IMG_2486One of the things that bugs me most as a reader and a feminist is how much harder it is for female writers to get published, win awards and sell books than it is for male authors.

Strong claims I know, but this article isn’t about proving them but doing something about it! (I’ll pop a few links at the end for those of you that want to know more about that) So today I’m creating a little guide to introduce you all to which women to read based on the kind of male writers you already like reading – in short, I’m going to help you find your Ms Write!

Stephen King

He is one of the most widely read writers on the planet and you know who he reads? Female writers. Ok he reads a tonne of both male and female writers and he recommends the good ones all the time on his twitter feed. One of his most recent recommends is Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes. She’s also the author of last year’s 13 minutes reviewed here by yours truly.  Definitely worth checking out if you like creepy suspense stories

Neil Gaiman 

You know we love Neil Gaiman so of course we’re not suggesting you stop reading him but in between his books why not treat yourself to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern or Tatterdemalion by Sylvia V Linsteadt? Both will satisfy your need for the magical and mysterious!

George Orwell

Rightfully reknowned as the master of dystopian fiction but that’s not to say there’s no room for a mistress of it and Margaret Atwood is undisputedly she. The Handmaid’s tale is a book everyone should read (particularly in the current political claimate when it seem rather prescient) but it’s also worth checking out her other works. Kelly reviewed The Heart Goes Last recently and thought it was her best work yet – read more here. Another interesting author you may also like to check out is Johanna Sinisalo, I loved her book The Core of The Sun.

Colson Whitehead

Winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize, Colson Whitehead wrote an interesting re-imagining of an escaping slave narrative. He is an excellent writer but personally I’d recommend Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing over The Underground Railroad any day of the week. I was lucky enough to review both of them so click the highlighted words to see more. Other contenders include Alice Walker and Toni Morrison of course.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This much loved author created some of the most sumptuous historical fiction suffused with magical realism. The obvious choice for a female counterpart is Isabel Allende though Laura Esquival’s Like Water For Chocolate also deserves a mention. But if you’re not fussed about the South American connection you might also want to try Natasha Pulley’s The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

JRR Tolkien

J K Rowling – enough said!

Bernard Cornwall / Robert Harris / Ken Follet

If richly detailed, political and sometimes brutal historical fiction is your thing then fear not – Hilary Mantel has one an army of fans for just such writing! And she’s not alone, other terrific female authors to check out are Tracy Chevalier, Barbara Kingsolver Geraldine Brooks and Sarah Waters.

Alexander McCall Smith

We all need a Cosy from time to time and McCall Smith has made a fortune by writing great Cosy books that men are happy to read because they are written by a man! But Gent’s there are plenty of other authors you will love. There’s no shame being seen reading an Agatha Christie but if you fancy something newer and maybe something also set in Africa check out Welcome to Lagos by Chibundo Onuzu.

Lee Childs / Ian Rankin / James Patterson etc etc etc!

Gritty thrillers may seem to be the traditional domain of the male writer but oh my – there are so many females with them in their sites that they may have to take a bunch of contracts on them all! Whether you like forensic crime, police drama’s or serial killers there’s a woman out there writing it and writing it well! Ruth Rendell, Patricia Cornwall and Karin Slaughter may be the best known but we also recommend Ruth Dugdall, Anya Lipska and Hannah Tinti.

Phew! Ok so I haven’t covered quite every Genre yet but I’m hoping that will keep you going a while! If you have any suggestions to add I’d love to hear them so please pop a comment below!

Oh – and here are those further reading links!

Writing under a male name makes you eight times more likely to get published one female author finds

Make vs female writers – an infographic 

Books about women don’t win big awards: some data


I was reading before I started school and I have no plans to stop now! I usually have at least two books on the go at once, one non-fiction and one fiction. I like reading books based in reality that flick open the doors to the mysteries of the heart or of the spirit.

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