While the badass-ness of women should be celebrated year-round, the designation of an entire month (March) for women’s history is a fairly new – and pretty fantastic – step in recognizing the amazing achievements of American women. During March, we reflected on the influence of women in publishing and literature, and decided to give some of our favorites a shout-out.
Women have been causing waves of change in literature for well over a century in America, and it’s hard to narrow down the list of influential female authors that have changed the game of writing and publishing.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe might’ve been a bit before our lifetime, but her depiction of the harsh life for African Americans under slavery resonated deeply in society through her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- Jane Austen’s catalog has inspired countless films, plays—and women to take charge of their lives.
- In 1920, Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in literature for her novel Age of Innocence.
- Virginia Woolf changed the game for female authors with her inspirational, elegant works, and is known as one of the greatest writers of the 21st century.
- Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook was hailed as one of the most prominent texts of the women’s movement in the 1960s.
- Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird greatly impacted the literary cannon in the U.S.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has made a whole generation relate to what it means to be a young, smart, ambitious African American woman in contemporary America, dissecting issues of race in the UK and America.
- Maya Angelou’s Why The Caged Bird Sings gave a louder voice to the African American community and spurred a fresh love for poetry.
And of course, we can’t forget some of the most powerful, most successful female writers in the past few decades, such as Toni Morrison, JK Rowling, Danielle Steele, Jodi Picoult, Mary Higgins Clark….no matter if you love their work or hate it, as women they’ve continued to push open the door for women in the world of writing, and caused hundreds of millions of books to fly off the shelves.
Women are continuing to change literature and publishing in America. SparkPoint Studio has two imprints, the empowering She Writes Press and its sister imprint SparkPress. Together, these two imprints have published more than 270 authors since 2012 and have collectively won over 150 awards, making them the most awarded hybrid indie imprints—ever. The history behind these imprints runs deep, but they both are rooted in providing a community and professional platform for strong female voices everywhere.
In 2012, She Writes Press was founded by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner as a response to traditional publishing barriers getting higher and higher for authors. Kamy’s online community, She Writes, had been founded on the principle of connecting and serving women writers everywhere, offering a community for established and aspiring writers. Brooke had been the executive editor at Seal Press for eight years, witnessing first-hand the contracting publishing environment, where she personally was having to reject beautifully written books on a regular basis because the submitting author didn’t have a strong enough author platform. Kamy and Brooke wanted to found a press for women writers that would be a platform—that could launch their writing careers, and where they could legitimately compete with their traditional counterparts.
In 2014, She Writes Press became part of SparkPoint Studio, which had just started their own imprint SparkPress. She Writes Press is solely female-oriented, with many incredible authors publishing each season. SparkPress publishes both female and male authors and has recently brought an influx of game-changing female authors to the table. From mental illness and race issues to family struggles and learning to love yourself, these ladies are holding nothing back in order to change the conversation on women’s issues and struggles—not to mention the “typical” female character.
If you’re interested in some new reads for spring and summer—as well as some fresh female voices—check out some of our most popular SparkPress authors right now:
Jackie Townsend: This award-winning author’s novel, The Absence of Evelyn (April 2017) links four lives spanning three continents to tell a story about love in its incarnations, filial and amorous, healing and destructive. Redbook even called it one of 20 books by women “you must read this spring.”
Colleen Oakes: Known for her Queen of Hearts series, which was picked up by Harper Collins and is being considered for a film, Oakes makes a classic villain less villainous by exploring her background as a teenager. Her newest series, Wendy Darling, flips the view of beloved Peter Pan and shows a much darker, sinister side to Neverland.
Kris Radish: This best-selling women’s fiction author is changing the game in historical fiction with her novel The Year of Necessary Lies (August 2015) and her upcoming novel A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere, coming September of 2017.
Susie Orman Schnall: Writing about modern women balancing life, love, and work while dealing with major life challenges and changes in On Grace (April 2014) and The Balance Project (April 2015).
Alane Adams: Known for her Legends of Orkney series following a young male protagonist, she also has her own literacy foundation, Rise Up.
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus: The Nanny Diaries, (March 2003), went on to become a film starring Scarlett Johansson; the dynamic duo then decided to publish their novel So Close (June 2016) with SparkPress.
Meredith First: Her writing helped her endure Lyme disease and her novel Gridley Girls (June 2016) is based on true events about a group of girlfriends growing up where two end up falling in love and marrying one another.
Mindy Tarquini: Her first novel, the award-winning Hindsight (Nov. 2016) received rave reviews from magazines and trades alike for her contemporary spin on mixing fantasy and history: a main character that can remember all her past lives must come to terms with living fully in the now.
Nicole Meier: Rated as a “best book of 2016” by Refinery29, The House of Bradbury ties together modern Hollywood and a twenty-something girl struggling to find her place as a writer, with the history she encounters while living in Ray Bradbury’s legendary home, hoping it will inspire her.
We look forward to continuing to work with strong female authors like these and helping them give voice to their stories.