First up, a few of my favourite books by female authors:
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg - a powerful book that really hammers home that you can do anything you put your mind to, glass ceilings be damned.
- We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - a book about the strength of a woman and about a family torn apart.
- The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld - I read this very recently, and it grabbed hold of me and still hasn't let go. Brutal, heartbreaking and so worth the read.
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - just a perfect, perfect read that is funny and nostalgic and sweet and hurts a little bit (but just a little).
- Sara from The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - one of my favourite books from childhood, I really wanted to be Sara.
- Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - kicks arse, sacrifices herself for her family, brave. What more can be said?
- Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - I guess Cinder or Scarlet would be the more obvious choices, but I like that Cress clearly goes from being a scared little girl to being a woman in her book, and that we see that development.
- Malala Yousafzai - seriously, she is amazing. If you haven't see it (and why not?) here's her speech to the UN.
- Hadley Freeman - my favourite fashion writer, she's got a sense of humour and I'll read just about anything by her, even if I'm not interested in the subject matter. Here's a link to her Guardian profile.
- Kate Mosse - one of the founders of the Women's Prize for Fiction, Mosse is one of the loveliest people I've ever interviewed, not to mention a brilliant writer.
Womankind has put together a list of books if you're doing a women's book group, and you can find them here.
For a bit of fun, why not take this Guardian quiz about the best fictional females in children's books?
I'd love to hear about your favourite female writers and characters, so let me know in the comments below.