A Celebration of Women Writers And Their Inspirational Works
All these women have inspired me with their wisdom, creative freedom and proud femininity; and I wanted to share them, and their pearls of wisdom, with you too.
Who better to start with than the indomitable Canadian poet, Rupi Kaur, who is busily inspiring young people to actively be themselves, love themselves, and love others.
We all move forward when
we recognise how resilient
and striking the women
around us are
Reading Recommendation: Milk and Honey and Home Body
Both works chart her embrace of self and her restless quest for change. Follow her on Instagram for endless inspiration or look her up on YouTube.
The first time, in 2009, for Wolf Hall - a historical novel chronicling Thomas Cromwell's rise to power; the second time, in 2012, for her novel Bring up the Bodies.
There are so many quotes from the Booker Prize winner that I love, but here are two of my favourites:
“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem. But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be."
I love this because, as a writer myself, I have found myself lost for words, not knowing how to feel, or to express the things I need to on the page. It is all too easy to get sidetracked and allow other people to sap the time you need to write without meaning to. Guarding time and honouring our own heart-space from where our words come is so important, not simply as writers, but as women too.
“The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it.”
These words were a light in a dark tunnel of fear in my life. Being guided to have hope and faith even when things seemed bleak.
Hilary Mantel writes with such universal truth and wisdom that inspire and foster hope.
The trilogy charts the riveting historical saga of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.
“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
Reading recommendation: ORLANDO
An early example of a feminist novel, Orlando tells the tale of a young nobleman in Elizabeth's England who one day awakes to find that he is now a woman. The novel indulges in farce and satire to contemplate the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. It ends in 1928, the year The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act was passed, and Orlando, now a wife and mother, looks to a future that holds new hope and promise for women.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
An overarching theme of Plath’s 1965 poetry collection is femininity. Throughout her poems, she explores what it means to be a woman, using free-flowing verses and images of rebirth to explore the possibilities of womanhood and individuality.
“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.”― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Reading recommendation: Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796)
Wollstonecraft’s moving and personal travel narrative is compiled of 25 letters written whilst travelling in Europe. She journals on a range of topics from reflections on society to philosophical questions on identity, motherhood, and relationships.
“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.
― Zadie Smith
Reading recommendation: White Teeth
White Teeth follows two veterans - Bangladeshi Samad Iqbal and English Archie Jones—and their families in London. The novel explores Britain's relationships with people from formerly colonised countries.
Mary Ann Evans
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
― George Eliot
Reading recommendation: The Mill on the Floss
A heart wrenching and unforgettable story of family, first love and growing up; lead by passionate and fiercely intelligent young female protagonist Maggie Tulliver.
All of these women wrote incredible novels, essays and poetry. Their words inspire women to believe in themselves while reaching for their full potential, and we owe many of today's freedoms to these creative pioneers.
Jessica Triana de Ford is Exeter Writers Blog Manager, and co-ordinates content as well as edits submissions. She loves being part of a supportive writing group and being in a position to help support other creatives find the courage to express their ideas. You can find out more and connect with Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.