The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life

Welcome to a site celebrating classic women authors who wrote in the English language. Here you’ll find their words of wisdom for readers and writers. Enjoy their life stories and quotations; learn more about their books; read their advice on the writing life; and enjoy contemporary voices on the writing process.

Dear Literary Ladies

How can I develop a distinctive writing style?

Katherine Anne Porter

Dear Literary Ladies,
How do I go about developing a distinctive writing style—one that will blow editors away, and that readers everywhere will recognize as my unique voice? Read More→

Featured Essay

6 Homes of Classic Women Authors to Visit in New England

Literary Pilgrimages are inspiring and enlightening. If you can’t get enough of your favorite women authors in print, visiting their homes, preserved for public viewing, is a fantastic way to get to know them better. Getting a glimpse where they lived and worked, and how they extended their creative flair into their homes and gardens is a true privilege. Here are six such venues in New England, honoring the lives and legacies of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Sarah Orne Jewett. Visit them one at a time, group two on a weekend trip, or do them all on a multi-day loop. Make sure to link through to get all the information on visiting, as some of these aren’t open year round.  Read More→

Featured Author

Sand, George

george sand

George Sand (1804-1876) embodied a capacity for prodigious output and passionate living, with a penchant for drama in her everyday life (not the least of which were her countless romantic entanglements). Some put her literary legacy at eighty novels, others at seventy, in addition to several plays and countless shorter works, including: essays, journalistic pieces, and a multi-volume autobiography. It would be nearly impossible for any contemporary woman to emulate such an existence (and even the thought of doing so is exhausting), but she remains a model for creating a full palette of love, productivity, and family.

Though her oversized biography and persona are perhaps better known in the English-speaking world, her work was much admired by many of her literary contemporaries. It was, however, considered unseemly and completely unfeminine by others. Her colorful character and individuality seemed to have eclipsed her literary legacy, not to diminish her work, but for some, she proved it was more important to be courageous and original in one’s life than to be prolific in one’s work. Read More→