World Book Day: 10 Inspiring Female Authors

April 8, 2024

From genre-subverters to beloved storytellers, female authors and illustrators have significantly shaped the world of literature.

To this day, they continue to inspire young and older readers alike with their stories. On this World Book Day, why not celebrate their contributions in your learning spaces and encourage young readers to pick up a book and immerse themselves in a world of adventure and imagination.

Britannica’s Pick

10 Inspiring Female Authors in History

Look up each of these authors using Britannica to learn more about their life, work and accomplishments!

Jane Austen

From Pride & Prejudice to Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen’s stories often portray ordinary people in everyday life. Considered among the finest works in English literature, her writings gave the genre of the novel its modern character.

Jackie French

Beloved Australian author Jackie French wrote more than 200 books for children, young adults, and adults. Her work crossed a wide spectrum of genres, from picture books to fiction and non-fiction stories, and themes, such as conservation, history, wombats and even zombies!

May Gibbs

May Gibbs is an author and illustrator well-known for her children’s books about the Gumnut Babies. The Gumnut Babies are fantasy characters with large round eyes who live in the Australian bush. Since their introduction, they have become timeless classics in Australian children’s literature.

Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville wrote works of historical fiction that examined class, race, and gender in colonial and contemporary Australia. As one of Australia’s most celebrated novelists, her novel The Secret River was an international bestseller that captured the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2006.

Harper Lee

Harper Lee was the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel that explores racial injustice and prejudice in the American South. The book remains a classic of American literature, and continues to inspire generations of readers today.


Discover more inspiring female authors with Britannica

Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison was one of the most important voices in contemporary American literature. Her novels, including Beloved and Sula, explore themes of race, gender, and identity with grace and insight.

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was an English author and illustrator best known for her beloved children’s books featuring animal characters like Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Squirrel Nutkinare. Adored by generations of readers, her whimsical stories have been translated into many different languages.

Mary Shelley

The English Romantic writer Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is remembered primarily for her classic Gothic novel Frankenstein. The book is considered one of the pioneering works of science fiction, and gave birth to what was to become one of the Western world’s best-known monsters.

“Lady Murasaki Shikibu”

The writer of what is considered to be the single greatest work of Japanese literature was a woman who lived about 1,000 years ago. Murasaki Shikibu’s (real name unknown) The Tale of Genji is not only brilliant writing, but it is believed to be the world’s oldest full novel.

Amy Tan

Amy Tan is a notable literary figure whose bestselling books have generated widespread, multi-ethnic appeal. From novels and short stories to children’s books and essays, her writings often touch on complex themes, including her personal experiences growing up as a Chinese American.

Learning Activity

Celebrating Women’s Contributions to Literature

To celebrate incredible female authors on World Book Day, try this lesson plan featuring author study activities to help students explore their work and impact on literature and society.

Download Lesson Plan

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