6 Wildly Creative Female Novelists

Reading books from diverse perspectives can help open our minds and let us see things from new points of view. If you're looking to add some books written by women to your shelf, check out the authors listed here, who have written imaginative works in genres ranging from sci-fi to fantasy to thriller. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Talented Women Authors

Name Notable Works
Rosie Garland The Palace of Curiosities Vixen
Kellie Doherty Finding Hekate Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties
Emma Pullar Paper Dolls Skeletal
Arkady Martine A Memory Called Empire The Hydraulic Emperor
Kali Wallace The Memory Trees Salvation Day
Mary Anne Mohanraj The Stars Change A Feast of Serendib

Great Films Written & Directed by Women

8 Classic Works of Sci-Fi Written by Women

The contemporary authors listed here follow in a long tradition of women breaking barriers and writing great stories. If you're interested in the history of women in speculative fiction, check out these eight classic works:

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. Citadel of Fear by Gertrude Barrows Bennett
  3. Metropolis by Thea von Harbou
  4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  6. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  7. The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
  8. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

How Books Can Open Your Mind

In Depth

As the literary world expands to take into account a greater range of perspectives, an increasing number of talented female voices have begun to emerge. The realms of science fiction and fantasy, once largely dominated by male authors, have been enriched by an influx of women creating imaginative universes of their own. Presented here, in no particular order, are six noteworthy female writers crafting inventive fiction.

Starting off our list is #1, Rosie Garland, an author, poet, and performer working in the United Kingdom. Her first novel, The Palace of Curiosities, was published after winning the 2012 Mslexia Novel Competition; it tells the story of an unconventional romance against the backdrop of a freak show in seventeenth-century London. Her fiction frequently uses history and the supernatural to explore themes of identity and belonging, as in The Night Brother, a tale of a pair of siblings disjointed in time, or in Vixen, a book about superstition in the time of the Black Plague.

Along with her written works, Garland performs as a singer in the post-punk band The March Violets, and as a twisted cabaret artist under the name Rosie Lugosi, the Vampire Queen. She also stages satirical and feminist historical reenactments, as a member of the Time-Travelling Suffragettes. In 2019 she was named one of the UK's ten most outstanding LGBTQ writers by crime novelist Val McDermid, and she served as the 2018 to 2019 Writer-in-Residence at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England.

She also stages satirical and feminist historical reenactments, as a member of the Time-Travelling Suffragettes.

Following up at #2 is Kellie Doherty, a writer and publishing professional based out of Eagle River, Alaska. Her first experiences with storytelling involved creating fanfiction based on several beloved television and movie series, but she soon moved on to create worlds of her own. Her first novel, Finding Hekate, is a science fiction story of adventure and romance, which Doherty has followed with a sequel entitled Losing Hold.

Doherty has continued her passion for crafting engaging fictional universes with her Broken Chronicles series, set in a world of human beings mystically bonded to fantastical creatures. The first book in the series, Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties, tells the story of a group of night-dwelling warriors who must journey into the sunlight. Along with her novels, Doherty has contributed short stories for numerous venues, such as the inclusive genre fiction review Astral Waters Press and the queer sci-fi anthology Impact.

Coming in at #3 is Emma Pullar, a London novelist who has produced an eclectic blend of children's literature and dark adult fiction. She got her start as an author with a picture book called Curly from Shirley, created as part of a charity effort to raise money for New Zealand earthquake victims. Her first novel for adults was the dystopian thriller Skeletal, telling the story of a world ruled by a grotesque elite, which Pullar expanded into a duology with Avian, the sequel.

Her first novel for adults was the dystopian thriller Skeletal, telling the story of a world ruled by a grotesque elite, which Pullar expanded into a duology with Avian, the sequel.

As a writer and a reader, Pullar is drawn to the macabre, and she has contributed short stories to several horror anthologies. She has also delved into crime fiction with Paper Dolls, the tale of a group of friends who find themselves entwined in the world of a serial killer. Pullar also discusses the craft and business of writing for the Bang2write blog, covering topics from productivity strategies to grappling with negative reviews. And she offers her services as an editor and designer, as well as operating the publishing company Owl Light Media.

#4 on our list is Arkady Martine, the pen name under which Doctor AnnaLinden Weller crafts speculative fiction. She is the author of A Memory Called Empire, a novel of intrigue and mystery set in the heart of an enormous space-faring civilization, which combines elements of Mesoamerican dynasties and the Byzantine Empire. She has also written numerous short stories, many of which explore her fascinations with culture, spirituality, and history; examples include a fictional account of a mystic space traveler canonized as a saint, or a creation myth from a futuristic religion.

Martine's literary work is informed by her experience as a city planner; she serves as a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. Along with her fiction she writes about topics such as disaster response, real versus fictional catastrophes, and the craft of writing. She also produces literary criticism, with a particular focus on speculative fiction, and the ways that a culture's imaginary worlds reflect its preoccupations and preconceptions.

Martine's literary work is informed by her experience as a city planner; she serves as a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.

Next up at #5 is Kali Wallace. This California-based author creates science fiction, fantasy, and horror; her novels include Salvation Day, a futuristic thriller telling the story of a dormant pandemic awakened from an abandoned spaceship, and City of Islands, an adventure whose young heroine delves below the sea in search of magical secrets. She has also contributed short stories for publications including Asimov's Science Fiction, Bourbon Penn, and Three-lobed Burning Eye.

Wallace's writing often explores questions of recollection, history, and the aftermath of death. Her first published book, Shallow Graves, is a mystery told from the point of view of an undead murder victim, and her story The Memory Trees delves into the sinister past of an inherited family orchard. Through her blog, she discusses upcoming appearances and new releases of her work, as well as sharing insights on writing as an art and a profession. Wallace also releases a monthly newsletter for fans looking to stay up to date.

Concluding our overview at #6 is Mary Anne Mohanraj, a writer, speaker, and scholar living and working in Chicago. Her fiction ranges from speculative works like The Stars Change, a tale of war and sexuality set on a planet-spanning university, to Bodies in Motion, a short story collection examining the experiences of Sri Lankan immigrants. Mohanraj also shares the culinary legacy of her native culture through her recipe book A Feast of Serendib, as well as providing South Asian cooking tips through her kitchen blog.

Mohanraj also shares the culinary legacy of her native culture through her recipe book A Feast of Serendib, as well as providing South Asian cooking tips through her kitchen blog.

Mohanraj is the founder of the science fiction and fantasy magazine Strange Horizons, and the Executive Director of the South Asian arts organization DesiLit; she also runs the Speculative Literature Foundation, dedicated to supporting imaginative writing through grants and promotional activities. She serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction and literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her own stories have appeared in publications including Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Escape Pod. She has also edited the works of numerous other authors, including a volume of The WisCon Chronicles exploring the interaction of identities, and several collections of erotic storytelling.