Last Sunday I thought I'd tweet all the female authors I'd listed on the back of my Cartes de Voeux with the hashtag #readwomen2014.
I started wondering whether tweeting the entire list might bore readers, or seem too polemical, but it turned out everyone who read was happy to see it, and keen to add favourite writers. Several people asked me to publish the whole list, so here it is.
My own list, in no particular order:
Eimear McBride, Clarice Lispector, Deborah Levy, Sheila Heti, Lydia Davis, Marguerite Duras, Wislawa Szymborska, Maggie Nelson, Djuna Barnes, Anais Nin, Jane Bowles, Marguerite Yourcenar, Hannah Arendt, Ann Quin, Bessie Head, Denise Riley, Sharon Olds, Kate Clanchy, Olivia Laing, Lauren Elkin, Elif Batuman, Elena Ferrante, Carol Anne Duffy, Lorrie Moore, Angela Carter, Joanna Walsh, Leonora Carrington, Anne Carson, Muriel Spark, Elfriede Jelinek, Jean Rhys, Tania Hershman, Jilly Cooper, Ann Rower, Gillian Rose, Zelda Fitzgerald, Christina Rossetti, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Renata Adler, Simone de Beauvoir, Claude Cahun, Marie Darrieussecq, Eleanor Catton, Maya Angelou, Evie Wyld, Tsitsi Dangarembga Lilia Momple, Olive Schreiner, Helen Oyeyemi, Doris Lessing, Katie Kitamura, Isak Dinesen, Nadine Gordimer, Ali Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Joan Didion, Nancy Houston, Marie NDiaye, bell hooks, Anne Enright, Jenny Diski, Shere Hite Janet Malcolm, Amelie Nothomb, Jean Binta Breeze, Gertrude Stein, Kathy Acker, Joyce Carol Oates, Nora Ephron, Hilary Mantel, Maria Edgeworth, Penelope Mortimer, Chris Kraus, Murasaki Shikibu, Christa Wolf, Emily Gould, Kay Boyle Meike Ziervogel, Bettina von Arnim, Christine Brooke-Rose, Christine de Pizan, Simone de Beauvoir, Kate Chopin, Katherine Mansfield, Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Bronte, Dorothy Parker, Emily Bronte, Katherine Jamieson, Sylvia Plath, Anne Bronte, Dawn Powell, Andrea Dworkin, Jennifer Egan, Helen de Witt, Chloe Aridjis, Clare Wigfall, Paula Fox, Marilyn French, Aimee Bender, Elisabeth Gaskell, A M Homes, Lilian Hellman, Anita Loos, Masha Tupitsyn, Agatha Christie Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Bernstein, Fred Vargas, Patricia Highsmith, Tove Jansson, Alison Bechdel, Alice Munro, Carol Shields, ZZ Packer, Cynthia Ozick, Shulamith Firestone, Ruth Ozecki, Terry Castle, Julie Doucet, Marilynne Robinson, Colette, Roxane Gay, Virginia Woolf, Jo Shapcott, Gertrude Stein, Lionel Shriver, Annie Proulx, Eva Eva Figes, Helene Cixous, Luce Irigaray, Nathalie Sarraute, Luisa Valenzuela, Anne Garetta, Jenni Fagan, Adelle Stripe, Maggie Gee, Kelley Swain, Rosa Rankin-Gee, Rachel Genn, Jean Hannah Edelstein, Susan Howe, Maud Newton, Susan Barbour, Rachael Allen, Elisa Gabbert, Cari Luna, Olivia Heal, Emily Berry, Nancy Frend, Katherine Angel, AJ Ashworth, AL Kennedy, Susana Medina, Margaret Atwood, Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zadie Smith, Helen Simpson, Sappho, Naomi Klein, Alison Lurie, Rosamond Lehmann, Naomi Wolf, Pauline Kael, Naomi Alderman, Jeanette Winterson, Claire Harman, Susan Sontag, Edith Wharton, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Gail Scott, Stella Gibbons, Irène Némirovsky, Véronique Olmi, Catherine Millet, Violette LeDuc, Natalie Clifford Barney, Susan Deitch, Françoise Sagan, Martha Nussbaum, Kjersti Skomsvold, Micheline Marcom, Brigid Brophy, Dorothy Nelson, Laura Pavel, Olive Moore, Alix Cleo Roubaud, Penelope Lively, Juliet Jacques, Christine Schutt, Mary Gaitskill, Ornela Vorpsi, Marguerite Young, Lindsay Hunter, Edith Pearlman, Tessa Hadley, Herta Muller, Yoko Ogawa, Nicola Barker, Barbara Pym, Dorothy Whipple, Elisabeth Bowen, Ursula leGuin, Eavan Boland, Adrienne Rich, Fanny Howe Vita Sackwille West, Marie Calloway, Zoe Pilger, Laura Oldfield Ford, Judith Butler, Jacqeline Rose, Rebecca Solnit, Nina Barberova, Coral Bracho, Can Xue, Madame de Lafayette, HD, Thalia Field, Adele Geras, Qurratulain Hyder, Linda Le, Luljeta Lleshanaku, Mary MacLane, Joan Taylor, Justine Levy, Elaine Showalter, Banana Yoshimoto, Lore Segal, Vanessa Gebbie, Deborah Eisenberg, Dorothy Richardson, Susie Mcguire, Dorothy L Sayers, Elia Gabbert, Julia Kristeva, Isabelle de Charriere
That's all the names that would fit on the back of my cards - but here are contributions from everyone else - some I know already, others I'll be looking up - and hope you will too.
Claire Fontaine, Sophie Colins, Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Wollstonecraft, Claire Tomalin, Sue Prideaux, Sarah Kane, Yazmina Reza, Lisa Robertson, Mela Hartwig, Julia Calver, Assia Djebar, Sahar Khalifeh, Miral al-Tahawy, Radwa Ashour, Najwa Barakat, Huda Barakat, Hanan al-Shaykh, Etel Adnan, Ahdaf Soueif, Bernadette Mayer, Diane Williams, Alice Notley, Lisa Jarnot, Rebecca Wolff, Anne Waldman, Natalie Diaz, Dorianne Laux, Muriel Rukeyser, Camille Dungy, Jane Hirshfield, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Ann Bogle, Rosmarie Waldrop, Anne-Marie Albiach, Jena Osman, Eileen Myles, Juliana Spahr, Olenka Kalytiak Davis, Simone Weil, Jung Chang, Ada Cambridge, Christina Stead, Gwen Harwood, Marguerite Young, Margaret Cavendish, Metta Sáma, Rachel Moritz, Arlene Kim, Jonterri Gadson, Jane Wong, Gillian Sze, Vanessa Ramos, Valerie Wetlaufer, TJ Jarrett, Polly Atkin, Michelle Baillat-Jones, Rachelle Cruz, Nancy Campbell, Stephanie N Johnson, Katrina Vandenberg, Ada Limón, Lightsey Darst, Kate Zambreno Lucille Clifton Jane Mead Anu Tuominen Kathryn Davis Kathryn Kysar Anna George Meek, Éireann Lorsung, Emily Critchley, Maggie O'Sullivan, Geraldine Monk, Tamarinn Norwood, Holly Pester, Emma Bennett, Claire Potter, Sun Yung Shin, Ai, Tracy K. Smith, C.D. Wright, Darcie Dennigan, Jean Webster, Louisa M. Alcott, Susan Coolidge, Judith Kerr, Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, Michelle Magorian, Edna O'Brien, Jacqueline Susann, Arundhati Roy, Anne Tyler, nnie Ernaux, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Alejandra Pizarnik, Amaranth Borsuk, Anne Boyer, Kate Durbin, Lorine Neidecker, Sandra Simonds, Laura Soloman, Megan Burns, Beatrice Hitchman, Sarah Ridgard, Mette Jacobsen, K H Worsley, Katharine Bradley & Edith Cooper, Sophie Robinson, Sophie Mayer, Ashley Ford, Laura van den Berg, Laura Celeste, Alice Bolin, Gina Abelkop, Niina Pollari, Leigh Stein, Wendy C Ortiz, Jan Morris, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Kathleen Jamie, Isabel Fraire, Valentine Dobrée, Lalage Pulvertaft, Irene Handl, Ethel Mannin, Inez Holden, Iris Barry, Amabel Williams-Ellis, Bhanu Kapil, Carla Harryman, Vanessa Place, Leslie Scalapino, Carole Maso, Dodie Bellamy, Kate Durbin, Unica Zürn, Eva Švankmajerová, Natasza Goerke, Olga Tokarczuk, Rosario Castellanos, Teffi, Tatyana Tolstaya, Maude Hutchins, Dubravka Ugresic, Lydia Zinovieva-Annibal, Ithell Colquhun, Barbara Comyns, Aphra Behn, Caryl Churhill, Anne Duden, Marlene Streeruwitz, Christine Lavant, Elizabeth Jennings, Liune Sutema, Marianne Fritz, Ene Mihkelson, Bettina Galvagni, Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and M. F. K. Fisher, Mary Butts, Muriel Jaeger, Sarah Coulson, Rosemary Tonks, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Eugenia Ginzburg, Joanna Scott, Jonterri Gadson, Ivy Alvarez, Nin Andrews, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Patricia Clark, Ariella Ruth, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Hardwick, Winifred Holtby, Vera Brittain, Stevie Smith, Maeve Brennan, Kathy Fish, Myfanwy Collins, Tayari Jones, Katherine Chung, Alyssa Harad, Mary Karr, Ellis Avery, Cheryl Strayed, Marina Tsvetaeva, Anna Banti, Jenny Erpenbeck, Mary Lavin, Rachel Ingalls, Margiad Evans, Margaret Irwin, Jane Gardam, E. M. Delafield. May Sinclair, Dorothea Tanning, Else Lasker-Schüler, Lola Ridge, Ada Verdun Howell, Louise Glück, Maxine W. Kumin, Hsia Yü, Sappho, Anna Kamienska, Anna Akhmatova, Kiki Dimoula, Maxine Hong Kingston, Carson McCullers, Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler, Nella Larsen, Anita Desai, Helene Cixous, Rose Tremain, Stevie Smith, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Dorothy Allison, A.S. Byatt, Lou Andreas-Salome, Liane de Pougy, Grazia Deledda & Selma Lagerlof, Sigrid Undset, Miles Franklin, Willa Cather, Alice Walker, Anna Mahler, Isabelle Eberhardt, Agota Kristof, Ingeborg Bachmann, Rosalind Belben, Sarah Kofman, Anna Kavan, Carole Maso, Emmy Bridgewater, Meret Oppenheim, Greta Knutson, Morag Joss, Cookie Mueller, Yvonne Okwiri, Yewande Omotoso, Sefi Atta, Nnedi Okorafor, Taiye Selasi, Chibundu Onuzo, Janet Frame, Isobel Dixon, Rae Armantrout, Monique Wittig, C.J. Cherryh, Patti Smith, LeAnne Howe, Joy Harjo, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Shirley Jackson, Amy Tan, Fanny Burney, Anne Radcliffe, Margaret Fuller, Janet Campbell Hale, Paula Gunn Allen, Louise Erdrich, nila northSun, Diane Glancy, Winona LaDuke, Wendy Rose, Amy Levy, Susanna Rowson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Eliza Haywood, Delarivier Manley, Grace Krilanovich, Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginsburg, Emma Donoghue, Cora Sandel, Rikki Ducornet, Lilit Marcus
Too many contributors to thank individually but... thanks! If I've missed an author name you'd like to see here, please add it in the comments box.
(I'd like to preserve the original list in all its disorganisation, but add this version, alphbetized and with new names added, by The Modern Novel - very grateful, thanks!)
Gina Abelkop, Leila Aboulela, Evelyne Accad, Kathy Acker, Kim Addonizio, Renata Adler, Etel Adnan, Milena Agus, ,Ai, Anna Akhmatova, Hanan al-Shaykh, Miral al-Tahawy, Anne-Marie Albiach, Louisa M. Alcott, Naomi Alderman, Monica Ali, Rachael Allen, Isabel Allende, Dorothy Allison, Ivy Alvarez, Julia Alvarez, Tahmima Anam, Jessica Anderson, Lou Andreas-Salome, Nin Andrews, Katherine Angel, Maya Angelou, Hannah Arendt, Chloe Aridjis, Rae Armantrout, Radwa Ashour, Sylvia Ashton-Warner, AJ Ashworth, Polly Atkin, Kate Atkinson, Sefi Atta, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, Ellis Avery, Ingeborg Bachmann, Michelle Baillat-Jones, Anna Banti, Huda Barakat, Najwa Barakat, Nina Barberova, Susan Barbour, Nicola Barker, Pat Barker, Djuna Barnes, Iris Barry, Elif Batuman, Ann Beattie, Alison Bechdel, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Aphra Behn, Rosalind Belben, Farida Belghoul, Dodie Bellamy, Gioconda Belli, Aimee Bender, Emma Bennett, Stella Benson, Michelle Bernstein, Emily Berry, Louky Bersianik, Calixthe Beyala, Elizabeth Bishop, Marie-Claire Blais, Judy Blume, Ann Bogle, Eavan Boland, Alice Bolin, Isabel Bolton, María Luisa Bombal, Ginevra Bompiani, Amaranth Borsuk, Carmen Boullosa, Nina Bouraoui, Elisabeth Bowen, Jane Bowles, Karin Boye, Anne Boyer, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Kay Boyle, Coral Bracho, Katharine Bradley, Christianna Brand, Jean Binta Breeze, Maeve Brennan, Emmy Bridgewater, Vera Brittain, Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Christine Brooke-Rose, Brigid Brophy, Pam Brown, Marta Brunet, NoViolet Bulawayo, Fanny Burney, Megan Burns, Judith Butler, Octavia Butler, Mary Butts, A.S. Byatt, Toni Cade Bambara, Claude Cahun, Hortense Calisher, Marie Calloway, Julia Calver, Ada Cambridge, Nancy Campbell, Janet Campbell Hale, Vahni Capildeo, Leonora Carrington, Anne Carson, Angela Carter, Rosario Castellanos, Ana Castillo, Terry Castle, Willa Cather, Eleanor Catton, Margaret Cavendish, Laura Celeste, Alice Ceresa, Jung Chang, C.J. Cherryh, Kate Chopin, Agatha Christie, Katherine Chung, Caryl Churhill, Fausta Cialente, Sandra Cisneros, Hélène Cixous, Kate Clanchy, Patricia Clark, Natalie Clifford Barney, Lucille Clifton, Colette, Merle Collins, Sophie Collins, Myfanwy Collins, Ithell Colquhun, Barbara Comyns, Maryse Condé, Evelyn Conlon, Susan Coolidge, Edith Cooper, Jilly Cooper, Sarah Coulson, Emily Critchley, Rachelle Cruz, Catherine Cusset, Susan Daitch, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Edwidge Danticat, Marie Darrieussecq, Lightsey Darst, Elizabeth David, Kathryn Davis, Lydia Davis, Simone dBeauvoir, Alba de Céspedes, Isabelle de Charrière, Michelle de Kretser, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Madame de Lafayette, Christine de Pizan, Liane de Pougy, Helen de Witt, Susan Deitch, E. M. Delafield., Grazia Deledda, Darcie Dennigan, Anita Desai, Agnès Desarthe, Natalie Diaz, Emily Dickinson, Joan Didion, Kiki Dimoula, Isak Dinesen, Jenny Diski, Isobel Dixon, Assia Djebar, Valentine Dobrée, Emma Donoghue, Hilda Doolittle, Julie Doucet, Ellen Douglas, Daphne du Maurier, Rikki Ducornet, Anne Duden, Carol Anne Duffy, Lois Duncan, Camille Dungy, Thu Huong Duong, Marguerite Duras, Kate Durbin, Kate Durbin, Andrea Dworkin, Isabelle Eberhardt, Jean Hannah Edelstein, Zee Edgell, Maria Edgeworth, Yvette Edwards, Jennifer Egan, Deborah Eisenberg, Kaori Ekuni, George Eliot, Rhian Elizabeth, Lauren Elkin, Anne Enright, Nora Ephron, Milena Ercolani, Louise Erdrich, Annie Ernaux, Jenny Erpenbeck, Laura Esquivel, Carrie Etter, Margiad Evans, Regina Ezera, Jenni Fagan, Fadia Faqir, MJ Farrell, Alison Fell, Elena Ferrante, Thalia Field, Karen Fielding, Eva Figes, Shulamith Firestone, Kathy Fish, M F K Fisher, Zelda Fitzgerald, Claire Fontaine, Ashley Ford, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Karen Joy Fowler, Paula Fox, Isabel Fraire, Chantal Fraïsse, Janet Frame, Julia Franck, Miles Franklin, Marilyn French, Nancy Frend, Marianne Fritz, Margaret Fuller, Elisa Gabbert, Jonterri Gadson, Mary Gaitskill, Bettina Galvagni, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Jane Gardam, Anne Garetta, Maha Gargash, Elena Garro, Elisabeth Gaskell, Roxane Gay, Vanessa Gebbie, Maggie Gee, Rachel Genn, Adele Geras, Sylvie Germain, Teolinda Gersão, Stella Gibbons, Eugenia Ginzburg, Natalia Ginzburg, Diane Glancy, Ellen Glasgow, Louise W. Glück, Natasza Goerke, Yasmine Gooneratne, Nadine Gordimer, Caroline Gordon, Déwé Gorodé, Emily Gould, Barbara Gowdy, Patricia Grace, Almudena Grandes, Linda Grant, Jane Grigson, Charlotte Grimshaw, Lauren Groff, Kirsty Gunn, Paula Gunn Allen, Xiaolu Guo, Hella Haasse, Katharina Hacker, Tessa Hadley, Sarah Hall, Irene Handl, Alyssa Harad, Elizabeth Hardwick, Joy Harjo, Claire Harman, Ann Harries, Jane Harris, Joanne Harris, Carla Harryman, Mela Hartwig, Gwen Harwood, Marlen Haushofer, Eliza Haywood, Bessie Head, Bessie Head, Olivia Heal, Lilian Hellman, Kerstin Hensel, Tania Hershman, Sheila Heti, Patricia Highsmith, Jane Hirshfield, Beatrice Hitchman, Shere Hite, Robin Hobb, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Inez Holden, Winifred Holtby, A M Homes, Maxine Hong Kingston, bell hooks, Gisèle Hountondji, Deborah Howe, Fanny Howe, LeAnne Howe, Susan Howe, Lindsay Hunter, Nancy Huston, Maude Hutchins, Qurratulain Hyder, Qurratulain Hyder, Rachel Ingalls, Luce Irigaray, Margaret Irwin, Shelley Jackson, Shirley Jackson, Mette Jacobsen, Juliet Jacques, Muriel Jaeger, Svava Jakobsdóttir, Kathleen Jamie, Katherine Jamieson, Tove Jansson, Lisa Jarnot, TJ Jarrett, Elfriede Jelinek, Elizabeth Jenkins, Elizabeth Jennings, Nora Johnson, Stephanie N Johnson, Gail Jones, Tayari Jones, Morag Joss, Rachel Joyce, Pauline Kael, Olenka Kalytiak Davis, Anna Kamienska, Sarah Kane, Bhanu Kapil, Mary Karr, Anna Kavan, Joanna Kavenna, Molly Keane, AL Kennedy, Judith Kerr, Sahar Khalifeh, Kate Kilalea, Arlene Kim, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver, Katie Kitamura, Naomi Klein, Greta Knutson, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Sarah Kofman, Chris Kraus, Nicole Krauss, Grace Krilanovich, Julia Kristeva, Agota Kristof, Maxine Kumin, Rachel Kushner, Goretti Kyomuhendo, Kathryn Kysar, Madeleine L'Engle, Anne-Marie La Fère, Winona LaDuke, Carmen Laforet, Selma Lagerlof, Jhumpa Lahiri, Olivia Laing, Norah Lange, Nella Larsen, Else Lasker-Schüler, Camille Laurens, Dorianne Laux, Christine Lavant, Mary Lavin, Linda Le, Violette LeDuc, Michele Leggott, Ursula LeGuin, Rosamond Lehmann, Agnes Lehoczky, Doris Lessing, Amy Levy, Deborah Levy, Justine Levy, Ada Limón, Clarice Lispector, Penelope Lively, Luljeta Lleshanaku, Anita Loos, Éireann Lorsung, Lois Lowry, Mina Loy, Rosetta Loy, Cari Luna, Alison Lurie, Journal Kyaw Ma Ma Lay, Sharon Maas, Mary MacLane, Deirdre Madden, Michelle Magorian, Anna Mahler, Janet Malcolm, Alia Mamdouh, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Delarivier Manley, Ethel Mannin, Olivia Manning, Katherine Mansfield, Hilary Mantel, Gianna Manzini, Dacia Maraini, Micheline Marcom, Lilit Marcus, Leslie Marmon Silko, Carole Maso, Angeles Mastretta, Ana María Matute, Bernadette Mayer, Sophie Mayer, Eimear McBride, Mary McCarthy, Carson McCullers, Susie Mcguire, Jane Mead, Susana Medina, Anna George Meek, Pauline Melville, Ene Mihkelson, Jeannette Miller, Sue Miller, Catherine Millet, Susan Minot, Justine Mintsa, Minae Mizumura, Ange Mlinko, Nadifa Mohamed, Lilia Momple, Geraldine Monk, Alison Moore, Lorrie Moore, Olive Moore, Terézia Mora, Cherrie Moraga, Elsa Morante, Marta Morazzoni, Clare Morgan, Rachel Moritz, Jan Morris, Marianne Morris, Toni Morrison, Penelope Mortimer, Kate Morton, Jennifer Moxley, Évelyne Mpoudi Ngollé, Cookie Mueller, Wendy Mulford, Herta Muller, Alice Munro, Iris Murdoch, Michela Murgia, Tiffany Murray, Eileen Myles, Marie NDiaye, Zora Neale Hurston, Lorine Neidecker, Dorothy Nelson, Maggie Nelson, Irène Némirovsky, Maud Newton, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Anais Nin, nila northSun, Tamarinn Norwood, Amelie Nothomb, Alice Notley, Martha Nussbaum, Edna O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor, Rohan O'Grady, Maggie O'Sullivan, Joyce Carol Oates, Yoko Ogawa, Grace Ogot, Nnedi Okorafor, Ifeoma Okoye, Sofi Oksanen, Yvonne Okwiri, Laura Oldfield Ford, Sharon Olds, Véronique Olmi, Yewande Omotoso, Chibundu Onuzo, Meret Oppenheim, Anna Maria Ortese, Wendy C Ortiz, Jena Osman, Julie Otsuka, Helen Oyeyemi, Ruth Ozeki, Cynthia Ozick, ZZ Packer, Oubone-lat Papet, Parijat, Kyŏng-ni Park , Dorothy Parker, Ann Patchett, Laura Pavel, M.R. Peacocke, Edith Pearlman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Holly Pester, Aline Pettersson, Jayne Anne Phillips, Zoe Pilger, Alejandra Pizarnik, Vanessa Place, Sylvia Plath, Niina Pollari, Elena Poniatowska, Dorothy Porter, Beatrix Potter, Claire Potter, Dawn Powell, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Sue Prideaux, Annie Proulx, Lalage Pulvertaft, Barbara Pym, Sarah Quigley, Ann Quin, Anne Radcliffe, Michèle Rakotoson, Vanessa Ramos, Rosa Rankin-Gee, Vaddey Ratner, Marie Redonnet, Barbara Jean Reyes, Yazmina Reza, Jean Rhys, Adrienne Rich, Dorothy Richardson, Henry Handel Richardson, Sarah Ridgard, Lola Ridge, Carme Riera, Claire C Riley, Denise Riley, Lisa Robertson, Marilynne Robinson, Sophie Robinson, Mercè Rodoreda, Astrid Roemer, Gillian Rose, Jacqeline Rose, Wendy Rose, Christina Rossetti, Anacristina Rossi, Alix Cléo Roubaud, Ann Rower, Susanna Rowson, Arundhati Roy, Muriel Rukeyser, Ariella Ruth, Vita Sackville West, Françoise Sagan, Monique Saint-Hélier, Metta Sáma, Colette Samoya Kirura, George Sand, Cora Sandel, Ana Maria Sandu, Sappho, Nathalie Sarraute, Dorothy Sayers, Leslie Scalapino, Olive Schreiner, Christine Schutt, Gail Scott, Joanna Scott, Leïla Sebbar, Lore Segal, Taiye Selasi, Anne Sexton, Kamila Shamsie, Jo Shapcott, Mary Shelley, Carol Shields, Murasaki Shikibu, Sun Yung Shin, Elaine Showalter, Lionel Shriver, Bapsi Sidhwa, Kathryn Simmonds, Sandra Simonds, Helen Simpson, May Sinclair, Kjersti Skomsvold, Olga Slavnikova, Ali Smith, Patricia Smith, Patti Smith, Stevie Smith, Tracy K. Smith, Zadie Smith, Karen Solie, Rebecca Solnit, Laura Soloman, Susan Sontag, Dido Sotiriou, Ahdaf Soueif, Juliana Spahr, Muriel Spark, Christina Stead, Gertrude Stein, Leigh Stein, Cheryl Strayed, Noel Streatfeild, Marlene Streeruwitz, Adelle Stripe, Jacqueline Susann, Liune Sutema, Eva Švankmajerová, Kelley Swain, Aiobheann Sweeney, Cole Swensen, Magda Szabó, Gillian Sze, Wislawa Szymborska, Elizabeth Tallent, Amy Tan, Dorothea Tanning, Donna Tartt, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Taylor, Nadezhda Teffi, Chiew-Siah Tei, Manjushree Thapa, Olga Tokarczuk, Tatyana Tolstaya, Claire Tomalin, Rosemary Tonks, P.L. Travers, Rose Tremain, Natasha Trethewey, Marina Tsvetaeva, Anu Tuominen, Masha Tupitsyn, Esther Tusquets, Anne Tyler, Dubravka Ugresic, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Sigrid Undset, Allison Uttley, Luisa Valenzuela, Laura Van den Berg, Katrina Vandenberg, Fred Vargas, Yvonne Vera, Ada Verdun Howell, Bettina von Arnim, Ornela Vorpsi, Anne Waldman, Rosmarie Waldrop, Alice Walker, Joanna Walsh, Sarah Waters, Jean Webster, Simone Weil, Fay Weldon, Eudora Welty, Valerie Wetlaufer, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Whipple, Clare Wigfall, Diane Williams, Amabel Williams-Ellis, Jeanette Winterson, Monique Wittig, Christa Wolf, Naomi Wolf, Rebecca Wolff, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Wong, Virginia Woolf, K H Worsley, Alexis Wright, C.D. Wright, Evie Wyld, Can Xue, Banana Yoshimoto, Marguerite Young, Marguerite Yourcenar, Hsia Yü, Lidid Yuknavich, Kate Zambreno, Meike Ziervogel, Lydia Zinovieva-Annibal, Unica Zürna
are a French tradition - cards sent at New Year rather than Christmas.
I'm a bit rubbish at Christmas, but was sent such wonderful cards I thought I'd better catch up.
Voeux is French for 'good wishes', but also means 'vow'. Thinking of a few online projects I've followed by readers vowing to read more books by women, instead of cards I've designed a few bookmarks hoping you might, if not vow to read women exclusively, look up some of the writers I've drawn on the front or listed on the back.
If you're reading this, I'd probably like to send you one, or two or more. I never have anyone's address so, if you feel you 'know' me (which of course includes online 'know' - if you've talked to me, commissioned me, or bought any of my work), please email me your details and I'll send some bookmarks your way, with very best wishes for 2014. I'll be sending out cards until 7th January.
Someone suggested my drawings would make good tattoos so I made some (temporary) ones.
This is a sheet of 10 of my drawings of writers, plus a few bonus books. You can go out with a choice of Clarice Lispector, Marguerite Duras, Joan Didion, Miranda July, Sheila Heti, Simone de Beauvoir, Oscar Wilde, Deborah Levy, Quentin Crisp, or Ann Carson on your arm (or whichever part of your anatomy you prefer).
The tattoos work out at £1 per author, which is not bad when you look at similar on Etsy, etc. This includes worldwide postage and printed instructions. You can buy the writers in sets of 5 or 10 figures (set 1 is Lispector/Duras/Didon/July/Heti, set 2 is de Beauvoir/Wilde/Levy/Crisp/Carson, set 3 is all 10 writers) and pay via Paypal or buy me a book or books that cost about the same. Please email badaude-at-gmail-dot-com or leave me a message below if you'd like a set.
To prove they work, here are a few of the tattoos in action. (Apologies -you'll notice the already-poor phone quality of the photos degenerates as alcohol is added.)
Elliot reading Metamorphosis with book tattoos:
Me with Marguerite Duras:
Seb with Ann Carson:
Rachel with Quentin Crisp:
Juliet with Oscar Wilde:
Lauren with Simone de Beauvoir:
I ran out of Yellow Marguerites. Anyone who'd still like a print, including anyone who asked me but hasn't paid/swapped/whatever yet, will get a Blue Duras: one of a signed limited edition of ten.
Several people asked me about this drawing of Clarice Lispector and I've decided to also do an edition of Blue Lispector x 10. If you're interested in either, please get in touch: badaude-at-gmail-dot-com.
Both giclee prints are A4 in size, printed on archive paper with acid-free inks. They're UK £25 inc European postage, or £30 inc postage anywhere else - or you can buy me some books to approx the same value...
"One good thing about being a woman is we haven’t too many examples yet of what a genius looks like. It could be me."
I have an essay over at Berfrois about the way a few female writers are presented/have presented themselves, based on a series I started here last month.
This is an extra drawing of Sheila Heti wearing the 'thrift-store' dress (read the Berfrois page & you'll know what I'm talking about).
I think the most fun was imagining what kind of shoes all the writers who were not shot full-length would be wearing...
You are what you wear? None more than Joan Didion. There has never been a writer I have wanted so much to dress like - never a writer whose wardrobe, Didion herself suggests, brings me closest to her work. Remember her famous packing list?
"To Pack and Wear:
2 jerseys or leotards
1 pullover sweater
2 pair shoes
nightgown, robe slippers
bag with: shampoo, toothbrush and paste, Basis soap, razor, deodorant, aspirin, prescriptions, Tampax, face cream, powder, baby oil
2 legal pads and pens
This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those years when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. Notice the deliberate anonymity of costume: in a skirt, a leotard, and stockings, I could pass on either side of the culture. Notice the mohair throw for trunk-line flights (i.e. no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioning could not be turned off. Notice the bourbon for the same motel room. Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the day’s notes.”
...and remember how, years later, she was criticised for Blue Nights' attention to designer names (the clear implication is that a woman who loves to dress may rightly suspect herself incapable of loving outside herself).
For Didion it's always the clothes - in, On Keeping a Notebook, the "plaid silk dress" with the hem let down, the "dirty crepe-de-chine wrapper", the "mandarin coat" - that persist long after their meanings are forgotten. All Didion knows - although the clothes are not always hers - is that they are pointers to "How it felt to me". And if she's forgotten the 'meaning' of the girl's plaid dress, she can invent one. She takes the material and turns it into the immaterial: words. Turning a plot is "setting a sleeve... Do you sew? I mean I had to work that revolution in on the bias". However much you strip her down to her 'meanings' there's always another dress.
"I do not think in abstracts," Didion said in Why I Write, remembering her college years. "I would try to contemplate the Hegelian dialectic and would find myself concentrating instead on a flowering pear tree outside my window and the particular way the petals fell on my floor... a physical fact."
If her appearance links her to her characters it's not always her intention: "There was a certain tendency to read Play It As It Lays as an autobiographical novel, I suppose because I lived out here and looked skinny in photographs and nobody knew anything else about me." (Paris Review)
Perhaps women who write are always in danger of being confused with their characters, mistaken for their muses, but Didion deliberately (the jarringly'deliberate anonymity' of her packing list) puts her own tyrannical tininess at the centre of her reporting: "My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrustive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests." (The White Album)
Didon insists on the physical both as itself and as something else. We're divided from her only by the "fifty yards of... transparent golden silk" that casts a "golden light" across her New York window in Goodbye to All That. We're divided by the sphinx stare of her author photos that - like her packing list - is both a description of how a writer becomes able to observe, and a barrier to being seen too closely.
"Before the appearance of a mirror, the person didn't know his own face except reflected in the waters of a lake. After a certain point everyone is responsible for the face he has. I'll now look at mine. It is a naked face. And when I think that no other like it exists in the world, I get a happy shock." Clarice Lispector - Agua Viva
I have never seen Lispector's face naked. She made herself up. Her portraits are a silent film star's. Overexposure blanks out her lines and wrinkles, and eventually the burn-scars she sustained in a house fire, leaving planes of pure light and shadow. What makes her easy to photograph makes her difficult to draw. How do we know it's her? Those lips...
Is she what she looks to be, or does she come about some other way? She writes,
"You who are reading me please help me to be born."
Like Colette, who once ran a beauty parlour, and Jean Rhys, who worked as a model, Lispector spent time in the beauty business - as an advice columnist for Correio Feminino*. Lispector's photo-portraits are so very much like a model's in a magazine, her face displaying the same kind of lonely rapture. Intense sensation without apparent stimulation - is that what beauty is?
This series of drawings came about partly because I happened on a photo of Lispector that looked a bit like me on a good day.
I have tried to draw this picture of her, looking a little like me, many times and, although this photo shows her at her most stylised, her most cartoonish, her least naked - although that's perhaps where I find the resemblance: anyone can paint on those lips, those brows, anyone can look a bit like Clarice as she looks here - I have never quite succeeded in capturing her.I don't have her teeny nose or bee-stung lips but I am infected by the sympathetic magic most women experience on seeing a photograph of a beauty. Look at that model in Vogue! Seeing her, taking her in through my eyes, knowing I could buy her dress (if I were rich enough - another layer of fantasy), I could also buy her sensation, her experience - I could buy being her - or so it seems. If a man desires to possess the beautiful woman in the photograph, a woman desires to be possessed by her. To be possessed by Lispector: imagine...
Drawing is always some kind of attempt at possession - to possess or to be possessed - and I'm never sure which.
*if anyone can track her columns down in English send me a link, please do: I'd very much like to read them.