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04.02.2014 admin
Although apparently acknowledging the gender inequality of the original list, no attempt was made to redress this – instead the women get their own separate list. Grigg-Spall takes on this feminist icon, and asks whether it's actually just prescribed patriarchy. Bit eurocentric – where’s Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Chimimanda Ngoze Adichie, Jung Chang, Nadine Gordimer, Isabelle Allende? Influence is so hard to measure, but I do think the omissions of Allende and Chang are both huge. I would have had Anne Bronte on there – she takes a slightly more cynical view of the Byronic hero than her sisters (in that, in her books, the brooding, bad-tempered hero is shown to be simply a bullying misogynist, and dealt far less sympathy than Rochester (although I do heart him) and Heathcliffe.


Thanks so much for this lovely comment, Jennie – it was really important to us that we made our list accessible, and included popular and commercial choices as well as more literary and academic options! Just joined this list and think I’m twice as old as many of you, but was prompted by a recent panic about how many great women writers arise and seem to disappear from the culture.
Peter Rabbit might not be the most influential character, but I think Beatrix Potter as a writer was hugely influential for women in publishing.
I guess it just interests me that Harper Lee, Enid Blyton and Virginia Woolf all pop up on the same list.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered to be one of the first overtly feminist novels – and is supremely underrated in my opinion!


Of course all lists are subjective, and this one especially is far from definitive given that there are so many other amazing books and authors that could have been included, but it’s really great to see it having such positive feedback as a starting point! So happy to see so many favourites listed and might also add Grace Paley, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston as writers from the US worth considering. And there’s a disturbing lack of fantasy writers (other than Ursula Le Guin and Anne Rice).




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