Audre Geraldine Lorde (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) was a self-identified “black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” who grew up in New York City to West Indian parents. Starting to write at an early age, Lorde was first published in Seventeen magazine while in high school.
As society progressed with the anti-war, feminist and civil rights movements, Audre moved from themes of love to more political and personal matters. She used her platform as a writer to spread ideas and experiences about the intersecting oppressions faced by many people. Her poetry developed an angry aura as she became more involved in activism but developed into an emotionally-supportive outlet and connected her to the world of politics with well-known figures like Langston Hughes. Read More→
There are lots of wonderful novels that don’t grab you with the first sentence (or even the first paragraph or two), but when a book’s first line is great, that bodes well for the story ahead. Here are some memorable first lines from classic novels by women authors. What have we left out? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add more.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. — Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. — Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818) Read More→
Those of us who scratch out sentences and paragraphs that we hope to turn into publishable prose have often paused to ponder the question, “why write?” When it goes well, it can all-consuming, like a passionate love affair. But when the going gets tough, or when self-doubt creeps in, “why” can become “what’s the point?”
Here, five classic women authors weigh in on questions related to the existential “why” of writing—for whom are you writing, and for what purpose? As in all matters of art, there’s no consensus here. George Sand seemed to believe that one writes to shine a light for others. Read More→
In The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, a 1963 novel by Rumer Godden, this prolific author delves into a universal dilemma — does a mother have the right to pursue love, or should she set those needs aside for the sake of her children? This story, which centers on Fanny Clavering and her youngest children, Hugh and Caddie, explores this theme. When the children learn that their mother has run off with a new and enticing man, they begin their quest which culminates in the titled “battle.”
Looking at love, infidelity, and divorce through the eyes of adolescents gives this story its charm, and Rumer Godden, in her usual, skillful way, creates characters about whose fate the reader grows to care about. Her evocative descriptions of the English countryside and the Villa Fiorita on Lake Guarda in Italy demonstrate her talent at evoking a sense of place, something she became famous for in her India novels. Read More→
Dear Literary Ladies,
Sometimes I feel that I don’t have enough life experience to be a good writer. Everything I write, in hindsight, looks rather shallow and inauthentic. Should I wait until I’ve lived more fully, and gain some wisdom, before I bare my soul to the public in writing, or should I just plow ahead?
I wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in Haiti. It was dammed up in me, and I wrote it in seven weeks. I wish I could write it again. In fact, I regret all of my books. It is one of the tragedies of life that one cannot have all the wisdom one is ever to possess in the beginning. Read More→
Dorothy Parker famously said, “I can’t write five words but that I change seven.” The young Anaïs Nin complained that her works lacked concentration and clearness. “I drift into vague visions and abstract forms and above all superfluities.”
While it’s true that there are few things that make one a better writer than the practice of writing itself, there’s at least one way to improve the craft and correctness of one’s writing that’s almost like having a live-in copy editor cleaning up your prose as you go along. Grammarly is a writer’s tool you can’t do without — and I honestly can’t believe I’ve been doing without it for these many years! Read More→