> Skip to content

Article  •  2 March 2023

 

Female authors talk about the women writers who have inspired them

In honour of International Women’s Day, we asked female authors to talk about the women writers who have inspired them.

Celebrated on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating women. The day celebrates ‘the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women’ and is a ‘call to action for accelerating gender parity.’

In honour of IWD 2023, we caught up with some female authors to learn about the women writers who have inspired, impressed and impacted them. Read on to find out their favourites.

Maria Thattil headshot.

Maria Thattil

Glennon Doyle is a female author who has inspired awe with her candour, grit and vision. Reading Untamed was a galvanising exercise in recognising those aforementioned qualities in myself. In sharing her wake-up call, Glennon has woken up many - and has inspired me in my work to do the same.

 

Kerry McGinnis headshot.

Kerry McGinnis

Mary Stewart, whom I read back in the sixties, was a great inspiration to me. I wanted to be able to write as lucidly and with the beautiful descriptive sentences she seemed to achieve so effortlessly. I remember being delighted with her description of a hilltop castle that sat ‘like a crown on a crag above the meeting waters.’ She wrote a mixture of mystery, romance and mythology and I can still read her works with pleasure. Not always the case after a long span of years.

Jodie Picoult is another favourite of mine, mainly for the cleverness of her plots. The moral dilemmas she poses seem impossible to resolve. I cannot second guess where she is going with them, and that is the hallmark of a great storyteller. But in the end, the apparently impossible situations of her protagonists are settled in unexpected ways, often leaving that aftertaste of pity and resignation that is a factor of life and the more believable for it. Like — yes, the hero had to die or the story is incomplete. We mourn the necessity while appreciating the closure it brings. She writes brilliantly about family interactions and the misunderstandings that can arise from them.

 

Ali Walker headshot.

Ali Walker

If I reflect on the early sparks that books ignited in me, it is Ann M Martin (author of The Babysitter's Club series) and Judy Blume that come to mind. These are the women who focused on everyday, ordinary female experiences in their work that mirrored my own. These authors were pioneers of a movement that we now take for granted; creating stories that focus on young female protagonists and female supporting characters. These stories inspired me to feel like I could be the main character in my life. This was a message I was given at home, but to have it reflected in the stories I read provided double the impact.

 

Kirstin Ferguson headshot.

Kirstin Ferguson

The list of women authors who have inspired me is long and diverse, full of brilliant women with something to say or observe in the world. In particular, I love the work of Charlotte Wood who has such a keen eye for the lived experience of women and the nuances and depth of female friendships which might otherwise be overlooked.

 

Kylie Ladd headshot.

Kylie Ladd

Toni Jordan has long been the writer I hoped to be when I grew up because her books are so sharp, so witty, so clever, but never, ever at the expense of heart. She has that rare combination of a keen eye and a generous soul.

 

Candice Fox headshot.

Candice Fox

I was a huge Anne Rice fan during my teenage years. Her work was so escapist, and so broody - exactly what I needed as an alternative and melodramatic sort of kid. When I was coming up as an author and desperately trying to climb that mountain I wrote to several authors, and Anne answered. It was a simple note just telling me to keep on, and it was the light from above that I needed. You’ll see a lot of her influence in my early work; those vampy, gothic leanings.

 

Amanda Hampson headshot.

Amanda Hampson

I had been an aspiring novelist most of my life when I read Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Her joy of writing was evident from the opening description of the smell of ‘hot greasy pancakes’ and ‘powdery-sweet waffles’ amid the carnival confetti. It was the pursuit of that ‘joy’ that convinced me to finally begin my own novel.

 

While you're here, check out the best New Years resolutions of inspiring women .

Featured Titles

Untamed
Who were you before the world told you who to be? When women learn to please they forget who they are. Part inspiration, part memoir, Untamed will help all women dare to live a braver, authentic life. From the #1 NYT bestselling author of Love Warrior.
Read more
Chocolat
TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY REISSUE OF JOANNE HARRIS' BELOVED BESTSELLER, with new introduction and first chapter from the new Vianne Rocher Novel, The Strawberry Thief (Gollancz April 19)
Read more

More features

See all
Article
Better Reading’s Top 100 books of 2024 announced

Penguin Random House is proud to have twenty-four titles on the list this year.

Article
Penguin Noir is back with two events in 2024

Learn about two exciting Penguin Random House author showcases this August!

Article
Mini-me reads for mums and kids this Mother’s Day

Read by example this Mother’s Day with these book duos, perfect for mums and their children.

Article
Meet the characters from The Tea Ladies

Meet the tea ladies from Amanda Hampson’s Tea Ladies series.

Article
Candice Fox explains how she gleaned insight from real firefighters for her upcoming novel

The author shares how she approached New York firefighters and what she learned from them while researching for Devil’s Kitchen.

Article
Some of the most anticipated books of 2024

From authors including Rachael Johns, Amor Towles, Leigh Bardugo and so many others!

Article
Didn't get to Europe this year? These 3 books will transport you there

Revisit three Amanda Hampson books to experience European summer from the comfort of your living room.

Article
4 of the best Australian Outback crime novels of 2023

Australian crime fiction is having a moment; see the new books to have on your radar in 2023.

Article
Award-winning and shortlisted books of 2023

Discover some of the best Penguin Random House books of 2023 with this list of award-winning and shortlisted titles this year.

Book clubs
Untamed book club notes

Take your book club on a journey of self-discovery, with Glennon Doyle’s famed Untamed.

Book clubs
The Cryptic Clue book club questions

The second book in The Tea Ladies series is a fun mystery to read with your book club.

News
Penguin Random House AU celebrates first-ever Penguin Noir event

On 9 August 2023, Penguin Random House AU hosted our first-ever in-house author event for Penguin Noir: A Crime Author Showcase.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles