5 Female Authors Crafting Compelling Novels

With so much genre fiction in the marketplace, one can be forgiven for not realizing there's anything else being put out these days. These authors all buck the trend, producing category-defying work that is insightful and touching, giving readers an experience they've never had before and won't soon forget. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Contemporary Female Authors You Should Know

Name Popular Titles
Kathryn Ma The Year She Left Us All That Work and Still No Boys
Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg Eden The Nine
Anca L. Szilágyi I Loved You in New York Daughters of the Air Sugar
Lorraine Devon Wilke The Alchemy of Noise After the Sucker Punch Hysterical Love
Marianne Sciucco Blue Hydrangeas Swim Season Ino's Love

An Interview With Kathryn Ma

Organizations That Support And Encourage Writers

Name Headquarters Focus
PEN America New York, NY Works to protect free expression with initiatives on college campuses, in prisons, in nations where artists and journalists are at risk, and in communities around the world
West Coast Songwriters Chapters throughout California Network of local groups where members can build relationships and receive helpful feedback on their work
A Studio in the Woods New Orleans, LA Retreat and learning center providing artists and scholars with a space close to nature where they can pursue their work
Sisters in Crime Lawrence, KS, with chapters across the US and Canada Supports women crime writers, promoting diversity and inclusion through a professional network, quarterly journal, and research grants
PlayPenn Philadelphia, PA Guides playwrights as they craft new works with staged readings, classes, networking opportunities, and the three-year Foundry program
Authors Guild New York, NY Membership organization with resources for authors like contract reviews and legal aid, and a foundation that advocates on behalf of writers on issues like free speech and copyright protection

Get a Taste of The Nine by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

In Depth

Books can transport us to fantastical fictional places, but they don't need to invent otherworldly scenarios to have readers hooked. Sometimes, the most riveting and moving narratives are the ones closest to home. Presented in no particular order, the female authors on this list craft powerful novels focused on intimate stories of family, romance, growing up, and personal struggle.

At #1 is Kathryn Ma, author of the acclaimed novel "The Year She Left Us." It concerns the interwoven stories of three generations of women from the Kong family, and the truths they're forced to confront when their youngest seeks out her home orphanage in China. The book explores the promise and pain of adoption, the price of assimilation and achievement, and the ties that bind.

Ma made her debut with the collection "All That Work and Still No Boys," which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Comprised of ten stories, it illuminates the confounding natures of duty, transformation, and loss. Other writing by Ma has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and Southwest Review. She has also taught creative writing at the University of Oregon, San Francisco State University, and elsewhere.

Other writing by Ma has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and Southwest Review.

For #2 we have Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg. Informed by her upbringing as an only child, her fiction work explores the complex relationships between mothers and their children, and the drama that arises when societal pressure conflicts with maternal instinct. This is evident in her debut novel, "Eden," about a family matriarch preparing to disclose a difficult secret in the days leading up to July 4th, 2000.

Blasberg followed "Eden" with "The Nine," which focuses on a doting mom and her bright teenage son, who discovers evidence of sexual misconduct at his elite New England boarding school. A coming-of-age novel that doubles as a portrait of an evolving mother-son relationship, the book won the Beverly Hills Book Awards for Literary and Regional Fiction. Beyond her novels, Blasberg pens essays about her frequent travels.

Landing at #3 is Anca L. Szilagyi, a Brooklynite writer living in Chicago. In 2017 she released her debut novel, "Daughters of the Air," about a teenage runaway whose father disappears during Argentina's Dirty War. Told with a hint of fabulism as it moves between South America and New York City, it's a tale of estrangement and self-discovery that examines the personal consequences of political repression.

Told with a hint of fabulism as it moves between South America and New York City, it's a tale of estrangement and self-discovery that examines the personal consequences of political repression.

Other writing by Szilagyi includes non-fiction and short fiction works, which have appeared in publications such as Lilith Magazine, Gastronomica, Fairy Tale Review, and Salon. The author has received a number of fellowships and awards, and has taught writing classes at Southern New Hampshire University and the University of Washington, where she got her MFA. Additionally, she has co-curated a reading series, and worked as an ESL instructor and paralegal.

For #4 we come to Lorraine Devon Wilke, whose multimedia career spans theater, rock and roll, photography, and many forms of writing. Her first book, "After the Sucker Punch," tells of a woman who's shaken by her father's death and the posthumous indictment he leaves her. The author followed it with "Hysterical Love," about a romantically confused man who goes searching for his dad's unrequited lost love.

More recently, Devon Wilke authored "The Alchemy of Noise," a contemporary Chicago-set love story that explores privilege and racial injustice. Her other writing ranges from feature screenplays to stage plays, to short stories, articles, and editorials. Elsewhere, she has acted in theatrical productions, and performed with both the 80s New Wave group DEVON and her current band, Sixth & Third. She also runs the blog Rock Paper Music.

Her other writing ranges from feature screenplays to stage plays, to short stories, articles, and editorials.

Finally, arriving at #5 is Marianne Sciucco. An independent author of contemporary and young adult fiction, Sciucco writes about the lives of people struggling with health and family issues. "Blue Hydrangeas," her debut novel, centers on a man's relationship with his Alzheimer's-stricken wife. Her Y.A. work, meanwhile, includes "Swim Season," about an Olympic hopeful who tries to reconcile her competitive streak with her desire to fit in.

Sciucco has also published short stories in Kindle and audio formats. In addition, she is a founding member of AlzAuthors, a blog for authors writing about dementia. Its goal is to raise awareness of the disease while spotlighting books and resources for caregivers. When not writing, Sciucco works as a campus nurse and teaches classes at colleges in New York's Hudson Valley.