Some of the most powerful, influential women in history were authors, writers, and poets. The female authors featured on this list have gone down in history as the absolute greatest women writers. Many movies have been made either from some of their works, or even based on their lives and what shaped them as a writer. This list of the best female authors has been ranked by the community. Here are 10 inspiring female writers of all time.

Jane Austen (1775-1817)

10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time - Jane Austen (1775-1817)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Jane Austen (1775-1817)

One of the most well-known authors of the 18th century was the English writer Jane Austen, who is best known for her six major novels. Austen was a writer who specialized in storylines that highlighted women’s dependence on marriage or women who were pursuing economic security. She was one of the first female writers to publish works that questioned and commented on the British landed nobility. Since many of Austen’s works were published under pseudonyms, she did not experience much fame during her lifetime. She earned much more recognition as a writer after her passing, and her six full-length novels have hardly ever been out of print. Along with several critical essays and anthologies, her works have also been adapted for the big screen.

Jane Austen’s famous works are as follows:

  • The novel Sense and Sensibility, which was first published anonymously by ‘A Lady’ in 1811, chronicles the tale of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they reach adulthood and are compelled to leave the estate where they were raised with their widowed mother.
  • In the novel Pride and Prejudice (1813), Elizabeth Bennet discovers the consequences of making snap decisions and the distinction between apparent virtue and true kindness.
  • Emma (1815) is a comedy of manners that focuses on marriage, sex, age, and social status issues as they pertain to elegant ladies in Georgian-Regency England.

Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)

Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)

Mary Shelley, a well-known author of Gothic fiction, comes in second on our list of notable female writers in history. She was a well-known editor who worked primarily on the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Robert Bysshe Shelley, who is regarded as one of the early pioneers of science fiction. Born to feminist activist Mary Wollstonecraft and political philosopher William Godwin, Shelley was reared primarily by her father after her mother passed away too soon. After receiving a strong but informal education and having a parent who supported an anarchist lifestyle, Shelley married young and chose a life that was mostly devoted to promoting her husband’s works while also pursuing fiction writing.

Mary Shelley’s famous works are as follows:

  • The Modern Prometheus; or, Frankenstein (1818) – The tale of young scientist Victor Frankenstein, who unintentionally produces a sentient being during an unconventional experiment, was written by Mary Shelley when she was only 18 years old.
  • Valperga (1823) is a historical fiction that recounts the exploits of Castruccio , a real-life historical character who rose to become the Lord of Lucca and capture Florence, Italy, during the Guelph and Ghibelline Wars.
  • Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) is a two-volume travelogue that details two excursions that Shelley conducted to Europe with her son Percy and a number of his college companions.

Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)

10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time - Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)

Emily Bronte , the sister of the aforementioned Charlotte Bront, was a well-known female author of the Victorian era best remembered for her sole book, Wuthering Heights which is also included in list of classic literature for students to read. Bronte was also a prolific poet who published her works under the pen name Ellis Bell. Her writing was considered “genius” at the time it was published and is so now. Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, her most well-known body of work, was composed of poems that she co-wrote with her sisters Charlotte and Anne and had them published under their assumed identities.

Emily Bronte famous works are as follows:

  • Acton Bell and Currer Ellis’ Poems, 1846 , a collection of poems that the three Bront sisters—Charlotte, Emily, and Anne co-published. It was the first thing they had ever published.
  • 1847’s Wuthering Heights – The Earnshaws and the Lintons are two landed gentry families that live on the West Yorkshire moors, and the book follows the Earnshaws’ and the Lintons’ tumultuous interactions with Earnshaw’s adopted son, Heathcliff.

Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855)

Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855)

Charlotte Bront, one of the most well-known Victorian female authors in history, is most known for her books, which include Jane Eyre (1847). She was the oldest of three sisters who lived to maturity, and it wasn’t until after their failed attempt to start a school that she decided to pursue her passion for writing. Her second book, Jane Eyre, was warmly welcomed by critics and eventually became a landmark in the history of British literature, despite publishers originally rejecting her first book, The Professor. Bronte was one of the first writers to experiment with many poetic forms, such as the extended narrative and dramatic monologue, setting the defining motifs of Victorian literature. However, after the popularity of her prose, she later abandoned up on poetry.

Charlotte Bronte famous works are as follows:

  • This coming-of-age book, Jane Eyre (1847), chronicles the adventures of its title character, including her love for Mr. Rochester and his residence at Thornfield Hall.
  • Shirley (1849) – The novel follows characters during the Luddite uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry and is set in Yorkshire amid the early 19th-century economic downturn.
  • Villette (1853) – This story follows the main character, Lucy Snowe, as she leaves her family after a tragedy and moves to the fictitious French city of Villette to work at a girls’ school. There, she becomes entangled in romance and adventure.

Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888)

10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time - Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888)

Despite being best known as the author of Little Women, American novelist, poet, and short story writer Louisa May Alcott has contributed far more to literature than you might initially realize. Alcott was one of four daughters in the family and was raised in New England by her parents, Abigail, and Amos. Alcott put in a lot of effort to maintain her family’s difficult financial circumstances, just like the four sisters in her well-known novel, while also spending her spare time to write. Little Women, which was published in 1868, was her first significant literary achievement after she began contributing to the Atlantic Monthly in 1860. In an effort to gain recognition as a writer, she also released a series of graphic short stories for adults in the early 1860s under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard. After becoming a well-known household name, Louisa May Alcott got involved in a number of abolitionist and feminist reform groups, including the fight for women’s suffrage, which she supported all the way up until her death in 1888.

Louisa May Alcott’s famous works are as follows:

  • Sylvia Yule, a passionate tomgirl, goes on a camping vacation with her brother and his two friends, both of whom fall in love with her, in Louisa May Alcott’s debut book, Moods (1864).
  • Little Women (1868) is a coming-of-age story that follows the lives of four sisters as they grow up in genteel poverty.
  • Little Men (1871) — A sequel to Louisa May Alcott’s well-known Little Women, with Jo Bhaer, her husband, and the different students at Plumfield Estate School.

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)

English author Virginia Woolf was active in the early 20th century. Woolf, who is regarded as one of the most modernist writers of her day, tested and included various literary tropes into our contemporary creative writing language while simultaneously challenging the societal inequalities experienced by women in the early 1900s. For instance, Woolf is credited with being a pioneer in the use of the stream-of-consciousness technique in fiction, particularly in one of her best-known works, A Room of One’s Own. Woolf grew up in an affluent South Kensington, London home with her mother, father, and five siblings as part of a blended family of eight.

Before enrolling in the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London to study Classics and History, she was home schooled in English Classics and Victorian Literature. After receiving encouragement from her father, Woolf started writing professionally in 1900. She subsequently relocated to London’s Bloomsbury neighbourhood, where she helped to create the renowned Bloomsbury Group. Woolf has maintained her status as a prominent literary figure throughout her life and even decades after her death. She married Leonard Woolf in 1917 and together they founded the Hogarth Press, which published a large portion of her works. She also published more than 20 different works and was the focus of the feminist criticism movement of the 1970s, which was cited as “inspiring” and brought much attention to her works of literature.

Virginia Woolf’s famous works are as follows:

  • Mrs. Dalloway wrote a novel about upper society in 1925. Following the First World War, Clarissa Dalloway describes a typical day in her life.
  • A philosophical novel of contemplation, To the Lighthouse (1927), is focused on the Ramsay family and their excursions to the Scottish Isle of Skye between 1910 and 1920.
  • A Room of One’s Own (1929) is a lengthy essay that is based on two lectures that Virginia Woolf gave about social inequalities against women in October 1928 at Newnham College and Girton College , both constituent colleges at the University of Cambridge.

Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)

10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time - Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)

With more than two billion copies of her detective crime books having been sold worldwide, Dame Agatha Christie is recognized by Guinness World Records as the best-selling fiction author of all time. She is best known for inventing the fictional investigators Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and she also penned The Mousetrap, the play with the longest running run in the West End, which has been running since 1952. She was raised in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, where she passed away at the age of 85 after moving there with her husband after being born into a prosperous upper middle class family in Devon.

Agatha Christie’s famous works are as follows:

  • Murder on the Orient Express (1934) – Snowfall stops the Orient Express as Poirot travels back to London from the Middle East. When a murder is found, detective Poirot is left with no choice but to investigate.
  • The ABC Murders is a 1936 film. Poirot, Arthur Hastings, and Chief Inspector Japp are among the characters who must deal with a string of murders committed by an unidentified killer going by “A.B.C.”
  • The Mousetrap- This murder mystery play, the longest-running production in the West End, was created as a birthday gift for Queen Mary, King George V’s consort. The audience is urged not to reveal the twist at the end when they leave the theatre, so people who have not seen the stage play are still in the dark about the narrative.

Harper Lee (1926 – 2016)

Harper Lee (1926 – 2016)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Harper Lee (1926 – 2016)

Harper Lee, an American author who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is best known for her 1960 book To Kill a Mockingbird. Her novel went on to earn her the Prize in 1961 and launch her career as a renowned author. It was Lee’s upbringing in Monroeville, Alabama, that provided the inspiration for the book. From 1926 through 1938, her father, a former newspaper editor, merchant, and attorney, served in the Alabama State Legislature. He defended two black males accused of killing a white storekeeper while serving in this capacity. Both men were convicted of the crime and hung, which served as the basis for Harper Lee’s well-known book’s plot. For her contributions to literature, Lee was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 and other accolades, including the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fiction.

Harper Lee’s famous works are as follows:

  • A book about justice, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) addresses the grave concerns of rape and racial inequity. Based somewhat on Lee’s memories of a childhood incident that happened nearby her house.
  • The second of Harper Lee’s two novels, Go Set a Watchman (2015), was released in 2015. It is now commonly acknowledged that Go Set a Watchman was a first draught of the aforementioned book, which had similarities to the original narrative and was originally published as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird.

Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)

10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time - Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)

Toni Morrison, an American novelist and editor who was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, became well-known for her ability to portray the Black American experience in her writing with such authenticity. Her characters frequently struggle to find themselves and their cultural identities in an unjust society, and her use of poetic style and frequently fantastical style of writing gives her stories great strength and texture. After earning an MA in American Literature from Cornell University in the middle to late 1950s, Morrison made a name for herself in the literary community when, in the late 1960s, Random House in New York City hired her as its first black female fiction editor. However, Morrison didn’t establish her name as an expert until the 1970s and the middle of the 1980s. Morrison enjoyed great success as a writer and was recognized for her contributions with numerous honours and prizes. She earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012, the Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2016, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame induction in 2020.

Toni Morrison famous works are as follows:

  • The Bluest Eye (1970), Morrison’s debut book, chronicles the upbringing of young Pecola, an African-American girl, in the years following the Great Depression.
  • Morrison’s second book, Sula (1973), follows a young black girl named Sula as she matures under severe adversity and hostility, if not outright hatred, among the black society she lives in.
  • Favorite (1987) -Beloved, a dramatized account of former slaves whose Cincinnati home is cursed by an evil ghost, is set after the American Civil War. The work was influenced by a true story that took place in Kentucky in 1856 when Margaret Garner, an escaped slave, travelled to Ohio, a free state.

Margaret Atwood (1939)

Margaret Atwood (1939)
10 Inspiring Female Writers Of All Time – Margaret Atwood (1939)

The dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Canadian-born poet and novelist Margaret Atwood in 1985, has since enjoyed enormous success, including a successful US TV series adaptation of the original book. As a writer, Atwood explores a range of subjects that have persisted over time yet are still relevant now, such as gender and identity, religion, climate change, “power politics,” and the use of language. And it’s because of the way she combines these issues with a razor-sharp literary style that she is covered on many A-Level curricula. Atwood has received numerous honours for her literature, including the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, two Booker Prizes, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and many others.

Margaret Atwood’s famous works are as follows:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) is a dystopian novel that takes place in a fiercely patriarchal, totalitarian society that has replaced the United States government in a near-future New England. Offered, the main figure and narrator of the story, is one of a group of “handmaids” who are compelled to bear children for “commanders,” the state’s ruling class of males.
  • The infamous 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his maid Nancy Montgomery in Canada are recounted in the historical fiction book Alias Grace (1996), where two of the household’s staff were found guilty of the crime.
  • The Testaments (2019) is a “The Handmaid’s Tale” sequel that takes place 15 years after the original’s events. Aunt Lydia, a character from the prior book, and Agnes, a young woman living today, provide the narration.

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