International Women’s Day is a day dedicated to achieving gender equality around the world. What better way to mark the occasion than by celebrating some of our favourite female writers? From bestselling authors like Danielle Steel and Margaret Atwood to writers to watch, here are the women you should be reading.


Women writers to watch

The Philanthropist

Melinda Gates

For twenty years Melinda Gates has co-chaired the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband Bill. Her goal has been to find solutions for the people with the most urgent needs around the world. Through her work she came to the realisation that to lift a society up, you must invest in women.

In her first book, the candid and inspiring The Moment of Lift, Melinda explains how she reached this realisation, highlights the huge opportunities for change that exist right now, and offers simple and effective ways that you can make a difference. From family planning to job equality and the elimination of gender bias, Gates has campaigned on the global stage for a range of issues, and introduces us to her personal heroes in the movement towards equality.


Find out more

The activist

Mariam Khan

Mariam Khan is a British writer and activist, and editor of It’s Not About the Burqa, a collection of essays written by Muslim women, about Muslim women.   In 2016, Mariam read that David Cameron, then British Prime Minister, had allegedly suggested that ‘traditional submissiveness of Muslim women’ was a leading factor in the radicalisation of young Muslim men. Frustrated, and knowing the truth to be so far to the contrary,  Mariam was determined to give Muslim women, a community too often unheard, the space to discuss the truth about what it means to be a Muslim woman in the West today; about love, sex, wavering faith, mental health, and so much more. Find out more about It’s Not About the Burqa in our video with Mariam and some of the book’s contributors.


Find out more

The multi-talented artist

Elizabeth Macneal

Born in Scotland and now living in East London, Elizabeth Macneal is not only a writer but a talented potter. The first draft of her debut novel, The Doll Factory, won the Caledonia Novel Award, and is to be published by Picador in May this year. A thrilling, and often dark story of love, art and dangerous obsession, The Doll Factory follows Iris as she breaks free of the restraints of Victorian gender roles to pursue a life of freedom and creativity.


Find out more

The millenial literary sensation

Sally Rooney

With two novels published to serious acclaim and one longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, all before the age of thirty, Sally Rooney is certainly an author to watch. Nicknamed ‘the Salinger of the Snapchat generation’ Rooney excels at writing about modern relationships and the power struggles and imbalances inherent therein. Her debut novel Conversations With Friends follows friends, ex-lovers and performance poets Frances and Bobbi as they become increasingly entangled with an alluring older couple, while Normal People charts the relationship between Marianne and Connell as they navigate their teens and early twenties.


Find out more


Bestselling female authors


The worldwide bestseller

Danielle Steel
Danielle Steel is one of the world’s most popular authors, and has sold over 650 million copies of her novels around the globe. Her many international bestsellers include Property of a Noblewoman, Blue, Precious Gifts, Undercover and A Perfect Life

For more on Danielle’s bestselling books, new releases and what’s coming soon, click here.


Find out more

The literary superstar

Jessie Burton

Jessie Burton’s first novel The Miniaturist was a literary sensation; it has been translated into over thirty languages, has sold over a million copies around the world and was adapted into a BBC One miniseries. Jessie writes fascinating, complex female characters who aren’t defined by what the men in their life are doing.
Jessie’s third novel, The Confession, will be published in September 2019, and tells the story of three women and the complex connections they share through decades and across continents.


Find out more

The bookish best friend

Lucy Diamond

Lucy Diamond’s fun, heartfelt novels of love, friendship and fresh starts have a tendency to wrap themselves softly around you. Lucy has written many bestselling novels, including The Secrets of Happiness, Summer at Shell Cottage, The Year of Taking Chances and Something To Tell You.


Find out more

The Hollywood hero

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue is best known for her internationally bestselling novel, Room, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Brie Larson.
She has also written a number of novels inspired by real historical events, such as Frog Music, Slammerkin and The Sealed Letter. Her novel The Wonder is inspired by numerous historical cases of 'fasting girls' who claimed to be able to stay alive without ever eating anything.


Find out more

The nerve-shredding thriller writer

Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is an award-winning author of gripping psychological thrillers such as The End of Everything, Dare Me and Give Me Your Hand. Her dark, compulsive novels explore the dark undercurrents of adolescence and female relationships.
As well as being an award-winning author, Megan is also a writer and story editor on the acclaimed HBO drama The Deuce.


Find out more


The literary legend

With a writing career spanning over fifty years, Margaret Atwood needs no introduction. Probably best known for her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which was adapted into the TV series of the same name starring Elisabeth Moss, Atwood is equally at home writing novels that deal with sexual politics and speculative fiction.


Find out more

Emma has even more recommendations for brilliant books by women in this episode of Book Break: