13 Contemporary Women Writers
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Selection: A Mercy (novel)
THE FIRST LADY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE! Born on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, exquisite language and richly detailed African-American characters who are central to their narratives. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Love and A Mercy. Morrison has earned a plethora of book-world accolades and honorary degrees, also receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Selection: The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer born on November 18, 1939 in Ottawa, Canada. The internationally-known author has written award-winning poetry, short-stories and novels, including The Circle Game (1966), The Handmaid’s Tale(1985), The Blind Assassin (2000), Oryx and Crake (2003) and The Tent (2006). Her works have been translated into an array of different languages and seen several screen adaptations, with both Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace becoming miniseries in 2017.
Selection: White Teeth
Zadie Smith was born in Northwest London in 1975. She is the author of Swing Time, White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, Changing My Mind, and NW. Her new collection of essays, Feel Free, is on sale 2/6/2018. Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world’s preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.
Selection: Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. Movie rights have been sold.Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released. Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Selection: The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952 in Oakland, California. In 1985, she wrote the story "Rules of the Game," which was the foundation for her first novel The Joy Luck Club. The book explored the relationship between Chinese women and their Chinese-American daughters. It received the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was translated into 25 languages. Tan lives in San Francisco and New York.
Selection: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
Lydia Davis, (born July 15, 1947, Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.), American writer noted for her idiosyncratic and extremely short stories often characterized by vivid observations of mostly mundane and routine occurrences. Though acclaimed early on for her translations, Davis waited much longer to garner critical attention for her fiction. Her first story collection, The Thirteenth Woman, and Other Stories, was published in 1976, but it was not until 11 years later—with Break It Down (1986), her fourth collection—that she was a finalist for a significant literary prize, the 1987 PEN/Hemingway Award. She subsequently gained a strong following, particularly among writers and literary critics, and some of her earlier collections were reissued. She is credited with having influenced contemporary authors Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers, Miranda July, and David Foster Wallace. Davis was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and translations (1999), received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (2003), and won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit medal and the Man Booker International Prize (both 2013).
Min Jin Lee
Min Jin Lee's Pachinko (Feb 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017, a USA Today Top 10 Books of 2017, and an American Booksellers Association's Indie Next Great Reads. Her debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, was one of the "Top 10 Novels of the Year" for The Times (London), NPR's Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her short fiction has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. Her writings have appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, and Food & Wine. Her essays and literary criticism have been anthologized widely. She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea. She lives in New York with her family.
Selection: Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost
Maggie Lindsy Haberman (born October 30, 1973) is an American journalist who is a White House correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN. She previously worked for Politico and the New York Daily News, where she was a political reporter Maggie started her career as a reporter for The New York Post at a young age. After being assigned to cover City Hall, she got keen in political reporting. She also worked for the Post's rival newspaper, the New York Daily News for some time. She later returned to the Post to cover the 2008 presidential campaign along with other political races. She then joined Politico as a senior reporter before becoming a political analyst for CNN in 2014. She is currently a political correspondent for The New York Times and covered the 2016 presidential campaign.
Selection: The House on Mango Street
Sandra Cisneros is an activist poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist and artist. Writing for over 50 years, her work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and prose, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary degrees, and both national and international book awards. Most recently, she received the Ford Foundation's Art of Change Fellowship, Chicago's Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award, the Arthur R. Velasquez Award from the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and Loyola University's Arts & Science Damen Award, presented to Loyola alumni in recognition of their leadership in industry, the community, and service to others. She received the 2015 National Medal of Arts presented to her by President Obama at the White House, and she received the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 2017 CHCI Chair's Award in Washington, D.C. Her classic coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street has sold over six million copies, has been translated into more than twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and university curricula across the U.S.
Selection: Redefining Realness
Janet Mock is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs, Redefining Realness (2014) and Surpassing Certainty (2017), the host of the conversation series, Never Before, a writer and producer on Ryan Murphy’s upcoming FX series Pose, and a feminist tackling stigma through storytelling. Janet broke ground in 2014 with the release of her first book Redefining Realness, a pioneering and profound memoir which was the first biography written from the perspective of a young trans person. It debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2014 and Janet was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for Super Soul Sunday. Her second book, Surpassing Certainty, a memoir about the years in her life when she was not public about being trans, was praised by Kirkus as a “defining chronicle of strength and spirit…brimming with liberated self-discovery.” Born in Hawaii, Janet’s story of growing up trans caught the nation’s attention in a 2011 Marie Claire article. Since then she’s become a millennial media powerhouse. Variety named her one of its 2017 “Power of Women,” TIME called her one of “the most influential people on the Internet” and one of “12 new faces of black leadership” while Fast Company named her one of 2015’s “most creative people in business.”
University of Michigan Graduates!
Selection: Salvage the Bones
MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has been hailed as the standout writer of her generation, proving her “fearless and toughly lyrical” voice in novels, memoir, and nonfiction. Betsy Burton of the American Booksellers Association has called her “the new Toni Morrison.” In 2017, she became the first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for Fiction—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives. Shortly after Ward received her MFA, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, and she was forced to evacuate her rapidly flooding home. Ward’s writing is deeply informed by the trauma of Katrina, not to mention its unimaginable social and economic repercussions. Her novel Salvage the Bones, winner of the 2011 National Book Award, is a troubling but ultimately empowering tale of familial bonds set amid the chaos of Katrina. Likewise, Ward’s debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds, depicts what Publishers Weekly calls “a world full of despair but not devoid of hope” in the aftermath of natural disaster. Ward received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, where she won five Hopwood Awards for her fiction, essays, and drama. She held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University from 2008-2010 and served as the Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi the following year.
Selection: Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng is the author of two novels, Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. It has been translated into over two dozen languages. Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, One Story, The Guardian, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Selection: The Mothers
Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.