Catch on up on your reading this summer and explore these amazing women authors than everyone should read. Women authors are still underrepresented in modern media, so it’s important to support women’s art and lift each other up when we can. Here are 10 women authors to read over the summer. These authors not only wrote great books, but they also contributed to important social movements and artistic epochs throughout time.
1. Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is an essayist, professor, editor, and commentator. She is also a writer of short stories. Gay really does it all, and she is unapologetic about her success and right as a black woman to take up space in the contemporary writing scene. Her most famous book, Bad Feminist is full of great ideas and stimulating thoughts on women, politics, feminism, and pop culture. It’s a great non-fiction read no matter your gender.
2. Virginia Woolf
If you haven’t read any of Woolf’s work yet, get on that this summer! She is an essential women author who contributed many seminal works to the literary canon. Her books, To the Lighthouse, The Waves, and Mrs Dallowy. Her works are crisp, lyrical, and exude a haze of magic that is perfect for devouring in the relaxing summer breeze. You should also give her diaries a read if you need some inspiration and insight into a great artistic mind.
3. Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag is a women author with a great critical eye. She wrote mainly essays critiquing and analyzing the artistic and social worlds around her. She had the understanding that art and social issues were closely linked. Because she was a photographer, her works are highly interrogative of what artist’s call The Gaze. The concept of observing something, photographing something changes it’s meaning and brings a whole new dimension into our lives as human subjects of art and documentation. Her work, Regarding the Pain of Others, is a great read even if you are not an artist.
4. Sennah Yee
Sennah Yee’s How Do I Look? from Canada’s Metatron Press is an essential read. Yee is one of those women authors that you need to read if you’re living in this modern age of technology and social media (which, if you’re reading this, you are). Yee’s prose poetry uses deceptively simply anecdotes to evoke complex and dynamic emotions within the reader. It brings into light her status as a woman growing up inside of social media and reactions to pop culture and the art around her.
5. Fatimah Asghar
Fatimah Ashgar is a Pakistani-Kashmiri-American poet whose poetry book If They Come For Us is a triumph among women authors and authors in general. This book is a collection of poems that touch on the lives of Muslims, more specifically, her experience of being a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary American society. She seamlessly and thoughtfully combines her personal life with the complex and generational ideas that have shaped the presentations of Pakistani and Muslim peoples in North America. Her work is lyrical and memorable.
6. Safia Elhillo
Safia Elhillo is a Sudanese-American poet known for her written and spoken word poetry. You shouldn’t just read Elihillo, you should also watch her videos. Her poems are powerful and resonant and deserve to be heard as she is one of the most important women authors of the millennial generation. Her poetry book, The January Children, discusses the effects of colonialism and social displacement of Sudanese children under British occupation. In her dedication Elhillo writes, “The January Children are the generation born in Sudan under British occupation, where children were assigned birth years by height, all given the birth date January 1.”
7. Clarice Lispector
Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian writer who’s works transcended language. She is known for her dark humour, elegance, and glamour. Her seminal work, The Hour Of the Star is written in such a way that it breaks the fourth wall. It is postmodern it most senses, but the poetry of her language evokes something much deeper in terms of a visceral connection with the narrator. Her sleekness and unique style make her a memorable and celebrated women author.
8. Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson is a fiction writer, poet, and essayist whose work defies genre or classification. Her hybrid work, Bluets, is a collection of prose and poetry that documents Nelson’s relationship to the colour blue. It’s such an interesting way of investigating and honouring the world around you. It’s basically a lyrical essay, but its innovative form will captivate your mind and heart and make you want to read it differently each time with a new appreciation. She is one of the most inspiring and unique women authors around.
9. Franny Choi
Franny Choi is a poet and writer. Her status as a Korean-American queer writer makes her an important and vital contribution to the modern canon of women authors. She has published many poems which focus on social activism, queerness, and equality. In her most recent book, Soft Science, Choi explores queer, Asian American femininity, and human consciousness.
10. Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith is another one of those essential women authors that you must read before you die. She is an English novelist, essayist, and short fiction writer. Her work White Teeth is her most popular book, for good reason. It tells the story of two men are veterans of World War II who grapple with various issues that relate to the intersection of culture and views of romance. This novel has comedy, drama, and overall sharp, smart, and just a joy to read.