The literary circle has seen many women voice their deepest emotions through the power of words. We take a look at some of their illustrious careers.
"It is our choices, Harry that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
British author JK Rowling, who penned a spellbinding page-turner, is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors. Her magical world filled with wizards and witches cast a spell not only on children but also adults.
As most Potter fans know, the increasingly dark tones in the series following the adventures of an 11-year-old bespectacled boy were inspired from the author’s life experiences. Her struggle with depression in her 20s gave form to the Dementors that we see in the third instalment. The series had a rough start when the draft was rejected by more than a dozen publishing houses in Britain before Bloomsbury agreed to publish the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.
But even after the completion of the series, Rowling continues to capture the hearts of her readers by revealing the back story of characters in the magical world of Harry Potter.
"Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t mess in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, American novelist Harper Lee rose to fame after the publication of her first book. The book—that deals with the racism then observed by young Lee as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama—was later adapted to be released on the screen in 1962.
Although the first novel was an international bestseller, Lee did not continue her career as a writer. The American novelist did not publish her second book until recently, when her lawyer Tonja Carter discovered the manuscript, which was thought to be lost, in a safe deposit box. Lee announced the release of Go Set a Watchman—a novel written before Mockingbird that features the main character, Scout.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you"
Maya Angelou has been credited with many inspirational works in her lifetime. She started her career as a performer in the mid-1950s when she landed a role in a touring production of Pordgy and Bees. Her later performances included off-Broadway production Calypso Heat Wave and The Blacks. But it wasn’t until she returned to the United States when Angelou was urged by her friend to pen down her life experiences, which culminated into the highly successful I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings.
The poignant memoir achieved international acclaim and was the first non-fiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Angelou continued breaking records and become the first African-American woman to write a screenplay that was produced. Other publications include collections of poetry such as Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
"That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
The poignancy in her prose that explored the experiences of South Asian immigrants in the United States won her the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut Interpreter of Maldives is a collection of short stories that give a fresh insight into the lives of immigrants. Her following novel The Namesake that was published in 2003 expanded on the same theme and was later adapted into a film directed by Mira Nair.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single young man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"
This first line from Austen’s most famous novel Pride and Prejudice, which celebrated 200 years in 2013, is widely recognised not only by Austen fans but is also quite popular in the literary world. Unlike contemporary women writer, Austen, a Gregorian era author, did not receive the same fame.
In her 30s, she anonymously published Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma. One of the greatest writers in English literary history, her timeless works has been adapted into plays, television series and movies that include popular sequels and spinoffs.
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