Best New Feminist Authors: Who Are They?

As you put together your reading lists, considering female-identifying authors from different eras, of different backgrounds, and with unique voices and perspectives should be a top priority. We know the importance of hearing from women leaders at work and seeing women role models for our careers. Similarly, women writers often tell the stories and share the perspectives that are otherwise missing or under-represented and handicap our full understanding of the world.

The literary world is currently witnessing a powerful wave of new feminist authors who are reshaping narratives, challenging societal norms, and advocating for gender equality. In this article, we explore the rise of new feminist authors who are reshaping narratives and advocating for gender equality. These notable authors Bri Lee, Bernardine Evaristo, Tayari Jones, Sara Collins, Carmen Maria Machado, Candice Carty-Williams, Akwaeke Emezi, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Zeba Talkhani, Yaa Gyasi, and Elif Shafak fearlessly challenge societal norms, amplify marginalised voices, and inspire readers to question the status quo. Their contributions to literature serve as a beacon for a more inclusive and equal future.

Bri LeeBest New Feminist Authors

An Australian author, lawyer, and activist who gained recognition for her powerful memoir “Eggshell Skull.” In this deeply personal book, Lee courageously shares her own experiences as a survivor of sexual assault and her subsequent journey through the legal system.

In “Eggshell Skull,” Lee not only recounts her own story but also delves into the broader systemic issues surrounding sexual assault. She raises important questions about consent, the power dynamics between victims and perpetrators, and the urgent need for reform in our legal systems.

Overall, Bri Lee’s memoir “Eggshell Skull” is a testament to her resilience and bravery. Through her personal story and powerful writing, she not only sheds light on the flaws within the justice system but also inspires readers to question societal norms and work towards a more equitable and just society.

Bernardine Evaristo

A British author made history in 2019 by becoming the first black woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize for her novel “Girl, Woman, Other.” This groundbreaking book showcases Evaristo’s exceptional storytelling abilities and her commitment to representing the diverse experiences of Black British women.

Best New Feminist AuthorsIn “Girl, Woman, Other,” Evaristo skillfully weaves together the narratives of twelve unique characters, each with their own distinct voice and perspective. Through their interconnected stories, she explores themes of identity, race, gender, sexuality, and feminism. The characters come from different generations, backgrounds, and walks of life, reflecting the rich diversity within the Black British community.

She shines a light on the experiences of Black women in Britain, highlighting their struggles, triumphs, and the complexities of their identities. Through her characters, Evaristo explores the intersectionality of race, gender, and class, offering a nuanced and insightful portrayal of the Black British experience.

Evaristo’s novel has been widely acclaimed for its powerful storytelling and its contribution to contemporary literature. It has resonated with readers from diverse backgrounds, sparking important conversations about representation, diversity, and the power of storytelling to challenge societal norms.

Tayari Jones

An esteemed American author whose novel “An American Marriage” has received widespread acclaim and was honoured with the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction. Through her powerful storytelling, Jones delves into the profound impact of systemic racism on the lives of African-American individuals and explores the complexities of love, loyalty, and marriage.

Best New Feminist AuthorsIn “An American Marriage,” Jones presents a deeply human tale that revolves around the lives of Roy and Celestial, a young African-American couple whose lives are upended when Roy is wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. Jones skillfully portrays the devastating effects of systemic racism, as Roy’s imprisonment not only fractures their marriage but also exposes the structural inequalities and injustices faced by marginalised communities.

Jones’s writing is rich in emotional depth and authenticity, capturing the complexities and nuances of her characters’ experiences. She explores the intricacies of love and loyalty, delving into the challenges faced by Roy and Celestial as they navigate the harsh realities of the criminal justice system and the strain it places on their relationship. Through her storytelling, Jones raises important questions about the nature of love, the sacrifices we make for our loved ones, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Sara Collins

A talented Jamaican-British author, made a significant impact with her debut novel “The Confessions of Frannie Langton.” Set in 19th-century London, the book delves into profound themes of race, class, and gender, offering a compelling exploration of the experiences of women of colour during that era.

Best New Feminist Authors“The Confessions of Frannie Langton” follows the journey of Frannie, a former slave who finds herself accused of a brutal murder. Through Frannie’s perspective, Collins skillfully exposes the deep-rooted injustices faced by women of colour, both as slaves and as individuals living in a society that perpetuates racism and sexism.

One of the most powerful aspects of Collins’ novel is her exploration of the intersectionality of race, class, and gender. Frannie’s experiences as a woman of colour in a predominantly white and patriarchal society are examined with nuance and sensitivity.

Through Frannie’s story, Collins sheds light on the unique challenges faced by women of colour, highlighting the systemic barriers they encounter and the ways in which their stories have been silenced and marginalised.

Candice Carty-Williams

A talented British author, gained widespread recognition with her debut novel “Queenie.” The book offers a compelling portrayal of the life of Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican-British woman navigating the challenges of love, work, and mental health in contemporary London.

Best New Feminist Authors“Queenie” also tackles the topic of mental health with sensitivity and authenticity. Carty-Williams explores Queenie’s experiences with anxiety and depression, providing a candid portrayal of the impact that mental health issues can have on one’s personal and professional life. By addressing these issues head-on, the author contributes to the ongoing conversation surrounding mental health and challenges the stigma associated with it.

Candice Carty-Williams’ “Queenie” is a powerful and engaging novel that addresses important social issues with humour and honesty. Through her skillful storytelling, she explores themes of race, identity, and mental health, offering readers a thought-provoking and relatable reading experience. Carty-Williams’ debut novel is a testament to her talent as a writer and her ability to capture the complexities of contemporary womanhood.

Akwaeke Emezi

A talented Nigerian author made a significant impact with their debut novel “Freshwater,” which garnered critical acclaim and was recognised as a New York Times Notable Book. Emezi’s writing delves into profound themes of identity, self-discovery, and mental health through the captivating story of Ada, a young Nigerian woman.

One of the notable aspects of Emezi’s writing is their exploration of the complexities of existence. Through Ada’s perspective, Emezi challenges conventional notions of gender and explores the fluidity of identity. The novel delves into the concept of multiple selves or spirits inhabiting one body, blurring the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical. Emezi’s narrative style is both lyrical and introspective, inviting readers to contemplate the nature of identity and the intricacies of the human experience.

Best New Feminist AuthorsEmezi’s portrayal of mental health in “Freshwater” is also a significant aspect of their work. Ada’s journey is deeply intertwined with her struggles with mental health, including experiences of trauma, dissociation, and self-discovery. Emezi handles these themes with sensitivity and nuance, shedding light on the often misunderstood and stigmatised topic of mental health. Through their writing, Emezi challenges societal perceptions of mental illness and encourages empathy and understanding.

In addition to their exploration of identity and mental health, Emezi’s writing also delves into themes of spirituality and Nigerian mythology. The novel incorporates elements of Igbo cosmology and folklore, adding depth and richness to the narrative. Emezi seamlessly weaves together cultural traditions and contemporary storytelling, creating a unique and immersive reading experience. Emezi’s writing is thought-provoking, evocative, and showcases talent as a powerful voice in contemporary literature.

Oyinkan Braithwaite

A talented Nigerian-British author, garnered critical acclaim for her darkly comedic novel “My Sister, the Serial Killer.” The book presents a unique and captivating exploration of the complex relationship between two sisters, Korede and Ayoola, whose lives are entangled in a disturbing pattern of murder.

One of the notable aspects of Braithwaite’s writing is her skillful blend of dark humour and suspense. Through her sharp and witty prose, she creates a narrative that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The juxtaposition of the macabre subject matter with humorous moments adds a layer of complexity to the story, challenging readers to grapple with the moral implications of the characters’ actions.

Best New Feminist AuthorsBraithwaite’s exploration of patriarchy is another significant theme in “My Sister, the Serial Killer.” The novel delves into the societal pressures faced by women and the ways in which they navigate a world that often dismisses or undermines their experiences. Through Korede’s perspective, Braithwaite shines a light on the expectations placed on women to protect and support their families, even in the face of morally ambiguous situations.

The complex sisterhood dynamic between Korede and Ayoola is a central focus of the novel. Braithwaite delves into the intricacies of their relationship, exploring themes of loyalty, jealousy, and the blurred lines between love and obligation. The bond between the sisters is tested as they grapple with the consequences of Ayoola’s actions, raising questions about the limits of familial loyalty and the lengths one would go to protect a loved one.

Zeba Talkhani

A talented British author of Indian and Muslim heritage, shares her powerful and deeply personal journey in her memoir “My Past Is a Foreign Country.” The book offers a poignant reflection on Talkhani’s experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia and the profound challenges she faced as a result of cultural and societal expectations.

One of the remarkable aspects of Talkhani’s writing is her exploration of identity. Growing up in a conservative society, she grapples with the complexities of her Indian and Muslim heritage while also navigating the expectations placed upon her as a woman. Through her introspective and honest prose, Talkhani delves into the process of discovering and embracing her own unique identity, challenging societal norms and expectations along the way.

Best New Feminist AuthorsFeminism is another significant theme in “My Past Is a Foreign Country.” Talkhani courageously examines the ways in which patriarchal structures and cultural traditions can limit women’s freedom and agency. She shares her own experiences of gender inequality and discrimination, shedding light on the importance of feminism as a tool for empowerment and social change. Talkhani’s writing serves as a powerful call to action for gender equality and challenges readers to examine their own beliefs and biases.

Zeba Talkhani’s “My Past Is a Foreign Country” is a powerful memoir that explores themes of identity, feminism, and self-acceptance. Her writing is introspective, thought-provoking, and serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Talkhani’s memoir is a compelling read that invites readers to reflect on their own journeys of self-discovery and to challenge societal expectations in pursuit of personal fulfilment and authenticity.

Yaa Gyasi

Ghanaian-American author, has made a significant impact with her debut novel “Homegoing.” This powerful and poignant book traces the interconnected stories of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, and their descendants across several generations. Through their narratives, Gyasi explores the enduring legacy of slavery and colonisation, shedding light on the profound impact these historical events have had on individuals and communities.

Best New Feminist AuthorsOne of the central themes in Gyasi’s writing is the exploration of race and its implications throughout history. “Homegoing” delves into the experiences of Effia and Esi, who are born into different circumstances—one as the wife of a British slave trader and the other as a captured slave. Gyasi skillfully depicts the stark contrast between their lives and the subsequent generations that follow, examining the ways in which race shapes their experiences and identities.

History plays a crucial role in Gyasi’s novel, as she takes readers on a journey through time, spanning from the 18th century to the present day. Each chapter focuses on a different descendant of Effia and Esi, offering a glimpse into their lives and the struggles they face. Through these interconnected stories, Gyasi highlights the lasting impact of slavery and colonisation on both individuals and societies, emphasising the need to confront and reckon with the past in order to understand the present.

Another important aspect of Gyasi’s work is her emphasis on reclaiming lost narratives. Through “Homegoing,” she gives voice to those whose stories have been marginalised or forgotten, offering a counter-narrative to the dominant historical accounts. Gyasi’s novel serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of recognizing and amplifying diverse voices, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of history and its ongoing impact.

Elif Shafak

Renowned Turkish-British author has captivated readers with her powerful storytelling and thought-provoking exploration of feminism and identity. One of her most celebrated works, “The Forty Rules of Love,” has garnered international acclaim for its profound examination of love, spirituality, and the transformative power of literature.

Best New Feminist AuthorsIn “The Forty Rules of Love,” Shafak skillfully weaves together two parallel narratives. The first follows Ella Rubenstein, a middle-aged woman who becomes engrossed in the manuscript of a novel she is assigned to review. This novel tells the story of Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet, and his deep connection with his spiritual mentor, Shams of Tabriz. As Ella immerses herself in the tale, she embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery and love.

One of the key themes explored in Shafak’s novel is the transformative power of love. Through the relationship between Rumi and Shams, she delves into the profound impact that love can have on an individual’s spiritual and emotional growth. Shafak’s writing beautifully captures the complexities of love, highlighting its ability to transcend boundaries and unite people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Summaries Key Points

Talented feminist authors are revolutionising the literary scene with their compelling storytelling and exploration of feminist themes. Their works serve as a powerful tool to challenge societal norms, shed light on the experiences of marginalised individuals, and ignite a sense of empowerment among readers. By questioning the status quo, these authors inspire readers to critically examine existing power structures and advocate for a more inclusive and equal society. As they continue to push boundaries and create meaningful change through their writing, their contributions to literature serve as a guiding light towards a future that embraces diversity, equality, and social justice.