6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women’s Day

Even the most misogynistic male these days has to admit our world is constantly being enriched by the writings of hugely talented women, and has been for several hundred years now. So here’s to International Women’s Day, and our contribution to it.

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

“…what books are supposed to do: totally transport you into another world, another life, another brain and heart. “

I reckoned that the most interesting way to celebrate here with you, is for some of our  favourite women writers to write about their  favourite women writers … which is exactly what we’ve done. And here they are…

6 women writers on their  favourite women writers, and why

Kate Toon: an ace copywriter based in Australia. Kate is a Brit originally but went out to Oz and took the advertising world there by storm, and probably by the b*lls as well, judging by her success. Her skills are superb and she rightly has earned a place in the top advertising writers “down under.” Kate’s favourite author? Sarah Waters …

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

Sarah Waters

While of course there are gazillion writers I love, without doubt, my favourite is Sarah Waters.
Her books are vivid, gripping yarns, with enough twists and turns to leave you dizzy. I must have read Fingersmith ten times, but I’m still surprised by the turn of events.
Sarah Water’s books do what books are supposed to do: totally transport you into another world, another life, another brain and heart. They’re utterly absorbing.
The stories are involving and fascinating, the characters so real you can feel their heartbeat pumping under your fingertips. She’s also the only writer who has written about passion and sex without making me cringe.
For me, the only sad thing about Sarah Waters is that she has probably crushed any possibility that I’ll attempt a novel.
With writers this good in the world, who would ever read my stuff?

Catherine Davies: a talented young copywriter based in the south-east of England. Has created a very successful small business working mostly within a shortish radius of her home while she raises her young family, but is much in demand further afield. Catherine wants to feature the amazing and sadly late, Harper Lee

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

Harper Lee

Thank you Harper Lee.
The books on the school curriculum failed to engage me; that was until I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Although my childhood was a great distance from the time and place in which Scout and Jem lived, I identified with characters in the book. I drew parallels with people in my own street. It grabbed my imagination and challenged my acceptance of other people’s views.
I fervently read on and on completing the book, (“Articus, he was really nice…” “Most people are Scout, when you finally see them”) I read it again. I simply didn’t want it to end.
I credit Harper Lee with my transformation from childhood tales to adult books. Having caught the bug, I began reading for pleasure and have thoroughly enjoyed a diverse range of novels since. To Kill a Mockingbird still graces my bookshelf and having got it down, I feel drawn to read it again.

Shirley Hook-Pattison: an interesting dual personality UK-based writer. In daylight hours she is a very skilled and experience financial advisor. But in her darker hours she has written the most delightful trilogy of novels. Not wishing to blow her own trumpet, she just did: see below … (and having read all three of her books I can heartily recommend them!) Her alter ego? Antonia Abbott

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

Antonia Abbott

One of my favourite authors is a new girl on the block, Antonia Abbott.  Antonia sets her stories in Oxfordshire, a county I know like the back of my hand.  Her tales centre on the wealthy and privileged Rowlands family, who are expert champagne drinkers and hedonists. However, their lives are not quite as smooth as they seem on the surface. During the course of the Emotions trilogy we have murder, theft, blackmail and all sorts of other dastardly deeds taking place, in amongst the beautiful Oxfordshire/Cotswold scenery. Good things happen too; it isn’t all doom and gloom. I think the books are fabulous, but then I would, because I am Antonia Abbott.

Penny Dent: a UK-based writer/entrepreneur who created and ran a hugely successful business that involved generating precisely worded documents for a wide variety of official purposes, and who now is a key expert in helping companies and other organisations make sure their documentation and associated strategies work. Penny’s favourite women author? The one and only J K Rowling

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

J K Rowling

My sons were in pre-school when the first Harry Potter book was published, so the third one was out before I became aware of this magical world.  I read the first one and thought “Wow!” this really is something special.  So complete, so complex, so real.  We queued at midnight to buy the fifth book onwards and had to buy four copies so we could all read it IMMEDIATELY, such is the power of Jo Rowling’s writing.  I loved that Harry grew up through the books; it’s not just a series of stories about his adventures whilst at school, he learns magic as he becomes an adult and so do we.  By the end of the series, we know numerous spells, understand what magic can and cannot do and see, so clearly, that it is love that conquers in the end.  Anyone who can make me sob over the death of a House Elf, every time I read it, makes a difference to the world.  And what a difference she has made; children and adults transformed and transported.  “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” J.K. Rowling.  How relevant, how right.

Diana Fassino: a British novelist and short story author – now living in Sun Valley, Idaho – who has led the most extraordinary life in exotic (and not necessarily beautiful) experiences around the globe. Here she shares her own journey as a writer and how she now encourages other women writers to get out there and share … and do it!

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

Diana Fassino

Unlike today, back in the 50s when I was a young mother of three, I was propelled into writing by rage and fury against the patriarchal system then locked in place. Men made the decisions back then, and my husband, decreed that my shy little 7 year old son be sent away as a boarder to prep school to begin the brutal business of ‘making a man of him.’
The night after I’d watched helplessly as his stricken little face under his hideous new school cap slid by in a trainload of small grey flannel-clad figures leaving Victoria station, I went home and wrote what would be my first short story. I sent it to my mother so she could suffer too, and she showed it to a novelist friend of hers. A few months later the editor of a women’s magazine phoned and offered to buy my story, and requested first view of anything else I might be planning to write. Eventually I acquired a brilliant agent, and went on to write some 250 stories, published in six different languages round the world.
Okay, ladies! Got something to say? SAY IT!

And Moi? The choice is so wide … I’ve found it really hard. But the woman author who stands out as one who inspired and influenced me the most when I was still a child, and so has stayed in my heart ever since, has to be Louisa May Alcott.

6 women writers on favourite women writers: celebrating International Women's Day

Louisa May Alcott

Perhaps because I grew up as a rather lonely only child, depressed by the isolation I felt, when – as a very young but early-start reader – I clapped eyes on Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” I became totally enchanted with the story and the lives of the four March girls living in poor but dignified circumstances in New England during the US Civil War. I pored over every issue, problem, heartache and even the small joys they managed to experience during those awful times. I escaped from my own lonely existence, swathed myself in bed clothes and drapes to create suitably 19th century attire. I agonised over Meg’s beatific naivety, Jo’s rebellious creativity, Beth’s failing health and Amy’s innocent vacuity. My parents, not being literary types, thought I was even stranger than previously, but I didn’t care. I could disappear from the rigours of the 1960s and early 1970s into a world where it was OK to be a girl who didn’t necessarily have a career, but who was valued (by Louisa May Alcott, anyway) for being the person she was. The sequels were good, too, but nowhere nearly as heart-grabbing as “Little Women.”

Who is/was your favourite women writer?

Please share!