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2014: The Year of Reading Women

As initiated by British writer Joanna Walsh and followed by the hashtag #readwomen2014, 2014 will hopefully be The Year of Reading Women, for a broader presence and recognition of women writers by publishers, newspapers, journalists, booksellers, and most of all, readers. If we look back on 2013, how many of the books we read were written by women? Hopefully, the next one you read will be.
If you don’t know what to choose from, we made it easier for you with a selection of 15 women writers we strongly recommend. Some of them will release their first book this year, and a few ones already have a solid bibliography to choose from. Either way, we hope this will encourage you to add a few names to your 2014 to-read list!


 
Half of a Yellow SunThe Thing Around Your NeckPurple Hibiscus: A NovelAmericanah

With four novels under her belt, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not new to the literary scene, and yet she got – with good reason! – the attention of a brand new audience last year when her TED talk about feminism was sampled by no other than Beyoncé. Her novel Purple Hibiscus has been selected by many literary awards (such as the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize), but we also recommend her latest novel Americanah about a young Nigerian woman emigrating to the US.

We Need New Names

Last year, NoViolet Bulawayo was the first Zimbabwean author to be selected for the Man Booker Prize with her debut novel about Darling, a young woman on a journey from Zimbabwe to the US. Renowned New York Times literary critic Michiko Kakutani praised “a deeply felt and fiercely written debut novel”.

Prayers for the StolenThe Poison That Fascinates

Prayers For The Stolen is Jennifer Clement‘s latest novel, the story of Ladydi (yes!), a fierce young Mexican woman living in a world where every girl must disguise herself as a boy so as not to be kidnapped by cartels. A literary heroine you won’t forget anytime soon!

How To Be A Heroine

Speaking of literary heroines, Samantha Ellis has a few ones she’d like to talk to us about: Esther Greenwood, Anne Shirley, Lizzy Bennet… And many more! Her exploration of her past and present favourite heroines and their influence on her life is well thought out and highly inspirational. Samantha Ellis said in the interview we published on Feedbooks that she “found the answers to most of [her] life’s questions and crises in the pages of [her] favourite books”, and we couldn’t agree more.

For Today I Am a Boy

Kim Fu writes fiction and non-fiction and has notably written for NPR, The Rumpus and Maisonneuve Magazine. Her first novel For Today I Am a Boy tells the story of a second-generation Chinese family with three daughters and one son who has only one wish: to be a girl.

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot

Masha Gessen is a Russian American journalist and has published several works of non-fiction who deal notably with Vladimir Putin but also the situation for lesbians and gay men in Russia. Her latest work about the fearless members of Pussy Riot and the history of the feminist punk group will hopefully become essential to the understanding of a country in crisis.

Village Of StoneUFO in Her EyesA Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers20 Fragments of a Ravenous YouthI Am China

Xiaolu Guo is a British Chinese novelist and filmmaker. In 2013, after having published four novels, she was selected in the fourth edition of the prestigious list “Granta Best of Young British Novelist”. Recently invited at the Jaipur literature festival, she denounced the lack of translated works in the Anglo-American publishing market, affirming the negative effect it has on our reading habits (only 2% of the works published in the US and the UK in 2007 were originally written in another language). Her forthcoming novel I Am China will be published in June by Random House.

Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma

Kerry Hudson‘s childhood and adolescence spent in council estate flats and bed & breakfasts were a strong inspiration for her first novel. In Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, we follow Janie, a young woman who experiences poverty and dire living conditions with a strong will to survive and to overcome her situation. Funny and touching without being tearful–a real pleasure!

Tide RunningAll Decent Animals

After growing up in Guyana and living in Amsterdam, Trinidad & Tobago, and currently in Grenada, Oonya Kempadoo draws from her multicultural upbringing to write her novels, in a language Karen Russell described as “incantatory, dense, and lush”.

Burial Rites

Burial Rites is only Hannah Kent‘s first novel, but it has been highly praised and acclaimed by numerous newspapers and magazines, and has been selected for the 2014 Stella Prize rewarding Australian women writers. This tale of a woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829 is haunting and beautifully written.

Please Look After MotherI'll Be Right There

You may know Kyung-Sook Shin for her novel Please Look After Mother which won the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize and tells the story of family’s search after the mother goes missing. Good news: her next novel I’ll Be Right There will finally be released in June and we really look forward to it!

The Hour of the Star (Second Edition)Água VivaThe Passion According to G.H.Near to the Wild HeartA Breath of Life

Often compared to Franz Kafka or Rimbaud, cult Brasilian writer Clarice Lispector has recently been at the centre of the literary talk thanks to new editions of her major works by New Directions: we’ll be reading Clarice Lispector in 2014 and we hope you will as well!

The Night Guest

Fiona McFarlane‘s intriguing debut novel is the story of Ruth, a widow, Frida, a woman who comes to Ruth’s house affirming she is her carer, and a tiger. Sounds intriguing? Sounds promising! The Rumpus recommends “a confident and engaging debut that poignantly depicts the final act of a life, the memories and loves that can (and can’t) be regained, and the mysterious visitor that we all become, eventually, to ourselves”.

White is for WitchingMr FoxThe Opposite HouseThe Icarus GirlBoy, Snow, Bird

Helen Oyeyemi has a singular voice and was selected, rightly so, in the list of “Granta Best of Young British Novelists”. Her forthcoming novel Boy, Snow, Bird will be published in March 2014.

After the Fire, A Still Small VoiceAll the Birds, Singing

After winning the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2009 for her debut novel After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, Evie Wyld delivered a second novel called All The Birds, Singing in 2013 (soon to be published in the US). Telling the story of a woman living alone on a farm and faced with the mysterious murder of her sheep, The Guardian called it “a compelling portrait of a young woman with a dark past”

Our selection of ebook releases

Focus on British author Maggie O’Farrell

Instructions for a HeatwaveThe Vanishing Act Of Esme LennoxThe Hand That First Held MineMaggie O'Farrell

Discover hundreds of titles in British literature and in multiples genres: Mystery, Fantasy, Literary Fiction

Promotions

iBurning Bright: StoriesBlood MoneyLet it Come Down: A NovelThe Raising

Their Eyes Were Watching GodBlack BoyBring on the BlessingsThe Measure of a Man

Did you know? You can find all of our current promotions and special offers listed in the Reading Lists section!
News and investigations: a different outlook

I Met Lucky People

Our Sociology category offers many eye-opening works like this one: browse the section for more suggestions.

Recommended new releases

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

Tales Of The CityMore Tales Of The CityBabycakesThe Days of Anna Madrigal
The whole series created by Armistead Maupin is available on Feedbooks: (re)discover San Francisco with Tales of The City.

Our selection of ebook releases

Interviews

Kerry HudsonTony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma

Samantha Ellis How To Be A Heroine

Eva RiceThe Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp

Special offers

The Chemistry Of DeathWritten In BoneWhispers of the DeadThe Calling of the Grave

Maya's Notebook

Recommended new releases

Dept. of Speculation

Discover all the latest releases in American literary fiction with Patrick Ness, Anna Quindlen, Rachel Pastan and many more!

My Life in MiddlemarchMiddlemarch

Download tons of other public domain titles from our public domain section.

Dominion

Visit the editorial reviews section to know what newspapers and blogs said about the latest releases.

Our selection of ebook releases

Interviews

Simon RichThe Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories

Selections

BossypantsThe GutsIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?High Fidelity

Mercury in retrograde, post-Christmas blues: nothing beats a light-hearted, entertaining read. Above are some of our favorite comfort reads. What are yours?
If you prefer your comfort read to be on the humorous side, do not hesitate to browse our dedicated category.

Twelve Years a Slave

You can download some of the greatest works of literature for free from our public domain section.

Focus on an independent publisher

Foreign Gods, Inc.The MorelsMan in the Empty Suit

Discover the catalog of Soho Press available in ebook.

Recommended new releases

Snowblind

Horror fiction does not weaken: discover the latest releases in this category.

Bad Wolf

German mysteries are on the rise: do not miss the latest installments from Nele Neuhaus and other German crime writers!

Our selection of ebook releases

INTERVIEWS

Alexander MaksikA Marker to Measure Drift

iNic PizzolattoGalveston by Nic Pizzolatto

Jussi Adler-OlsenThe Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen

 

SELECTIONS

AmericanahSomeoneThe InfatuationsA Tale for the Time BeingThe Goldfinch: A Novel

All the latest literary awards are listed here.

Twelve Years a SlaveA Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at SeaPhilomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year SearchThe Wolf of Wall Street

Discover our curated reading lists: there’s a list for every reader.

 

RECOMMENDED NEW RELEASES

The Visionist: A NovelRachel Urquhart

If you’re keen on XIXth century historical fiction, browse our dedicated category.

A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World: A NovelRachel Cantor by Marianne Barcellona

We love Melville House, and you should too.

The Lie

Before the centenary of WW1, discover our  dedicated category.

Ex-Purgatory

Browse our Science-Fiction and Horror category, and if you like both at the same time, discover our selection of cross-genre fiction.