I have always known I like to write. Growing up a bit shy, the written word allowed me to show the world who I was. Whether I was being creative, expressing my frustrations or just trying to get my message across I knew that even if couldn’t say it, I could always write it. I was (and am) lucky. Lucky to live in a part of the world where girls can go to school, where what I say matters, where I can say whatever I want, where other women writers have walked before me. Their work inspires me; their struggles serve as motivation to keep going. I’m sharing with you some of the female authors who have inspired me.
Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874-1942
Lucy Maud Montgomery was the first author to rock my world with the story of kind-hearted but far-from-perfect Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables). I got the book from my mom when I was eleven and I was hooked. Over fifteen years later, I`m still hooked.
Anne Frank 1929-1945
Anne Frank never got to be a journalist like she wanted but she did achieve one of her goals: to go on living even after her death. Since her diaries were published, her words have inspired generations. Personally, I admire her ability to see the big picture, to keep on living and enjoying every day moments even under the worst circumstances.
Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896
Harriet Beecher Stowe`s most renowned book is Uncle Tom`s Cabin. The book, which depicts the life of a slave in the United States, was not only extremely popular but it is believed to have reignited the slavery debate, which led to the American Civil War.
George Eliot /Mary Ann Evans 1819-1880
In a time where women wrote mostly romance novels, Mary Ann Evans wanted to write deeper, more serious books. Afraid of not being taken seriously for being a woman, she decided to publish under the penname George Eliot.
Maya Angelou 1928-
Besides her work as a civil rights activist, Maya Angelou has gained my admiration with her willingness to share her story and personal life with the world. Her six autobiographies, a genre she has mastered and revolutionized, depict a life that, while tragic at times, is honest and thought-provoking.
While going from welfare to millionaire is quite impressive, it is not the reason I included these two ladies. Both J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter and Suzanne Collins with The Hunger Games, have encouraged kids and teens to read. As a librarian and literacy advocate, I find this truly inspiring.
These are only a handful of the many female authors that inspire me. While they lived in different times and places, I find courage bounds them together. Courage to speak up, to hope, to share, to teach. Courage to be self-aware, to think, to fight. Courage to push boundaries, to break the rules, to live, to love. I hope more and more women this year find the courage and freedom to do these things.
Which women writers inspire you? Why?