5 Female Authors Writing Eye-Opening Books

Female authors play an important role in the history of literature, exploring and advancing the realms of fiction, poetry, and beyond. Today, this proud tradition continues, with enlightening memoirs, novels, and short story collections regularly being published. Here, in no particular order, is a selection of women writers crafting insightful works.

Coming in at #1 is Juliette Kayyem. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Kayyem is a writer, academic, and business leader exploring the topic of American homeland security efforts. Previously, she held advisory roles to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and US Attorney General Janet Reno, as well as a position in the Department of Homeland Security during President Obama's administration.

As a writer, Kayyem penned "Security Mom," a book that mixes memoir and advice gleaned from her personal and professional experiences. She also has served as an editor for two collections of non-fiction essays. Elsewhere, Kayyem has published shorter articles in outlets such as The Atlantic and The Boston Globe; in 2013, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the commentary category.

In the #2 spot is Shaun Hunter. A writer and a historian, Hunter is the author of "Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers," which offers a literary exploration of Alberta's largest city. In 2020, she served as Historian in Residence at the Calgary Public Library.

Hunter's shorter work has appeared in numerous outlets including The Globe and Mail and Geist, while her essays have been published in collections such as "Embedded on the Home Front." Furthermore, she details the literary life of Calgary on her blog, highlighting the intersection of writing, history, and local places of interest. She has also curated an exhibit called Storied City, which was on display at Lougheed House.

At #3 is Maya Jewell Zeller. A poet and teacher, she is the author of the chapbook "Yesterday, the Bees," the collection "Rust Fish," and "Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts," a collaboration with the artist Carrie DeBacker. Her work explores topics such as climate change, early motherhood, and postpartum depression.

Zeller's poems have been published widely, in places like Bellingham Review, Rattle, and The Rumpus. In addition to writing, she has taught in many settings, serving as an assistant professor at Central Washington University, as well as conducting workshops through LiTFUSE, Post Falls Library, and Spark Central.

Coming in at #4 is Kelly McMasters. A graduate of Vassar and Columbia, this former bookshop owner specializes in nonfiction writing. In 2008, her book "Welcome to Shirley" was published, a blend of memoir and cultural history of her Long Island hometown. It later inspired "The Atomic States of America," a documentary film that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

As an essayist, McMasters has written on topics including beauty, loneliness, and motherhood, with work appearing in outlets such as The Paris Review and The American Scholar. As an editor, she helped compile the collection "This Is the Place," which explores women's notions of home. In the past, she has taught courses at NYU, Hofstra, and Franklin & Marshall.

Last but not least, at #5 is Amanda Curtin. At work across several genres, this author, based near Perth, writes fiction and nonfiction, edits books, and conducts workshops. Her novels include "Elemental," a sweeping historical tale in which an aging woman reflects on her life, and "The Sinkings," which centers on a grieving mother.

Curtin has also penned a collection of short stories entitled "Inherited," as well as "Kathleen O'Connor of Paris," a book of narrative nonfiction. She has been awarded the Western Australian Writer's Fellowship, and she explores all facets of the writing process on her blog "looking up/looking down."