Anne Tyler is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Tyler's ninth novel, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, which she considers her best work, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1983. Her tenth novel, The Accidental Tourist, was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986. Her 11th novel, Breathing Lessons, received the Pulitzer Prize in 1989.
Katherine Anne Porter was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. Her 1962 novel Ship of Fools was the best-selling novel in America that year, but her short stories received much more critical acclaim. She is known for her penetrating insight; her work deals with dark themes such as betrayal, death and the origin of human evil.
Anne Sexton was an American poet, known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967. Themes of her poetry include her suicidal tendencies, long battle against depression and various intimate details from her private life, including her relationships with her husband and children.
Sylvia Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two published collections: The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she became the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.
Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Marion Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series. Many critics have noted a feminist perspective in her writing. In 2000, she was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement.
Doris May Lessing is a Zimbabwean-British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In doing so the Swedish Academy described her as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest ever person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Nadine Gordimer is a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, when she was recognised as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity".
Radclyffe Hall was an English poet and author, best known for the lesbian classic The Well of Loneliness.
Djuna Barnes was an American writer who played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens. Her novel Nightwood became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style.
Sharon Kay Penman. an American historical novelist. She is best known for the Welsh Princes trilogy and the Plantagenet series. Her novels and mysteries are set in England, France, and Wales, and are about English and Welsh royalty during the Middle Ages. Critics have praised her meticulous research of settings and events presented in her fiction, as well as the characterizations.
Joyce Carol Oates. Since her debut in 1963, Joyce Carol Oates has published over fifty novels exploring themes of gender, violence, race and the darker elements of the human condition. Her novel Them won a National Book Award and three of her novels were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Sue Monk Kidd is an American writer who is best known for her novel The Secret Life of Bees. This book was an instant success and has spent over 2.5 years on the New York Times bestseller list. It has also been adapted into a play and movie. Kidd's fictional work often focuses on the struggles and victories of women living in the South. Her literary contributions have made quite the impact on readers and Southern writers alike.
Danielle Steel. Probably the greatest known romance writer of this century, Steel stands at 8th place on the all-time seller list at nearly 800,000 books sold. That's right, nearly a BILLION copies. J.K. Rowling has a mere 400,000 for all of the Harry Potter series. Put THAT into perspective!
Isabel Allende. Heralded as “The world’s most widely read Spanish-language author”; Won Chile’s National Literature Prize; Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her novels, which often focus on Latin women, have achieved broad commercial success, with stories that inspire, haunt and touch on the magical, and mythical in the lives of everyday people.
Maya Angelou: Maya Angelou is arguably the most famous African-American autobiographer and poet in history. Angelou broke the mold when she wrote her six autobiographical volumes in a nontraditional structure that completely challenged the genre. Angelou opened up to readers and shared her controversial life stories without shame or censorship. Her candidness and unique literary style pushed the boundaries for all female writers and changed the face of autobiographies forever.
Alice Walker: Alice Walker is most famous for her novel The Color Purple and she holds the title as the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Walker's writing career and personal life has mostly centered on race and gender inequality. Her written work and political involvement have made her a respected figure among African-Americans and female audiences around the world.
J.K. Rowling: British author J.K. Rowling is best known for writing the ever-popular Harry Potter fantasy series. Rowling's whimsical novels have inspired generations of kids to read and get excited about what they're reading. Her books have also inspired readers on a social, moral and political base. Even her personal story of rags to riches has influenced readers to never give up on their dreams.
Nora Roberts. American Romance author, was instrumental in helping shift the romance novel away from virginal, eighteen-year-old heroines and superficial male portrayals. Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot. Over 400 million copies of her books are in print.
S.E. Hinton: American novelist S.E. Hinton is best known for her young adult books, most notably, The Outsiders. Hinton began writing The Outsiders at 15 years old and it was published when she was 18 years old. Hinton became a household name and instant success with The Outsiders, which still sells more than 500,000 copies each year. Hinton has made a lasting impression with her literary work that effectively connects readers to the emotions and experiences of teenagers.
Toni Morrison. With the Song of Solomon, Beloved, and The Bluest Eye, Morrison explains to us the world of the American Midwest. Her command of place rivals Faulkner in its better moments. Is she sometimes more complex than she ought to be? No blemish on the career of this immortal voice.
Arundhati Roy: An Indian Novelist who made the headlines around the world when she became a first Indian woman to win the ‘Man Booker Prize’ in 1997 for her novel-‘The God of Small Things’. She has become an ardent advocate of social and economic justice for the country’s oppressed minorities.
Jhumpa Lahiri: An Indian American author who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000 for her debut short story collection ‘Interpreter of Maladies‘. Her first novel ‘The Namesake’ was adapted into the popular movie of the same name.
Cornelia Funke. Sometimes regarded as the German J.K. Rowling, Cornelia Funke has sold over 10 million copies of her children's fantasy series. During the 1980s and early 1990s, she became a well-known author of children's books in her native Germany, but her breakthrough came in 1997 when Dragonrider and later The Thief Lord, were met with international attention. The Thief Lord remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 25 weeks.
Kate Chopin: Considered one of the most significant writers of her time, she is the first feminist writer that questioned femininity and all other things relating to it. The protagonist of her most famous novel ”The Awakening” grapples with her unorthodox views on womanhood and motherhood.