The history of literature is strewn with some phenomenal women who have contributed so much to the literary culture across the world. Breaking social constraints, these incredibly talented writers have poured their hearts out about their life and times; their writing oozing with magic, poetry and finesse.

Here is a list of beautiful and inspirational women whose works are bound to leave a lasting impression.

1. Virginia Woolf

One of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century, Virginia Woolf’s most famous works include Mrs Dalloway , To The Lighthouse , Orlando and A Room of One’s Own .

2. Jane Austen

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction are still widely read across the world. Pride and Prejudice , Mansfield Park , Sense and Sensibility are some of her most popular works.


3. Maya Angelou

One of the most acclaimed authors and poets of our time, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings still resonates with us.

4. Sylvia Plath

Battling depression for most of her adult life, Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist and short-story writer. Bell Jar , her semi-autobiographical novel is bound to stay with you for long after you’ve read it.

5. Doris Lessing

Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, this British author’s most acclaimed works are The Golden Notebook and The Grass is Singing .

6. Kate Chopin

Considered a forerunner of the feminist authors of the 20th century, Kate Chopin wrote short stories for children as well as adults. The Awakening is considered to be one of her greatest works.

7. Kamala Das

Kamala Surayya, also known as Kamala Das was a noted Malayali poet and short story writer. In h er open and honest treatment of female sexuality, free from any sense of guilt, her powerful writing is often compared to that of Sylvia Plath’s.

8. Simone de Beauvoir

Foremost feminist theorist, Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex laid the foundation for contemporary feminist movement.

9. Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird , dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality, won her the Pulitzer Prize in the year 1960.


10. Enid Blyton

Our childhood would remain incomplete and devoid of magic had it not been for Enid Blyton’s impeccable storytelling. Be it the Magic Faraway Tree, The Malory Towers or The Famous Five, she has been a huge part of our formative years.

11. Gloria Steinem

Writer, journalist and political activist, Gloria Steinem was a pioneer for the Second-Wave Feminism movement. Her essay “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation.” received widespread critical acclaim.

12. Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist and short story writer. In her most popular works The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence , she skilfully critiques the late-nineteenth century upper class with subtle usage of dramatic irony.

13. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye , Sula , Song of Solomon and Beloved .

14. Agatha Christie

Another favourite from our formative years, Agatha Christie is known for weaving some of the most intricate and thrilling narratives in her 66 detective novels.

15. Alice Munro

A stalwart in writing short stories, this Canadian author won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, and the Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work in 2009.

16. J K Rowling

Really, who does not know of J K Rowling? Saying that not reading Harry Potter has left your childhood incomplete, and basically devoid of any meaning, would be an understatement.

17. Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer, author of the widely acclaimed The Female Eunuch, is an Australian theorist, academic and journalist who is regarded as a major feminist voice of the mid-20th century.

18. Ayn Rand

Developer of the philosophical system she called ‘Objectivism’, this Russian-born American novelist it best known for her bestselling works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged .

19. Margaret Atwood

Canadian author Margaret Atwood is a Booker Prize winner and is best known for her novels The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin .

20. Anita Desai

Anita Desai is an Indian novelist and recipient of a Sahitya Akademi Award in the year in 1978 for her novel Fire in the Mountain .

21. Alice Walker

American author and activist Alice Walker wrote the very moving novel The Color Purple , and received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the same.

22. Arundhati Roy

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997, this Indian author and activist’s novel The God of Small Things is an intriguing read.

23. Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi is an Iranian-born French graphic novelist and director who is known for her witty and quirky works about growing up in an extremist regime. Persepolis and Embroideries are her most popular works.

24. Jhumpa Lahiri

Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the year 2000 , and her first novel , The Namesake , was adapted into a popular film of the same name .

25. Alison Bechdel

Queer graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s claim to fame was her brilliant work Fun Home which revolves around her complex relationship with her father. It has also been adapted into a successful Broadway production.

26. Taslima Nasrin

Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin has written some very powerful pieces of literature revolving themes of criticism of religion and feminism, which has resulted in her being the target of a lot of backlash, leading to her long term exile.

27. Zadie Smith

Recipient of the Orange Prize for Fiction, this English novelist’s most acclaimed works include White Teeth and NW . She was also included in Granta’s list of 20 Best Young Authors in the year 2003.

28. Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi’s novel Reading Lolita in Tehran reflects her literary genius and provides an insight into the minds of young women under the veil in Iran, in confrontation with authority.


29. Kiran Desai

Daughter of Anita Desai, Kiran Desai won the Man Booker Prize in the year 2006 for her novel The Inheritance of Loss .

30. Fatima Bhutto

Niece of the late Benazir Bhutto, Fatima is a Pakistani poet,writer and political activist. Her most acclaimed works include a collection of poems named Whispers of the Desert and a memoir titled Songs of Blood and Sword .


Go on then, update your reading list!