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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Influential Female Authors

Forbes has an article listing the ten most powerful woman authors.

http://blogs.forbes.com/avrildavid/2011/06/06/the-10-most-powerful-women-authors/
(June 6, 2011)

"The women selected for this list are powerful because of their ability to influence us through their words and ideas. Collectively, these women hold readers captivated with stories of fantastical worlds, suspense and drama, insights into the complexities of minority experiences and cultures, and fresh takes on societal issues and expectations…not to mention, book sales of up to 800M copies sold and a wealth of prestigious awards and recognition including Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes."

Read the article for details on these women. They are quite a diverse group.
J.K. Rowling
Danielle Steele
Toni Morrison
Stephanie Meyer
Mary Higgins Clark
Maya Angelou
Alice Walker
Jhumpa Lahiri
Joyce Carol Oates
Isabel Allende

These are all big, famous names. (And the list is limited to living authors.) But for many of us, the books and writers who influenced us personally are not such global personalities. Reading Georgette Heyer as a pre-teen gave me my livelong love of history, of social manners, and of romance novels. What female authors had an impact on your life? 

24 comments:

Ranae Rose said...

I'm definately a fan of some of the authors on this list, like JK Rowling and Mary Higgins Clark. However, my favorite woman author is Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series. Her writing is brilliant - I love her books to death.

Lynn LaFleur said...

As usual, romance is forgotten. I don't know how any female author list can be compiled without Nora Roberts on it.

Lynn

Debra Glass said...

How could they have left off Harper Lee and Margaret Mitchell?

Ann Jacobs said...

I can't imagine having a list of most influential female authors and not including Nora Roberts/JD Robb. I'd also include several other famous authors whose roots are in romance--but then I'm very fond of the genre, needless to say. As for Gabaldon, she is brilliant, but I have a personal bias against first-person books.

Debra Glass said...

Oops. After reading the article I see it's based on living authors. Stephanie Meyer? Come on. sigh

Ju Dimello said...

Agatha Christie!! The one name that still makes me take notice ;) no matter what mood I am in! Nothing like a cozy li'l mystery to perk our day :), next only to romance!

Harlie Reader said...

I would have to agree with Nora Roberts/JD Robb not on the list. Also, Harper Lee and Margaret Mitchell, too. That's larceny, in my book.

Harlie Reader said...

I'm with you Debra on Stephanie Meyer. I only managed to read the first Twlight and most of the second one. I didn't care for Edward too much. JK Rowling in my book has been much more influential than any other author for children/tweens/teens, than Ms. Meyer. Harry and his world appealed to boys, girls, men and woman and it would eventully bring families back to the bookstores and libraries to read.

Sorry for the long post, but Ms. Meyer just doesn't belong on the list.

ECPI Editors said...

Debra and Harlie, I have to agree with you. I was very surprised to see Stephanie Meyer on the list. It seems her only qualification is books sales - but the list is supposed to be women writers who are "powerful" and "influential". Ms. Meyer is a fad of the current time and reading tastes. She's by no means a person who influences people or events. And I can only hope her poor writing style does NOT influence future writers.

Raelene

Mardi Ballou said...

Interesting and very big question. I read Mary Higgins Clark as fun/escape -- don't know that I'd consider her influential in any way. OTOH, JK Rowling clearly has been influential. At the least, she's gotten a lot of kids reading. I think we could say the same thing for Meyer vis-a-vis 'tweens and young adults.

Two of my personal favorites are Irish writers -- Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes. They're bestsellers, though not in the same numbers as those others.

N.J.Walters said...

Where is Nora Roberts? She's sold more books than most, if not all of them.

Anonymous said...

Marion Zimmer Bradley for me. When she rather casually suggested (in Mists of Avalon, the fantastic tale of the Arthurian legend from a woman's POV) that lineage should be reckoned maternally rather paternally (because the former is never in question), it blew me away. It took me a long time to get over the fact that we've been doing it wrong the whole time. Okay, we have been living in a patriarchy since the beginning of recorded history. But even so, it's pretty illogical thinking for a gender that prides itself on logic over emotion, isn't it?

She also published a mainstream fiction novel involving a m/m relationship (The Catch Trap) in 1984. Never mind all of the wonderful fantasy tales. She should have been on that list long before Stephanie Meyer.

Lolarific said...

For me it was Sylvia Day. I was trying to find something to read one night because I'd been itching to get back into my teenage book a day reading habit. I stumbled upon one of her books and have been a very loyal fan ever since.

Anny Cook said...

Mercedes Lackey for her romantic fantasies, Nora Roberts (bought her very first book when it was NEW!), Elizabeth Lowell, and on a very personal level, Jayne Ann Krentz. About thirty years ago I wrote to her, confiding my desire to be a writer. To my deep surprise, she wrote back--longhand--a lovely letter of encouragement. For a lot of long lonely years I kept that letter taped to the wall above my typewriter, then computer.

Ashlyn Chase said...

I'd replace Danielle Steele with Nora Roberts, but maybe they're considering other factors besides my taste in their decisions. LOL

Marianne Stephens said...

Hum. Books sold. Sorry...some of them I've never heard of and obviously don't read. Makes me wonder if culture/social backgrounds had anything to do with creating this list so it's "politically correct", not necessarily "influentially correct".
Influential doesn't mean book sales. It means books/authors that inspire others.

Dawn Chartier said...

As a writer there are so many authors who have influenced me and not with just their writing, but with the help the offer to aspiring writers every where. Candace Havens, Shirley Jump, Diana Rowland, Kathy Love, Erin McCarthy, Alex Sokoloff, Heather Graham, Deborah LeBlanc, etc. Plus many more I'm forgetting.

I also agree that Nora's name should be on the list. She's is very influential in the publishing world.

Delphine Dryden said...

It does seem like sales was a deciding factor here, otherwise I can't see why Stephanie Meyer would be on the list as a writer (I can see her on a list of influential self-marketing geniuses, maybe). I'd definitely replace her with Nora Roberts. I agree that the rest are influential and if the list was only comprised of living authors that would knock out most of my own candidates (Agatha Christie, Harper Lee, Flannery O'Connor, among others). I haven't read Lahiri, though I've heard good things and she certainly has the Legitimate Literary Fiction niche locked.

Jenni Wiltz said...

Elizabeth Peters made me want to write. I wanted to *be* her female characters (Amelia Peabody and Vicky Bliss) and am still in love with her male characters (Emerson and Sir John Smythe).

Sami Lee said...

I'm not even a huge Nora fan and even I can't understand why she's not on that list.

Lori Roets said...

Dorothy Gilman. I started reading her books at age 10. Unbeknowst to me, my mom wrote to her to let her know how much I enjoyed the books and for Christmas she send me autographed hardcover copies of two of her books AND told me I had helped motivate her to get back to work on her next book. That in turn prompted me at 11 to write my first book, a thumbprint illustrated children's book called "Squeak", and submit it to several publishers. Nobody wsa interested in it, but I got my first taste of the writing life and some nice rejection letters for my file.

Lori

Mac Perry said...

The number of book sales aside, I would have to add Judy Bloom when I was younger; otherwise I never would have understood that day when womanhood arrived. Also as a teenager Anne Rice was a revelation...I never knew what the word "orgasm" meant until I read her books. (Yes, I was sheltered).

Anonymous said...

While she is no longer living, I must mention Frances Parkinson Keyes for her writing because she, along with my other favorite, Roberta Gellis,led me through the wonderful world of imagination which is nevertheless based upon historical facts.

Lindy said...

I also do not think Meyers deserves to be on that list. Honestly, think the main reason people love the Bella-Edward romance is because they haven't read a good romance themselves.

And I can't believe Margaret Atwood did not make that list.