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Search BookSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers | Did you know?  

20th Century Women's Fiction

Sappho contributed poems to the Classics. Hildegard of Bingen wrote plays and books that recorded visions, science, and philosophy in the Middle Ages. Ida B. Wells crusaded against lynching during Reconstruction. In our time, women writers abound.

Women's contributions to fiction in the Twentieth Century vary across genre and style. From the romance novel to children's stories, fiction written by women is a cultural staple. The works of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker are seldom overlooked in English courses or best-of lists. Virginia Woolf's work inspired other writers, artists, musicians and directors - male and female.

Despite these outstanding reputations, women writers still fight the assumption that their work is essentially "female." It remains true that novels written by women are read by women, and that women's fiction is not equally respected as part of the literary tradition.

Check out these sites to see how women have contributed to fiction in the 20th century:

  • 100 Great 20th Century Works
    This list was created in rebellion to the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, which included only 8 works written by women. The alphabetical roster includes amazing authors like Dorothy Allison and Willa Cather.

  • Celebration of Women Writers
    An exhaustive index of women writers who lived between 1901 and 2000, this site gives links to outside biographies, articles, and essays wherever possible. Great site for finding information on even the most obscure women writers.

  • Voices from the Gaps
    Searchable by name, birthplace, racial/ethnic background or significant dates, this comprehensive URL offers educational resources, Listserv discussions, calls for papers and background research bibliographies on women writers of color.

Sites dedicated to some essential authors from the 20th century:
  • Contemporary Women Writers
    This beautiful site offers the most complete information for Amy Tan, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Biographies include links to encyclopedias, personal homepages and official websites. Each work is highlighted by excerpts, interviews, reviews and essays. Links to many articles also make these sites the most user-friendly and comprehensive out there.

  • Isabel Allende
    The official site of this Chilean author of The House of Spirits offers summaries, reviews and links to international additions for all of her works. A complete biography, photo gallery and chronology add depth to this well-designed homepage.

  • Margaret Atwood Society
    The official fan club for casual and intellectual readers of this Canadian author maintains a thorough site, complete with information on Atwood events and conferences. In addition, it offers primary biographies and Internet resources for excerpts, reviews, and essays.

  • The International Virginia Woolf Society
    complete with listservs, news, and conferences, this webpage stands out for its exhaustive bibliography and links to everything Woolf. You'll find e-texts and e-journals, as well as links to other Woolf societies and Woolf Studies.

Fifty-four percent of all books sold are Romance Novels, overwhelmingly penned and read by women. You'll find more than sweet nothings at the following romance sites:
  • Subversion
    A celebration of romance novels written by women, this extensive site features discussion boards, reader reviews, author interviews and columns about this romantic genre.

  • Romance Writers of America
    Thinking of writing your own steamy love story? Check out this URL for listings of local chapters, awards and speakers sponsored by the RWA.

Itching to write your own book or short story? Check out Wylde Women. You'll find previously unpublished fiction and poetry by women writers. You can submit your own work, too.

   --- Nicole E. Magistro


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