different style of blog and if you do want a part two just let me know! As I said this was originally meant to be a top 10 but I got carried away writing (whoops!).
Thanks again for reading!