HarperCollins celebrates International Women’s Day

• Mar 10, 2015 • Tags: , ,

Sunday 8th March marked International Women’s Day – a celebration of women’s achievements throughout history. HarperCollins thought it would be a nice idea to ask which women in the literary world have inspired our own female colleagues, inciting inspirational and aspirational answers.


‘Roxane Gay inspires me to the ends of the earth and back again. When I read Bad Feminist, her collection of personal essays last year, I found myself full to the brim with respect for an author who is able to tell stories about her life, so personal and so stark, while reminding us that, as women, it’s fine not to fit the mould of that conventional woman (feminist or otherwise) that we’re told we should. She shocked us all again, when, mere months later, her novel An Untamed State was published; a book so raw, so dark and so unsettling that it will always leave an impression.’ Candice Carty-Williams – Marketing Assistant, 4th Estate

‘It is impossible to sum up the breadth of inspiring female authors into a sivirginia-woolfngle name. Instead, I am grateful for the incredible and unique mark each has made on my life. I am only able to skim the surface here, but this International Women’s Day, I would like to thank: Ivan E. Coyote, for Ivan’s pure joy at the world and unrivalled storytelling; Baroness D’Aulnoy, for coining the term and co-starting the fairy tale tradition; Virginia Woolf (right), for her courage in experimenting with new forms and voices; and finally not a writer at all, but a character in a children’s book: the Country Bunny for being the ultimate feminist working mother – in 1939 – and teaching both boys and girls the value of being wise, kind, and brave.’ Caitlin Doyle – Senior Publishing Manager & Commissioning Editor


 ‘The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy was the book that I chose to read on a Christmas holiday to France back in the late 90s. Although the holiday was a memorable one, the thing that I most remember about it was being mesmerised by this book, rushing back each evening so that I could see how the story unfolded. So, nearly 20 years later this was still the first book that sprung to mind when I was asked what book has had the biggest impact on me. Think it’s probably about time I read it again.’
Gillian Harrison – Executive Assistant
‘Jean Rhys had a turbulent life. With her writing, she explores what it means to be an outsider and what it is like to be in violent and chaotic relationships. I particularly choose her due to her book Wide Sargasso Sea. Despite taking 30 years to publish after she burnt the original and then kept fragments under her bed in plastic bags, the book is equally a classic to its imagined sequel Jane Eyre. In it, Rhys gives a voice to the mad woman in the attic. I appreciate that Rhys encourages us not to just accept what we read. That we can and should value different portrayals of women.’
Dawn Sinclair – Archivist
‘Through reading Margaret Atwood I came to question what it means to be female. Her work explores the many facets of femininity and introduced me, as a young reader, to the challenges women face in work, in relationships, in society. In Hairball, a terrifying cyst with teeth becomes an embodiment of rage against the glass ceiling whilst The Edible Woman explores the idea of woman as commodity.The Robber Bride cracks open the dichotomy of sisterhood versus sexual predator; The Handmaid’s Tale shows woman as vessel; andMaddadam delivers woman as vanguard. All aspects of the female experience can be found in Atwood’s writing and she at once challenges, frightens and reassures me.’
Ann Bissell – Publicity Director, Fiction
JK Rowling
‘I grew up with Harry Potter. From the ages of 5 to 15, J.K. Rowling’s books shaped my literary landscape and without them I would not be who I am or where I am today. J.K. Rowling herself continues to inspire me: her dogged determination to pursue her dream when she had nothing else, and now her relentless work to better the lives of others, have become her own kind of magic – one that has touched millions of fans worldwide. And, of course, she’s the woman who made it cool to be ginger.’
Helena Sheffield – Sales Executive, Fiction & NonFiction
‘One author and book that I couldn’t stop thinking about last year was Brené Brown and Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Her work is all about courage and wholeheartedness: the willingness to step up and try, which means vulnerability – and I love her writing, which is rigorously researched but also daringly personal. In the last year I’ve consciously said ‘yes’ to things that scare me – whether that was setting up strategy workshops, mindfulness sessions or Christmas carols – and I’ve definitely had Brené Brown in mind.’
Emily Labram, Project Executive, Fiction
‘My favourite book in the world is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s a visceral gothic masterpiece, condemned at the time for being outrageously brutal and ungodly, and seen as too violent to be written by a woman. The novel explores the impossibly unfair boundaries of class, gender and race in pre-Victorian England, and does not shy away from bold statements about religion, capitalism and violent possessive love. It makes me laugh when people tell me they haven’t read her since they don’t read “women’s literature” much, as if Victorian women wrote about flowers and knitting and pie. Wuthering Heights is powerful and exciting, I would recommend it to everyone. Also, #Yorkshire.’
Cat Crossley – Operations Manager

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