Book List: Celebrating formidable female authors

The Mantle Editors share their top eight books written by women.


International Women's Day Book List
Credit: Pixabay


Happy International Women's Day (and Women's History Month) from The Mantle! We're kicking off our celebration of female authors, artists, and thought leaders with a list of the women-written books our editorial team is most excited to be reading this spring.


Aria Chiodo - Arts & Culture Editor


Katherine Mansfield


I'd say the book by a woman I continually return to and had a big hand in inspiring me to write, is Katherine Mansfield's collection of stories (various editions and versions). Mansfield was influential in the modernist movement of the 1910s-20s, an inspiration and rival to Virginia Woolf. She experimented with point of view and narration, giving voice to complex female characters and their inner experiences, as well as delicately capturing children's points of view.




The Gathering


A book I have been meaning to read is The Gathering by Irish writer Anne Enright. I saw her speak a few years ago, and was interested in her exploration of the familial experience and links across generations. She also seems to write with an intriguing blend of darkness and humor. I was recently inspired to finally read her when I read this interview, in which she lists Mansfield as one of the writers she'd invite to lunch.




Morgan Forde - Managing Editor


Prousts Duchesses


I've always been fascinated by women-led salon culture in Europe and Russia during the late 19th century and can't wait to delve into Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris, by Caroline Weber. It's sad how many incredible female thinkers were deliberately overshadowed by male luminaries of the period, however their determination to make space for themselves remains inspiring today.



Kingdom of Olives and Ash


I just picked up Kingdom of Olives and Ash in my local bookstore and I'm looking forward to delving into more personal perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, beyond the headlines we see every day. A collection of essays co-edited by Ayelet Waldman, the book features an array of international writers, male and female, telling the stories of people living in Palestine and under Israeli occupation.




Marie Lamensch - International Affairs Editor




Naomi Fontaine's Manikanetish - For writing about the hardships faced by indigenous peoples in Canada but also the determination of young indigenous people to have a good future.


Roxane Gay's Hunger - For confronting me with the ways to think about feminism, sexual violence and women’s relationships with their bodies.



Les Maisons


Delphine de Vigan's Jours sans faim - For putting words to how I lived with my eating disorder.


Fanny Britt's Les Maisons - For making me rethink the notion of motherhood and gender equality, for challenging people’s preconceived ideas about what it means to be a woman and a mother in the 21rst century.



Shaun Randol - Publisher


My Antonia


My Antonia, by Willa Cather is a book I'm very much in love with. Cather is adept at crafting a real sense of place that transports me to my Midwestern and childhood upbringing. I miss the open plains.









On the nonfiction side, I'm a big fan of Mary Beard, who writes about antiquity in a way that is accessible, entertaining, and deeply intelligent. I devour her essays as soon as they're published, and recommend her door-stopper on ancient Rome, SPQR.






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Literature, Women's History Month, International Women's Day, Female authors, Mantle Editors