This post is also available in: العربية

By Raya Al-Jadir

With the current climate of being home, it’s a great time to be an introvert and book worms. So, if you can’t go out socially why not check some outstanding female authors that you should know or have read their work and if you haven’t then now it’s the perfect time to start.

Jung Chang – China

Jung Chang is the author of the best-selling books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991), which the Asian Wall Street Journal called the most read book about China;Mao: The Unknown Story (2005, with her husband, the historian Jon Halliday) and Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China (2013) Her latest book,Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China (2019), charts the lives of the Soong sisters, who were among the most significant political figures of early 20th-century China.

Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies outside mainland China, where they are banned.

Elif Shafak – Turkey

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 50 languages. Her novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and chosen Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Her previous novel,The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World.

Isabel Allende – Chile

Chilean American writer and is considered one of the first successful woman novelists from Latin America. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the genre magical realism, is known for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially successful. Allende in 2010, she received Chile’s National Literature Prize.

Allende’s novels are often based upon her personal experience and historical events and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism

Ghada Al-Samman – Syria

Born in Damascus, Syria, Ghada Al-Samman is a writer, journalist and novelist. Al-Samman has more than 40 published works, which includes everything from novels and short stories, to poetry and journal Samman is a highly respected if sometimes controversial writer in the Arab world who is becoming increasingly well known internationally; several of her works have been translated from Arabic into languages such as English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish, German, Japanese, and Farsi.

Available in English translation are “Beirut ’75” and “Beirut Nightmares,” both translated by Nancy Roberts. Several of Samman’s poems have been translated into English and published in anthologies such as Nathalie Handal’s “The Poetry of Arab Women.”

Inaam Kachachi (1952-present) – Iraq

Before moving to France to obtain her PhD, Inaam Kachachi worked as a journalist in Baghdad, where she was born. In addition to writing several pieces for Arabic print media, the Iraqi writer also published several fiction and non-fiction titles, including Tashari, which was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014. Her novel The American Granddaughter became highly acclaimed and was nominated for the Arabic Booker Prize and shortlisted for the International Prize for

Ahlam Mosteghanemi – Algeria

Born in Tunisia but originally from Algeria and often called the “world’s best arabophone woman novelist”, Ahlam Mosteghanemi continues to inspire young readers across the Middle East. Usually writing in Arabic, most of her works have been translated into English because of their popularity, her most successful ones include; Memory in the Flesh, Chaos of the Senses, and The Art of Forgetting.

Marjane Satrapi – Iran

Satrapi has written several children’s books and her commentary and comics appear in newspapers and magazines around the world. She is the author of the internationally best-selling and award-winning comic book autobiography in two parts, Persepolis (Pantheon, 2003) and Persepolis 2 (Pantheon, 2004), which launched her career. This autobiographical graphic novel is a perceptive coming-of-age story set in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Young Marjane drinks, goes to parties, and skips school—typical teenage rebellions that take on new meaning against the backdrop of a fast-changing culture. She also wrote Embroideries that was published in April 2005.

Agatha Christie – United Kingdom  

Born in Torquay, England in 1890, Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time. She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world’s longest-running play –The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation .According to Guinness World Records, Agatha Christie has the title of “world’s best-selling fiction writer,” with estimated sales of over 2 billion.

K. Rowling – United Kingdom

better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British author, film producer, television producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in history. She also writes crime fiction under the name Robert Galbraith.

Rowling has written five books for adult readers:The Casual Vacancy (2012) and—under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith—the crime fiction Cormoran Strike series, which consists of The Cuckoo’s calling (2013),The Silkworm (2014), Career of Evil (2015), and Lethal White (2018). She is the UK’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238 million

Although she writes under the pen name J. K. Rowling, her name, before her remarriage, was Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers asked that she use two initials rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K (for Kathleen) as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother.

Toni Morrison – United States 

Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate in literature whose best-selling work explored black identity in America — and in particular the often crushing experience of black women.Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The critically acclaimed  Song of Solomon (1977) brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1988, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for for Beloved (1987); she gained worldwide recognition when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.

by Raya Al-Jadir