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    YA fiction reader, freelance editor, home-baker, moustache admirer and very small person.

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Happy international women’s day!

International-Womens-DayIn case you hadn’t noticed, it’s international women’s day – yay for us girls! And since there has been so much in the media today about inspirational women, it has prompted me to come up with my own little list of fantastic females (all book-related, of course).

wide sargasso seaI read a lot as a child, but Jean Rhys was the woman responsible for making me fall in love with books all over again as a young adult. Wide Sargasso Sea, a ‘prequel’ to Jane Eyre that tells the backstory of the madwoman in the attic, was on my GCSE English course, and has remained my favourite book ever since. Rhys lived in obscurity until the publication of Wide Sargasso Sea catapulted her to literary fame – sadly, she felt that fame had ‘come too late’.

Hot Key BooksIf I could wish for any job in the world, it would be Sarah Odedina’s. She currently heads up Hot Key Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing that has in its first year and a half produced an impressive list of books for 9- to 19-year-olds, including the award-winning Maggot Moon by Sally Gardener. And before that, she was editor-in-chief of fiction at Bloomsbury where she oversaw the entire Harry Potter series. This lady knows a good book when she reads one – and she knows how to get lots of other people reading it!

LabyrinthBookCoverKate Mosse has to go on my list, for co-founding the annual Orange Prize for Fiction (now called the Women’s Prize for Fiction), which over the years has showcased some of the finest literary writing of our time – all by women. She also wrote Labyrinth, which has nothing to do with the AWESOME 1980s film starring David Bowie, but is nevertheless a really good read.

stephenieredheadshotNow, Bella Swan might not be the sort of woman we should all look to as a role model (self-absorbed, whiney, constantly putting herself in danger in the name of love and scaring the life out of her parents in the process, utterly helpless without a man/werewolf/vampire around to protect her) but Stephenie Meyer who created the character is – if you aspire to being massively successful, that is! (Her annual earnings reportedly exceed $50 million!) Love or hate Twilight, you’ve got to admit that Meyer’s achievement in writing the bestselling series is pretty impressive – and her success has inspired a whole host of YA fiction writers to take up their pens too.

I couldn’t end this list without mentioning Doris Lessing. Aside from her contributions to literature, and winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, she has campaigned tirelessly against issues such as nuclear arms and South African apartheid. When she gave her Nobel Lecture she titled it ‘On Not Winning the Nobel Prize’ and used it to draw attention to global inequality of opportunity – the lecture was subsequently published and the proceeds went to helping children made vulnerable by AIDS.

Which women would you like to celebrate on international women’s day?

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  1. An inspiring post! I have great affection for Jean Rhys and Doris Lessing, but alas I have not experienced the joys of the Twilight saga yet… 🙂

  1. Happy International Women’ Day! Top 5 books celebrating fictional women who rock | ofglassandbooks

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