Illustration of explorer Isabella Bird’s first walk through Perak (Malaysia), from her book ‘The Golden Chersonese and the way thither’.
Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons
In the 19th century, several English women wrote accounts of their world travels. While considered by some as second-rate travellers, they were just as restless as their male contemporaries.
Detail from the cover of the children’s book Kayo’s House by Ugandan author Barbara Kimenye.
At independence, adults were reading decolonial classics - but children were reading Enid Blyton. A generation of unsung women writers changed that.
A new book illuminates the bold lives of Australian women journalists between 1860 and the end of Word War II – a time when female reporters were ‘almost unheard of’.
‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ didn’t begin life as a song, but being set to music helped it find fame.
starryvoyage/iStock via Getty Images Plus
‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ is now a treasured Christmas classic, but it didn’t start life that way – not in the UK, at least.
What makes a winning book?
Women's Prize for Fiction
This separation or segregation of women’s writing should be understood as part of the patriarchal control of what and who matters – and, historically, women have not.
Sindiwe Magona at home.
© Bjorn Rudner/Courtesy Sindiwe Magona
A literary icon, her autobiographies offer a way of understanding the country’s brutal past in order to heal and move forward.
Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin photographed in 1901.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction has just published 25 literary works by female authors with their real names for the first time. Could we do the same for Miles Franklin and Henry Handel Richardson here?
A portrait of George Eliot at 30 by Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade. Her masterpiece Middlemarch is often claimed to be the greatest novel in the English language.
Henry James called her a ‘great, horse-faced bluestocking’. On the 200th anniversary of her birth, we celebrate George Eliot, a literary trailblazer with an endless appetite for ideas, living in a patriarchal time.
Lady Reading in an Interior (between 1795 and 1800).
Marguerite Gérard (1761–1837)
In a turbulent period of French history, women’s journals started to agitate for legal, political and cultural rights.
Women have been there in their imaginations.
Anna McGahan as Charmian Clift in Sue Smith’s play Hydra. Long overshadowed by her husband George Johnston, recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in Clift’s life and work.
Jeff Busby/Queensland Theatre
Fifty years after her death, Australian writer Charmian Clift is experiencing a renaissance. With her forward-thinking columns, Clift’s voice rose above the crowd during post-war Australia.
A photograph of Ellen N. La Motte soon after completing ‘The Backwash of War’ in 1916.
Courtesy of the National Archives, College Park, Maryland
Ellen N. La Motte’s ‘The Backwash of War’ was praised for its clear-eyed portrayal of war, but was swiftly banned. Yet the similarities between her spare prose and Hemingway’s are unmistakable.
Colette, photographed by Henri Manuel.
The French writer’s work and life make perfect cinematic subjects.
In the 1980s, Diane Torr was struggling as an office employee and moonlighting go-go dancer – until she read Angela Carter’s The Sadeian Woman.
4Max via Shutterstock
Author Sheena Kalayil writes about her global life and why she believes the BAME acronym tells people nothing about her.
Margaret MacLean visited and wrote about the Royal Ontario museum’s collections as well as visiting Egypt for Saturday Night magazine.
(Database of Canadian Women Writers)
Did you know Lucy Maud Montgomery also published under the name Belinda Bluegrass? A new database of early Canadian women writers reveals thousands of stories about women’s lives in Canada.
A vivid and remarkable body of writing is emerging to highlight the human cost of the war in Syria.