June 7, 2011

Not-so-Little Women

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?


  1. C.O.O.L!!!!i luvd it Divya!!! Enid blyton is one of my favourites..I was never a natural born reader...and enidblyton's writings did the trick for me...That was the time when I entered the wonderful world of BOOKS and discovered the Magic of Enid Blyton :)..n now u r also there in the list of my favourite authors...:)..n i completely agree with u "A writer is a writer, whatever gender they are):-)"..anyways keep up the gud work divya..

  2. http://blog.livemint.com/livelounge/naipaul-women-writers-and-what-it-means-to-be-unequal/

    Was reading this, when I came across your post :)

    I would add a few more names to that list

    J.K Rowling for creating Harry Potter!!( After Tolkien, i havnt come across anyone so meticulous with such eye-for-detail, in creating a completely new world.

    And my recent Fav would be Elizabeth Gilbert.

    Your name will soon be on the list sweetheart!! All in good time ;)

  3. @Rohith: Thank you! :)

    @Dewdrop: Ayyo!! How could I forget J.K.Rowling??!! I'll edit and add her. Allengil enikku Harry Potter-dosham kittum. :p

  4. Many good women writers out there..hard to name just a few. Recently picked up one of Kamila Shamsie's books and loved her style of writing.

  5. Well written my girl and excellent title!
    I wish some other little girl in future will include your name in her blog about favorite writers.

  6. @Andaleeb: I shall check out her book. :) By the way, when is Blinkers Off coming out?

    @Sita Chechi: If wishes were horses... :) Thanks chech..

  7. My all time favorite... Maha Shwetha Devi... Didi's style of writing is quite unmatchable... Try and get your hands on 'Our non-Veg cow and other short stories' there is a side to her that is not very well known... :)

  8. @Abhinava: I think I've read some of her works in school and college, in Hindi. Shall check out the story you've mentioned. That's a very catchy title. :)

  9. Jaishree Misra. She is, by far, one of my most favorite women writers in India. Dragging that her books sometimes tend to be, she establishes her characters and portrays their emotions very well.

  10. My all-time favorite writers had been women, and as a writer, I make this statement consciously, The writer-mind is feminine, rather sounding like a sexist, I would put it this, it takes a feminine mind to look at the nuances of things and then portray them with a healthy attitude and a positive out look

    P.S> Have heard a lot about Anne of green gables from you and thush, ordered it, got the copy too, about to start! now reading Fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe! must read novel and must see movie too.

  11. Enid Blyton, yay! She's wonderful. I should thank her for my entire childhood. God bless her! And yes, all the others there except for Jackie Collins for I haven't read her words yet. 'Emily Bronte' and 'Charlotte Bronte' deserve a place in that list there. They're beautiful writers and also 'Jane Austen' :)

  12. @DawnZhang: Even I've heard a lot about the Bronte sisters, but haven't yet gotten around to reading them *bows head in shame*.

    And I'm reading a Famous Five now. Couldn't resist myself from picking one up at the bookstore the other day. :)

  13. i think females are more expressive when it comes to emotions in their writing which in NO way makes them inferior.its just that the writing styles are different.my favorite will be agatha cristie.wonder why she s missing from the list

  14. @maniac.hunter: To be honest,I've never been a fan on Agatha Christie. I've read a couple of her books, but didn't take a particular liking to it. But it goes without saying that she is one of the best mystery writers ever. :)


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