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Female Authors

Five female authors for your spring must-read list

Where to begin? There are so many great women authors out there that it beggars the imagination. I trimmed the list down to five, and some are quite obvious, but then, they will lead you to more, naturally.

Jane Austen

The boom in the popularity of Jane Austen is a phenomenon I can understand, honestly, and endorse, but I find the offshoots of her “cult” to be more fascinating, really. Seth Grahame-Smiths’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! is now the essential, classic twist. Once you’ve found out what happens with Elizabeth Bennet in the original, give it a shot.

Edith Wharton

Constrained by the society she satirizes and yet a vital part of what she describes, Wharton embodies New York’s Gilded Age, in all of its paradoxical splendor. The classic is 1905’s The House of Mirth, a representative work, and also, in its day, a HUGE best seller. It remains a popular novel, one worth returning to for multiple readings.

Sylvia Plath

What to say here? There is The Colossus and Ariel—both monuments to this poet’s enormously well-attuned sensibility and incredible gifts as an artist. And also, the still painfully difficult to read, The Bell Jar, which has become a rite of passage for so many. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

Zadie Smith

Perhaps the hippest, most marketable and crisply talented British import we have, Smith’s work has become diverse, nuanced, surprising, and expanded as she has grown as an author. However, my favorite is still her debut, White Teeth, as it is a charming read that is alive with the sheer joy of writing.

Toni Morrison

Morrison will remain a staple on college syllabi forever, and deservedly so. It’s difficult to pick a single novel of hers, honestly, though as Beloved is her prize-winning stylistic tour de force, I still have sentimental attachments to Song of Solomon as well (the first of hers I read, ages ago). But if you’re going to read a representative novel, then Beloved, I think, is the one. Get it.



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