Top 8 Best-Selling Female Authors You Should Know

Women have made major contributions in different sectors and industries worldwide.


The education and writing sector haven’t been left behind.

According to an article published on the Washington Post, Gay Talese, a New Journalism father and author, was asked his favorite women writers but answered “None.”

During a Boston University event, the author was asked to name female writers he finds most inspiring.


He was quick reply “none.”

Amy Littlefield, who was in the audience, reported that he even said “…educated women don’t like hanging out with people who’re anti-social.”

Afterwards, the Twitter handle #womengaytaleseshouldread took the internet by storm, suggesting top women authors for Talese to read.

Whether you’re in Talese’s shoes or just want other interesting female authors to read from, you’re in the right place.

Female writer typing using laptop keyboard at her workplace in the morning. Woman writing blogs online, side view close-up picture

Here’re top 8 best-selling women authors you’ll love to read from:

8 Inspiring Women Writers You Should Know

1. Doris Lessing

Born in 1919 and died in 2013, Doris Lessing is a popular author.

Her short story “Out of the Fountain” has inspired and touched the lives of many. She brings a new world into perspective and showcases psychological portraits in range, detail and depth.

She also explores survival and cataclysm in her works. With piercing acuity, she embraced sophistication in her writings, including old age, class, childhood, sex, politics’ inner workings and the psyche’s wilder shores.

Her mind-bolting writings are based on her experience and of those around her. Some good reads from this author include:

  • The Four-Gated City
  • Shikasta
  • The Golden Notebook

2. Ana White

Women are also increasingly into power tools and so is Ana White.

She runs a popular woodworking portal that’s been live for several years. She wrote the best-selling book “The Handbuilt Home.”

She provides instructions for building DIY play kitchens, console tables, sideboards, etc. She also gives a list of all the tools you’ll need and how to use them. Some power tools you’ll find in this list include:

  • Benchtop floor drill presses
  • Hammers
  • Nails
  • Saws

3. Ursula K Le Guin

Born in 1929, Guin wrote several popular books. She showcased satisfaction, poetry, realism, sadness, fantasy, and wisdom, all in her best-selling “Earthsea” trilogy.

Unlike most books in the same genre, the trilogy is well-written with far better dragons. She shows that there’s delight in life and death just has to be accepted.

Written with great focus and depth, this isn’t your go-to book if you’re looking for something with great humor. What’s more, it’s a good read for both adults and kids.

Her works are classic and timeless; they’ll remain relevant for many generations to come.

Other books to read include:

  • “Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here”
  • My Inspiration: SF Said on Ursula Le Guin
  • The Left Hand of Darkness

4. Toni Morrison

Born in 1931, Toni Morrison is another popular female writer and a favorite of many readers. The horror story, “Beloved” is one you can read over and over. Despite being filled with pain, difficulty and lots of chills, the book is brilliant and a must-read.

Her writing in the horror story makes you repulsive of your feelings and yet totally understand why. You continue to read to find out how the story unfolds.

Other top reads from Toni include:

  • 1993 Noble lecture
  • Tea with Toni Morrison
  • “I’m writing for black people…I don’t have to apologize” Hermione Hoby interview

5. Virginia Woolf

Born in 1882, Virginia died in 1941, having lived the life of a successful author of her time.

Virginia is remembered as a tasteful, lyrical and elegant writer. In Orlando, the protagonist who lived long begins as a young nobleman prior to getting married and becoming a mother.

Illustrating the position of women in the society, the funny and witty book runs from Elizabethan England down to 1928. Although some people see her as too “literary,” Virginia is among the top 20th century writers.

Other must-reads include:

  • The Waves
  • To the Lighthouse
  • Jacob’s Room
  • Orlando
  • A Room of One’s Own
  • Mrs. Dalloway
  • Woolf it down

6. Zadie Smith

This author was born in 1975 and published several best-selling books. “White Teeth” is an interesting read you can re-read several times.

Her books are usually grouped based on gender and race. Other interesting reads include:

  • On Beauty
  • Windows on the Will
  • Fail better

7. Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 and died in 1977.

Her life and writings lacked what would link her to the “Lady Novelist” stereotype, hence she’s considered a feminist. Typical of mystical and elusive writing, her books are focused on abstract ideas instead of characters and plots.

She’s proof that women aren’t restricted in subject matters like their male counterparts. Often seen as odd, her other top books include:

  • Agua Viva
  • The Apple in the Dark
  • The Hour of the Star – focuses on women’s experiences
  • “The Complete Stories” with interesting yet shocking surprises

Each inspiring story leaves her readers with different feelings. Her distinctly fluid writing style shows that she’s permissively poetic with a radical and perspicacious mind.

The feisty feminist author’s reveries are your perfect reads if you’re looking for books that embrace foibles and human flaws as normal, atop being written from the depths of your psyche.

Find the following books from the same author or about her:

  • The True Glamour of Clarice Lispector
  • Part 56 of a brief survey in the short story
  • Brazil’s Virginia Woolf

8. Margaret Atwood

Born in 1939, Margaret Atwood lived to be a popular, inspiring author. Her book “The Handmaid’s Tale” was more of a prediction into today’s happenings. The content of the book is scary but easy to figure out.

She describes how women received punishment for abortions, a typical example of a new legislation in the U.S.

Other readings include:

  • Margaret Atwood webchat
  • Haunted by The Handmaid’s Tale

“I set myself a schedule of 3 to 5 pages a day”