Literary Ladies We Love

Hey, hey, it’s International Women’s Day! In honor of the strength, intellect, influence, and awesome achievements of women everywhere, we’re celebrating some of our favorite female writers today.


flanner o connor


Flannery O’Connor. After I read Wise Blood I became a big fan. I really dug how she found humor in dark places. She captures the South in a way that feels so familiar and poignant.”


Daphne du Maurier


Daphne du Maurier. I loved her when I was young and I still read her books. Rebecca, Frenchman’s Creek. She writes very atmospheric mysteries. I like the way she could weave a spell of romance and intrigue. A lot of people read her books back in the day.”


lydia davis


Lydia Davis. She writes the shortest stories imaginable. She’s one of the only writers I’ve ever read who has captured my own thought process on the page. I recently considered having one of her stories tattooed on my body. This is still under consideration. But wait, I also have to mention Sheila Heti, Lidia Yuknavich, Zadie Smith, Alison Bechdel, Jeannette Winterson, Marilynne Robinson, Amelia Gray and Anne Carson.”


tina fey


“I LOVE Tina Fey (yes, enough for all caps). Bossy Pants made me tears-streaming-down-my-face sides-hurting-like-the gym-class-mile laugh all the way through. Her memoir spoke to the oh-so-awkward inner me. From being caught by her mother with her underwear down grasping a Tom Jones poster in childhood, to the fame and success of 30 Rock, Tina Fey is my idol. She is fearlessly funny, smart, and so clearly passionate about what she does. I look forward to spreading my Tina love all over Austin come World Book Night.”


amy hempel


“Like Jenn, I find it impossible to pick just one female writer, so you’ll get a list from me, too. But I will first highlight Amy Hempel. I have read her Collected Stories more times than any other book on my shelf. Coffee stains, cat bites, that book has been loved. She gets labeled “minimalist” but I think a better word is “precise”. She surgically extracts the emotions of the human heart – of my heart, frankly – and sets them on clean white paper better than any writer I have ever read. She lead me to Lydia Davis and so many other fabulous writers. In addition to Hempel, I’ll add Joan Didion, Lorrie Moore, Amy Bloom, Grace Paley – oh my god, Grace PaleyCarson McCullers, Mary Gaitskill, Mary Karr and all the other beautiful writers I’m going to go home and notice on my bookshelf and wish I’d remembered to mention here.”

7 thoughts on “Literary Ladies We Love

  1. Nice collection! I don’t know all of them, but I have read and enjoyed a couple. I would like to add Ursula LeGuin to the list, one of the very few women in the canon of science fiction. My all-time favourite female author, however, is Tonke Dragt. She is an extraordinary Dutch writer, completely unique in the world of literature as I know it. She is about 92 now and working on a book that is the sequel to another book she wrote 30 years ago. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed she will finish it in time!

  2. My favourite female authors are Agatha Christie and Hilda Doolittle, two very admirable, remarkable women in the literature arena. Agatha Christie’s plots are full of twists and are simply ingenious, while Hilda was one of the founders of Imagism.

    1. I’d also add Dorothy L. Sayers, who writes like Agatha Christie but with added snark. I’m a major fan of snark, so I prefer Sayers even though I’m a long-time Christie fan.

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