Although International Women’s Day may have passed on March 8th, we’re still celebrating the countless accomplishments of women in literature all month long! Here are 25 of our favorite contemporary female authors writing stories today that speak to people around the world.

Because there’s no way we could possibly rank these amazing writers, the authors in this list are presented in alphabetical order by their first names.

1. Aisha Saeed

Aisha Saeed is a Pakistani American author known for her bestselling middle-grade and young adult novels, including Written in the Stars, Amal Unbound, and her latest book Yes No Maybe So (coauthored with Becky Albertalli). Before she began her journey as a writer, Saeed worked as a teacher and an attorney. Saeed is one of the founding members of We Need Diverse Books, an organization that advocates for inclusive representation in children’s literature.

Recommended reading: Amal Unbound

2. Arundhati Roy

One of India’s most famous contemporary authors, Arundhati Roy is an international bestseller with books published into more than 40 languages. Before she became a writer, Roy studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Her first writing projects were for television and movies. In 1997, her debut novel The God of Small Things won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. A political activist with a passion for human rights causes, Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in May 2004.

Recommended reading: The God of Small Things

3. Celeste Ng

The daughter of scientists, Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. Passionate about writing from a young age, Ng eventually studied English at Harvard University and earned her MFA in Writing at the University of Michigan. She received a Pushcart Prize for her short story, Girls, At Play, which appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of the Bellevue Literary Review. Ng’s debut novel Everything I Never Told You won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Massachusetts Book Award, and numerous other honors.

Recommended reading: Everything I Never Told You

4. Cherie Dimaline

Canadian author Cherie Dimaline is best known for her Kirkus Prize-winning young adult novel, The Marrow Thieves, and her latest bestseller, Empire of Wild. A member of the Georgian Bay Métis Nation, Dimaline became the first Indigenous writer in residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2014. Her stories focus on the many issues Indigenous people face, including the importance of cultural preservation and the lasting effects of colonialization.

Recommended reading: The Marrow Thieves

5. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Hailing from Nigeria, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an accomplished writer whose works have been translated into more than 30 languages. Over the course of her career, she has won many awards, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2008 and the PEN Pinter Prize in 2018. Adichie is a strong supporter of feminism and explores cultural identity and women’s issues in many of her books.

Recommended reading: Americanah

6. Firoozeh Dumas

Firoozeh Dumas is the author of several bestselling books for all ages, including Laughing Without an Accent and It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel. As a child, Dumas lived in Iran and the United States, moving back and forth a few times before finally settling in Newport Beach, California. Her debut memoir Funny in Farsi narrates her experiences growing up between cultures, from her family’s fascination with American consumerism to the bigotry she endured during the Iranian Revolution. Currently, Dumas writes for magazines and is active on the lecture circuit.

Recommended reading: Funny in Farsi

7. Imbolo Mbue

A native of Limbe, Cameroon, Imbolo Mbue is a breakout author based in New York City. She moved to the United States to pursue a higher education, completing her undergraduate studies at Rutgers University and earning a master’s degree from Columbia University. Her debut novel Behold the Dreamers tells the stories of two families navigating the 2008 financial crisis and tackles themes of transition, privilege, and the American Dream. Behold the Dreamers won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was named an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

Recommended reading: Behold the Dreamers

8. Isabel Allende

Chilean American writer Isabel Allende is an international literary star. Her books have been translated into more than 42 languages and have sold over 74 million copies worldwide. Following the traditions of many Latin American authors, Allende employs elements of magical realism in several of her works. After the unexpected death of her daughter, Paula Frias, in 1996, Allende founded the Isabel Allende Foundation, a charity committed to empowering women and girls worldwide. Proceeds from her book sales go towards funding the foundation’s grants.

Recommended reading: The House of the Spirits

9. Jacqueline Woodson

Ever since she was a child, Jacqueline Woodson has loved writing stories, a topic that she deftly explores in her acclaimed memoir-in-verse, Brown Girl Dreaming. Woodson has won multiple awards for her children’s and young adult novels, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Newbery Honor Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Caldecott Medal. She was named the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate in 2015.

Recommended reading: Brown Girl Dreaming

10. Jewell Parker Rhodes

Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes is a multiple award-winning author and professor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Writing for both children and adults, Dr. Rhodes has published more than 10 novels and writing guides, including Ghost Boys, winner of the 2019 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Dr. Rhodes is the founding Artistic Director and Piper Endowed Chair at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, an inclusive, creative space for the Phoenix area’s writing community.

Recommended reading: Ghost Boys

11. Jhumpa Lahiri

Born in London and raised in Kingston, Rhode Island, Jhumpa Lahiri is a novelist and a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. In 2000, her debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her first novel, The Namesake, was adapted into a movie in 2006. Lahiri’s work often focuses on the Bengali immigrant experience in America. She currently writes stories in both English and Italian.

Recommended reading: The Namesake

12. Ji-li Jiang

Born in Shanghai, China in 1954, Ji-li Jiang endured the chaotic days of the Cultural Revolution, a feat described in her acclaimed memoir, Red Scarf Girl. In 2003, she founded Cultural Exchange International, an organization dedicated to promoting cultural understanding and friendship between China and the West. Today, Ji-li Jiang continues to publish children’s books, including The Magical Monkey King and the award-winning Red Kite, Blue Kite. She currently lives in California.

Recommended reading: Red Scarf Girl

13. Julia Alvarez

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Julia Alvarez and her family moved to New York in 1960 to escape political persecution. Having been just 10 years old at the time of this transition, Alvarez struggled to fit into American society. Many of Alvarez’s novels and poems are inspired by her experiences with loneliness, prejudice, and homesickness. Her first novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, won the 1992 PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and her second novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, was nominated for the 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Recommended reading: How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

14. Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka is best known for her novels that explore the history of Japanese Americans. Born and raised in California, Otsuka started her career as a painter before becoming a writer at the age of 30. Her first book, When the Emperor Was Divine, is loosely based on her family’s horrific imprisonment at the Topaz internment camp during World War II. Otsuka’s second novel, The Buddha in the Attic, illustrates the diverse experiences of Japanese picture brides who came to America in the early 1900s. The Buddha in the Attic won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2012.

Recommended reading: When the Emperor Was Divine

15. Laurie Halse Anderson

Although Laurie Halse Anderson began her career as an author by writing picture books, she is known best for her young adult novels, including her groundbreaking book Speak. In 2019, Anderson published Shout, a poetic memoir that reflects on how little our culture has changed for survivors of sexual assault in the years following Speak’s publication. An advocate for intellectual freedom, Laurie has been recognized by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. Currently, Anderson serves as a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council.

Recommended reading: Speak

16. Leslie Marmon Silko

A poet, novelist, and essayist, Leslie Marmon Silko is considered a pillar of the modern Native American literary movement. Growing up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation near Albuquerque, Silko developed a fondness for storytelling after listening to countless tales told by her grandmother. In 1969, she received a BA in English at the University of New Mexico. Silko’s collection of work explores issues affecting many Native Americans, including the importance of cultural traditions and the intricacies of mixed-race heritage.

Recommended reading: Ceremony

17. Margaret Atwood

The daughter of an entomologist, Margaret Atwood spent her early years in the wilderness of northern Quebec before moving to Toronto when she was seven years old. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree at Radcliffe College in Massachusetts. A prolific writer, Atwood has written over 40 books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays and has received dozens of awards. The Handmaid’s Tale is arguably her most famous novel to date. Its long-awaited sequel, The Testaments, was published in 2019.

Recommended reading: The Handmaid's Tale

18. Marjane Satrapi

Born in Rasht, Iran, Marjane Satrapi grew up during the Iranian Revolution and subsequent Iran-Iraq War during the early 1980s. Worried for her safety, Satrapi’s family sent her to Europe when she was a teenager. Later in life, she documented her adolescent experiences in her acclaimed comic, Persepolis. Satrapi also co-wrote and co-directed the animated film adaptation of Persepolis, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2007. Satrapi currently lives in Paris, France.

Recommended reading: Persepolis

19. Meg Medina

An award-winning Cuban American author, Meg Medina has written a number of picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult novels. Her first picture book, Tía Isa Wants a Car, won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writers Award in 2012. Drawing from her heritage, Medina features Latina girls and Latino families throughout her collection of work. She serves on the National Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books.

Recommended reading: Burn Baby Burn

20. Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn and worked in the financial sector for nearly 20 years before she pursued her true passion: writing. Now a New York Times bestselling author and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner, Yoon is one of young adult literature’s biggest stars. Both of her novels, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star, have been adapted into movies. Yoon is also a member of the We Need Diverse Books team.

Recommended reading: The Sun is Also a Star

21. Ruta Sepetys

Lithuanian American author Ruta Sepetys is an acclaimed writer whose works have been published in over 60 countries. Passionate about forgotten history, Sepetys weaves together fiction and reality in each of her novels—Out of the Easy, Between Shades of Gray, Salt to the Sea, and The Fountains of Silence—to give voices to those no longer able to tell their stories. In 2013, Sepetys was presented with the Knight’s Cross of the Order by the President of Lithuania in recognition for her commitment to educating a global audience about Baltic history.

Recommended reading: Salt to the Sea

22. Sandra Cisneros

Known for her masterfully crafted stories of culture and identity, Sandra Cisneros is considered one of the most famous Chicana writers of our time. She received a BA from Loyola University in 1976 and an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1978. Over the course of her career, Cisneros has been awarded prestigious awards, including a Texas Medal of the Arts, the PEN Center West Award for Best Fiction of 1991, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Recommended reading: The House on Mango Street

23. Tomi Adeyemi

The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Tomi Adeyemi is an author and creative writing coach based in San Diego. Adeyemi graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature. Her debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone, won the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. A fantastical tale inspired by West African mythology, Children of Blood and Bone is the first in Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orïsha trilogy.

Recommended reading: Children of Blood and Bone

24. Thanhhà Lại

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Thanhhà Lại immigrated to the United States in 1975. Her award-winning novel-in-verse Inside Out & Back Again draws from her childhood struggles as a wartime refugee in Alabama. In 2005, Lại started a nonprofit organization called Viet Kids Inc. that purchases and distributes bicycles to underprivileged students in Vietnam. Her latest book, Butterfly Yellow, won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2020. Lại currently lives in upstate New York.

Recommended reading: Inside Out & Back Again

25. Yaa Gyasi

Originally from Mampong, Ghana, Yaa Gyasi was raised in Huntsville, Alabama. As a child, she developed a love of reading and writing that would eventually evolve into a full-fledged profession. She received a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Homegoing, her debut novel, won the prestigious American Book Award in 2017. This year, Gyasi won the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, an award presented to foreign-born US residents who have demonstrated outstanding achievement early in their careers.

Recommended reading: Homegoing

Let’s keep the list going! Which ladies of literature speak the most to you? Let us know in the comments below!