Selma Lagerlöf (November 20, 1858 – March 16, 1940) was a Swedish author who has the distinction of being the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the first Swede to win the award.
She was also an active teacher throughout her professional life and in 1914 became the first female admitted to the Swedish Academy.
Once, when asked for her favorite color, Selma answered, “Sunset.” A suitable answer for a woman who more often chose the thrill of a good story over personal adventure, romanticism over realism, and the pleasures of home over traveling afar.
Fanny Burney (June 13, 1752 – January 6, 1840), born Frances Burney, was a British novelist, diarist, and playwright best remembered for her first novel, Evelina (1778).
Born in Lynn Regis, now known as King’s Lynn, her father, Dr. Charles Burney, was a musician of note. Her mother, Esther Sleepe Burney, died when Fanny was ten, and this marked the time when she began writing in earnest.
Fanny’s literary output included four novels eight plays, a biography, and some twenty-five volumes of journals and letters. She was an influence on novelists of manner and satire who came a bit later, notably, Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray. Read More→
Vera Brittain (December 29, 1893– March 29, 1970) was a British memoirist, poet, essayist, and novelist whose work and life were forever marked by the losses she endured as a result of World War I. She’s best remembered for her classic memoir, Testament of Youth (1933).
As a young wartime nurse, she tended to wounded soldiers in several countries. Her brother and her fiancé were killed during the war. Brittain never fully recovered from the tragic loss, and the horrors of the war are poignantly depicted in her writings.
The suffering she witnessed inspired her to become a pacifist after the war, and she was an active, dedicated member of the peace movement for the rest of her life. Read More→
Elizabeth Taylor (July 3, 1912 – November 19, 1975) was a British novelist and author of short stories who is generally acknowledged to be underrated — a brilliant writer who deserves to be more widely read. She is not to be confused with the iconic actress with the same name.
Writers as distinct as Antonia Fraser, Barbara Pym, and Kingsley Amis admired her works, which are filled with impassioned as well as lonely characters. Read More→
Grazia Maria Cosima Damiana Deledda (September 28, 1871 – August 15, 1936), more commonly known as Grazia Deledda, was an Italian writer best known for being the first Italian woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature (1926).
She was praised “for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general.”