Women authors have written some brilliant pieces of literature but have started receiving recognition only from the last four or five decades.
Why wait for a particular day or month to celebrate the power of women?
Every moment calls for celebration.
Writers influence young and old minds alike. This piece is a dedication to all the brilliant women who have taken the literary world by storm. I would like to list a few of my favorite women writers who mesmerized me through their unique works. They showed me that women are more than their biology. The list below is a small amount of a vast talent pool of female writers:
J.K. Rowling: The only author gaining billionaire status because of her massively successful book series “Harry Potter.” The books were so widely accepted that she had to stop her daughter from going to school temporarily as people pestered the little girl for the upcoming book plot. There must barely be a few hundred in the entire earth who do not know of Harry Potter. Coming from a humble background and going through much personal turmoil, J. K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter in a café with her tiny daughter accompanying her, as there was no one to look after her. Her rise to fame as an author has been nothing short of dramatic incidents. J.K.Rowling plays a big part in contributing towards bringing most of the population towards reading.
Shashi Deshpande: If you have read author Shashi Deshpande’s books – “The Binding Vine”, “That Long Silence” and “The Dark Holds No Terrors” – you would realize that she was way ahead of her times in addressing women rights in marriage, autonomy over their body, equality in a marriage, and the similar battles that women fight everywhere whether rich or poor. I found her novels poignant, moving, dark and very realistic. Of all her books, “The Binding Vine” is my personal favorite. “The Dark Holds No Terrors” is scary because of its gritty subject matter. Indian women reading Shashi Deshpande’s novels will relate to the problems faced by a married woman.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: If you have read “The Palace of Illusions” you know what a fantastic author Chitra is. The way she portrays Draupadi amidst the backdrop of a bloody war of Kurukshetra is brilliant. The story revolves around Draupadi, her feelings and how she is misunderstood and judged for being a woman. She is criticized for every step she takes. She is blamed for marrying multiple husbands even though she did not want a polyandrous marriage. There are some moments of tender vulnerability on the character’s part that make you feel for her. Chitra Banerjee is a force to reckon with amongst the literary community for her ability to move the reader to tears with the character’s journey. She is one of my most preferred women writers.
Jane Austen: There would be no literary world without “Pride and Prejudice”. That’s the contribution of Jane Austen with this all-time evergreen book. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are the characters that live on forever. Jane Austen wrote at a time when women authors had to write under a pen name as a man since women were not encouraged to be an author. Another masterpiece by her is “Emma,” which was portrayed by actress Kate Winslet in the cinematic version. Through this beautiful book, Jane questions a woman’s need to attach herself to marital cords to find a standing in society.
According to a Twitter poll, Jane Austen would be one of the richest authors and most celebrated had she been alive in today’s time, as she gave one masterpiece after another.
Anuja Chandramouli: I can describe this author through one word – fearless. To be a writer, you need to let go of your fears and write your heart out. That is what Anuja does with all her books. Her book – Shakti – talks of feminine angst, desires, anger and many more emotions, of how men either like to put women on a pedestal or below the earth but never want to give an equal status. A gritty writer for sure. Shakti talks of a time when even Goddesses were not spared from the tyranny of the unjust. She talks about the rules that always promote men over women. The book explores the anxiety, rage, helplessness, ego and power of a woman. One vulnerable moment of the book stands out where Shakti furiously discards the notion of hypocritical morality attached to a woman. What she decides to do with her body, how she wants to live is what matters. Every choice must first be considered, respected, and then acted upon. The theme is “ask what the woman wants” before running to rescue her or bringing wars in the name of justice for her.
Simone De Beauvoir: “The Second Sex” is the first official book on feminism. It recognized that fifty per cent of the population is considered secondary citizens whose human rights to live with equality were snuffed out on account of their biology. This book is a must-read for women all over the world. Simone de Beauvoir also understood the need for feminism. The simple thing to understand is that women needed to make their own decisions, be it emotional, biological, mental, proprietary, or physical. She elaborates that it does not dwell well in a world where one gender gets deprived of the right to live with dignity. Using sacred hymns, texts, and verses to hold back half the population is very detrimental for the earth. She also elaborates on various ways in which women can have more voice without breaking the social structure but ultimately also believes that somewhere society must undergo an overhaul
There are many more marvelous women writers whose contributions to the literary world are humongous. These women continue to inspire little girls and their fellow brethren everywhere. I have listed a few favorites of mine. I am sure you would have a list of yours too.
Arti P is a writer and author of the book “Of Rains And More”. She has always written since a young age and feels that she was born to write. She is a mother to two tiny tots and is based in Mumbai.