Competitions, General Chatter, WoB News

The Gilmour Girls: Celebrating Female Writers


As you may have read yesterday, the acclaimed Canadian Author and Lecturer David Gilmour (not the one in Pink Floyd) ruffled a fair few feathers when he declared that he would not use books written by women as course material. He made a solitary exception, Virginia Woolf, but his insistence that female authors were somehow inferior wasn’t particularly well received.

And with good reason too. Sure, we aren’t here to judge his opinions or the merits of his arguments – you can make your own minds up about that – but maybe there is a slight generalisation in all of this. After all books, authors and styles are generally a very personal thing. Much like music, films and pretty much anything else that is remotely creative.

Therefore, without adding another oar to an argument brimming with superfluous oars, it is difficult to discard a whole genre, let alone an entire gender or race. So, in the interest of fairness, here are just a few adequate books written by ladies over the last few centuries.

The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
White Teeth – Zadie Smith 
Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 
Bring up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Hotel Du Lac – Anita Brooker
The Talented Mr Ripley – Patricia Highsmith
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf 
The Shipping News – Annie Proulx 
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg 
The God of Small Things – Arundhatri Roy 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

Of course, these are just a few of many, many more. But we’d love for you to share your favourite book written by a lady, or indeed a Chinese author (another one of the groups Gilmour disparaged) with us at World of Books.

Competition Time

To make it interesting, we will be giving away a choice of 5 of the above books, plus your favourite as a prize. The Gilmour Girls competition will run until midday on Monday, when the winner will be announced. So that’s six great books for just telling us your favourite book by a female author, what could be better?

Enter on Facebook, by leaving a comment on the blog below or on Twittter using the hashtag #gilmourgirls and sending to @worldofbooksltd.

You can also choose to buy any of the above books (or any others for that matter, including extremely masculine tomes) with a cheeky 20% discount, just use the code TYPT249 to take advantage (yes, it’s the same as the one from Tuesday).

Remember, this is just a bit of fun. We would of course love your opinions on female authors and Gilmour’s comments, but are remaining staunchly on the fence with this one. Opinions are opinions after all.

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22 Comments

  • Reply Ali Thorpe September 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    This is the easiest question for me. She is not just my favourite female author but my favourite author. Patricia Highsmith. And the book? This Sweet Sickness.

    I really enjoy most of her work but I found reading this book such a strange (in a good way) experience. Everything is from the point of view of the main character, David, so you identify with him and see things from his point of view only. And then you start to realise that his view may be skewed, by which time you’re hooked so you have to carry on on this weird, unsettling journey, like it not!

    (I read once that Matt Damon, who is another Highsmith fan, wanted to make it into a film. I’m still waiting with fingers crossed).

  • Reply Thea Wilson September 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I have to admit to being a huge Jane Austen fan and Pride And Predjudice is still my very favourite book but there are some absoultey astonishing female authors out and Dave Gilmour’s statement is simply sexist!

    • Reply admin September 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Congratulations Thea, you won! We’ve sent you an email with all the details, but if you have any questions just get in contact at marketing@worldofbooks.com.

  • Reply june seghni September 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    my favourite book by a female author is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte…to think of her living a small life,in a vicarage, having such a dark imagination and writing those scenes of Heathcliffe’s passion and brutish masculinity… astonishing..

  • Reply Helen Painter September 27, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    My favourite book, which I’ve read several times, has to be ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier.
    I love the naïveté of the new bride and the dryness of the evil Mrs Danvers.
    Wonderfully written and set in beautiful surroundings.

  • Reply Pauline Azoulay September 27, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Hello,
    From the moment I learned to read as a child, I relished books. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Her talent is beyons frontiers, cultures and time. I simply adore her !
    All my best from France,
    Pauline

  • Reply Grace September 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    My favorite book would be ‘Chocolat’ by Joanne Harris. It is so beautifully written as the characters’ lives are brilliantly woven together into an enchanting story.

  • Reply Carol Peace September 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I love the ‘in death’ books written by J D Robb or Nora Roberts they are great , I do read the odd Nora Roberts book as well.

  • Reply Angela Rhodes September 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Wuthering Heights, by Charlotte Bronte, soo much unbridled passion, unrequited love, dark moors, and Heathcliff,,, sigh,,,,

  • Reply Janine Phillips September 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

    My all time favourite has to be Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, that said I enjoy reading many other female authors, Jane Austen, Phillipa Gregory, Tess Geritsen, Millie Johnson, Jodi Picoult and Daphne du Mayrier to name a few x

  • Reply Cherryl Thomas September 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

    The all time favourite of mine is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte which had me spellbound from the first page. I studied it for A level which I took in my thirties. Interestingly, I am reading The Professor at the moment which is just not in the same league as Jane Eyre at all! Nothing to do with Charlotte being female,I think, and more to do with development her craft.

  • Reply Guadalupe Pizarro-Berengena September 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    All the series by Agatha Christie. The first female English author I knew when I was a girl.

  • Reply Susannah Cicigoi September 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    A book which made a huge impact on me is Wild Swans, by Jung Chang who is a remarkable Chinese lady.
    Her biographical tale of her Grandmother and Mother living in Communist China and her own autobiographical account of living through the cultural revolution were so vivid. I defy anyone to read this book and not be touched by it,

  • Reply Alison Campbell September 29, 2013 at 12:17 am

    That’s a loaded question,like asking me to pick just one chocolate out of a huge box.

    There are some brilliant female authors, and I personally love The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks. I also adore Dorothy Koomson,and Val McDermid, who write some of the best crime fiction out there Then there’s Victoria Lamb, Joanna Hickson, and Philippa Gregory great historical novel authors.
    There’s just so many covering all genres that deserve a mention.

  • Reply barbara ladds September 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I used to love Enid Blyton books when I was small. Can anyone remember, The Magic Faraway Tree ??

  • Reply Nick Hopkins September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Agatha Christie is deservedly one of the most successful authors of all time

  • Reply Sam Gosling September 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    My favourite book by a female author is Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by jk rowling.

  • Reply Laura Silver September 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I’m probably going to be a common answer but I love Stephanie Meyer books, especially New Moon. Unfortunately I have not read the last book in the Twilight Series (Breaking Dawn) so would love that one as my 6th book if possible if I win?

    For the other 5 books I’d choose:
    To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (I read it in school and would love to read it again)
    Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (again, a beautiful classic)
    The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (not actually read this one but friends have mentioned it as a good one)
    Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier (again, not read but would love to)
    Harry Potty & Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling (because its amazing really, who doesnt love JK’s books?)

    Also some great female authors are of course Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and of course EL James.. we’ve all read 50 shades right? 😉

  • Reply Samantha September 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I’m not sure if it worked on facebook so I’ll enter here too. One of my favourites by a female is House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

  • Reply barbara ladds September 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve seen The colour purple film.. I would love to read the book.. books are always better than the film… my 6th book would have to be bring up the bodies by Hillary mantel.. love Tudor history !

  • Reply leigh fenn September 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I have many favourite female authors (J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, Jill Mansell, Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter) But I will say that Naked In Death by J.D. Robb is my fave, because it introduced me to the fabulousness of New York in the 2050’s and gave me the great world of Eve and Roarke.

  • Reply Michelle Blane September 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Tradewind by M. M. Kaye is a book that stands out in my memory. What a blockbuster!! I also love The Far Pavillions. My other all time favourite is Pride and Prejudice.
    Female authors……in addition to those brilliant writers already mentioned, I must also mention Rosie Thomas, Jo Jo Moyes, Santa Montefiore,….and so many more.

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