The Achievements of Female Writers
Allow me to present the following to you: Pride and Prejudice, Life After Life, To Kill a Mockingbird, Evil Under the Sun, Them, The Goldfinch, White Teeth, The Namesake, Kindred, Modern Lovers, The Handmaid’s Tale, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, The Tale of Genji, The Age of Innocence. Do you know why they are so significant and particularly important?
The above books are just the tip of the iceberg of great works by female artists, and female writers have taken their fair share of literary awards over the years. The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1918, and since then female writers have taken the first prize eighteen times. The first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize was Edith Wharton who wrote The Age of Innocence in 1921. The thrilling story of the lawyer who is engaged to a socialite who is drawn to a beautiful countess, was subsequently made into a Hollywood film.
America’s National Book Award
America’s National Book Awards were established in 1950, and they are run by the National Book Foundation which is a non-profit organization. The awards recognize the best male and female writers in the following categories:
- The best Fiction
- The best Nonfiction
- Translated Literature
- Young People’s Literature
Female authors have done well also in this great award category with first prizes of eighteen, that equals the Pulitzer figure. Winners have included, Jesmyn Ward, Lisa Ko, Min Jin Lee, and Carmen Maria Machado for Her Body and Other Parties.
Female writers have also swept up sixteen Man Booker prizes. The Man Booker prize was established in 1969 and is awarded each year for the best original fictional work that is written in English. Winning this premier award normally leads to a glittering career for the author. Daisy Johnson is the youngest ever author to make the shortlist for this great literary prize, and at just twenty seven it looks as though she will dominate modern fiction for years to come. Bernice Rubens was the very first female winner in 1970, the second year the awards were held.
Two Decades of Success
If you look at the statistics, then it is during the last two decades that female writers have begun to dominate world literature awards. This could be seen as a sign that female writing is becoming more powerful than their male counterparts, but is more likely proof that female authors are finally being accepted as serious contenders for writing awards. A recent survey was released of the most essential one hundred essential female writers of all time. This survey became about due to Joanna Walsh releasing The Year of Reading Women, which was a firm nudge to the literary world to go back and recognize the importance of female writers to literature as a whole. The list was made available to publishers, promoters, agents and distributors to rethink their attitudes to female authors. The essential one hundred female writers list released by AbeBooks is a highly interesting read and includes some surprise names that are well worth experimenting with if you have not read any of their work.