I’m not a fan of feminism. Maybe because I could never really grasp the whole idea behind it. I really don’t understand it, and didn’t care enough to try. And frankly, I don’t believe in it. I don’t feel the need to label myself a feminist to get what I want. A bit of tantrum-throwing will do that for almost any girl. When the whole of my class went ga-ga over Paromita Vohra’s ‘Unlimited Girls’, I agreed with them just to not seem like a dunce.
But I guess, inside every woman, lives a feminist somewhere. The feminist inside me woke up when V.S. Naipaul (I won’t call him Sir) passed that famous comment a few days back, that he doesn’t consider any woman writer equal to him. And then followed a litany of comments by writers and authors calling him a cranky old man who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, nobody should take notice of him, etc. I haven’t read any of his books, so I can’t judge whether he’s a cranky old man who doesn’t know what he’s talking about or not, but that comment sure was derogatory. I guess coming from a man who’s been married twice, has had many affairs, and is known to have slept with sex workers, it’s not a surprise. Clearly, writing is not one of the talents he cares for in a woman. (I found this article about him quite interesting.)
So I thought, I’ll make a list of my favourite women writers, who are no less than any male writer (I don't even know why there should be a gender added before 'writer'. A writer is a writer, whatever gender they are):-
1) Enid Blyton- No one, EVER, can match up to her. Enough said.
2) Jhumpa Lahiri- only three books old, but each one a beauty.
3) Anita Nair- Another writer who can weave a fine tapestry of emotions and relationships with her words.
4) L. M. Montgomery- Only those who have read the Anne of Green Gables series can figure out why she’s there on my list.
5) Danielle Steele- Say what you may, but her books were a major part of my teenage years. It may be candy-floss, but I prefer candy-floss over blood and gore.
6) Jackie Collins- Yes yes, her books are like pulp fiction, with too much of sex in them. But she does know how to tell a story and keep the readers engaged. Also, her female characters and well-etched, be it the good ones or the bad ones.
7) Louisa May Alcott- Granted, I’ve read only ‘Little Women’ of hers. But that remains one of my most favourite books till date.
8) Harper Lee- She wrote “To kill a mockingbird’. Need I elaborate?
9) Linda Goodman- I know she doesn’t really fit in this list, but come on, who else can write about sun signs as delightfully as she does? She’ll make you fall in love with yourself, the way she describes your zodiac. And also, she’s given me the perfect alibi. If anyone criticizes me now for, well, being me, I say “I can’t help it, I’m a Virgo. That’s how we are.”
Edited to add:-
10) J.K. Rowling- For Harry Potter. God bless you.
I’ve left out on many. Can’t think of more right now. And there are a lot more powerhouse women writers, like Arundhati Roy (I haven’t read her works, except for half of God Of Small Things, so I can’t really comment), Tasleema Nasreen, Kamala Suraiyya, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, etc. They’re not on the list because they’re not exactly my favourites, and I haven’t read some of them.
P.S:-Would it be too terrible if I put my own name on the list? Will you guys pelt me with stones and make me ride on a donkey in the market-place wearing a garland of shoes (chose some good ones, if you’re planning to. I won’t wear a garland of torn old shoes)? Sigh.. I know I know…
Who are your favourite women writers?