The Literary Coven's female author recommendations

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International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The campaign theme of 2021 is 'Choose To Challenge' which brought together the members of UoBD’s Book Club; The Literary Coven, to look at the contribution of women in literature and share their recommendations of female authors. 

Our members Rhea, Betty, Pranati, Hanan, Isra, and I (Zoha) myself, as the President of the club, would like to give you an insight into how multiple women authors have challenged our ways of thinking and positively shaped us into who we are today.

Rhea Bhatnagar recommends the work of Kate Raworth who is an economist and author of Doughnut Economics. Rhea states that ‘it's a really interesting read and it's honestly changed the way I look at economics quite a bit.’ Another recommendation is Anna Sewell's Black Beauty which is a great book that tackles animal exploitation in a unique way.’

Betelhem Daniel Wolde talks fondly about her favourite female author of all time, Jacqueline Wilson. ‘I discovered her books when I was in elementary & as dramatic as this sounds - she changed my outlook of the world. Till then I had only been reading books with happy endings and cliche lessons, but she was able to integrate the concept of tragedy & heartbreak into stories aimed for pre-teens & teens while still delivering the excitement, unpredictability & phenomenal storytelling we would expect from books at that age. It helped me normalize the idea of going through a difficult time & that not everything was always peaches & cream.

Pranati Prakash shares with us two of her favourite authors; Nicola Yoon and Angie Thomas. Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also A Star is one of Pranati’s favorite books which mainly focuses on Daniel and Natasha and their universe. It has a unique blend of science and the philosophical/spiritual world and how everything in life is related to every other thing. Angie Thomas’s ‘the hate u give’ is another recommendation that looks at racism that still very much exists in society and how different people react to it.

Hanan El Sherif recommends one of her favourite authors Agatha Christie; a world-famous mystery novelist, whose books Hanan reads in Arabic translation. She says “The reason why I like her books is because I don’t usually read a lot of books in Arabic but with her books I just felt addicted to reading. I never really liked crime before but after reading her books I fell in love with crime as a genre and I’ve been reading crime ever since. The person who encouraged me to read her books is my dad. He used to read them as a child and brought me a collection of about 20 of her books!”

Isra Iqbal looks back at where it all began - ‘my love for reading, interest in the dystopian fictions and the curiosity that kept growing within me’. Back in 2014, I distantly recall going to watch a then-newly released movie 'Divergent' at the cinemas on a holiday. It was an impromptu decision, so I hadn't really had the opportunity to watch its trailer either, but dare I say, it had to be one of the best decisions I have ever made! The cliffhanger at the end of the movie didn't let me be at peace for the next couple of hours and so the first thing I did when I reached home is surf the web for any piece of information I could grab. Needless to say, I was not going to wait for another year to know more about the story, and then for the first time in my life I voluntarily read the whole book- and finished it in less than 24 hours. 

After reading the 'Divergent' trilogy by Veronica Roth, I then read Marie Lu's works beginning from 'The Young Elites' trilogy, the 'Legend' series all the way till the 'Warcross' duology. Without a doubt, both Veronica Roth and Marie Lu threw me into their dystopian settings and militarized futures which unexpectedly felt more welcoming than reality. They are both my heroes who just happen to be authors too!

Lastly, I, Zoha Fatima, the President of The Literary Coven would like to share a few of my favourite authors who have given books that have been a source of inspiration and strength for me; something which we really need during these tough times. My favourite author has to be Colleen Hoover, her work is heartbreakingly beautiful. Through finishing her books in one sitting and lots of tears, I’d say that each of the stories she gives us readers is unique and truly reaches our hearts. I adore her books; especially Maybe Someday, Confess, It Ends With Us, and Ugly Love. The themes of her books tackle abuse, death, loss, poverty to name a few while also teaching us to fight for ourselves even when things get tough and chasing after our dreams. 

Another author whose work I’d recommend would be Elif Shafak. Her work is so well written and insightful. She is the author of the best-selling novels Honor, The Forty Rules Of Love, and The Three Daughters Of Eve. Her books are a window to Turkish literature which educates us about Turkish culture, religion, historical fiction, and spirituality. These books are not only uplifting and inspiring, but they become a part of you and change the way you perceive things around you, and make you want to stand against injustice.

To come to a conclusion, we hope that through our recommendations, we were able identify, celebrate and increase visibility of women's achievements and roles in literature which has drastically evolved throughout history providing our generation with strong independent women to look upto along with a vast array of ethnic and cultural perspectives.

Photo credit from Unsplash @mathildelangevin 

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