Julian of Norwich (approx. 1342-1416) is thought to have been the first woman to write a book in the English language.
Very little is known about her, not even her real name. She was an anchoress (a kind of religious hermit, someone who retires from the world for spiritual reasons) and got her name from living in a cell at the Church of St Julian in Norwich. Some believe that she may have come from a rich family in the area and that she might have lost her family during a plague epidemic, but almost no definite information about her personal life still exists. Continue reading Julian of Norwich
Although Mary Godwin Shelley lived in the restrictive Victorian era where a women’s place was in the home, tending to husband and children, she paved an unconventional, decidedly non-Victorian path through life. She established a substantive literary career while contending with the obstacles of single parenthood and depression. Continue reading Mary Shelley
Zitkala-Ša (which means ‘Red Bird’), also known by the name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a Native American writer, musician and activist. She was born on 22nd February 1876 on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her mother was a Sioux American Indian, her father a white American who left the family when Zitkala was only young.
In 1884 Christian missionaries came to the reservation and took many of the children, including Zitkala, away from their home, traveling 700 miles to their missionary school. Despite her mother’s concerns, she allowed Zitkala to leave, at the age of 8, to attend White’s Manual Labor Institute in Indiana.
Continue reading Zitkala-Ša – The Sun Dance Shero
Murasaki Shikibu is famous for writing what is considered to be the first ever novel and the greatest example of Japanese prose. Her epic story, The Tale of Genji has been read and studied around the world ever since she wrote it over a thousand years ago.
Born in the year 973 to the Fujiwara family, Murasaki had writing in her blood. Both her grandfather and great-grandfather had been well known poets in Japan, while her father was a respected scholar of Chinese classics and poetry.
Continue reading Murasaki Shikibu – a novel Shero