International Women’s day: 10 Brilliant Feminist Books

In honour of International Women’s Day (8 March), Hannah Bullivant from Seeds and Stitches has pulled together a list of 10 of her favourite intersectional feminist books…

As any bibliophile will know, reading holds a special sort of magic that which can transport us from the humdrum of our everyday to fantastical far off shores or towering intellectual heights. Whether it’s five measly minutes before your traitorous eyes close before bed, an hour long read during your commute in the morning with ear phones plugged firmly in your ears, or a whole sweet evening spent devouring a book that you simply cannot put down, the escapism is always sweet.

The variety of feminist books grows almost daily which is only a good thing for feminism. So in honour of International Women’s Day (8 March), Hannah Bullivant from Seeds and Stitches has pulled together a list of 10 of her favourite intersectional feminist books; a job she swiftly clarifies as a rather onerous one, owing to the huge accomplishments of the literary women who have gone before her.

10 brilliant feminist books and authors

The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

This was life changing for me at when I read it at uni, bringing all of my privilege into sharp focus. It’s a pretty heart breaking portrayal of a young black girl living in America in the 40’s. Femininity, race, beauty and rape are all covered in brilliant prose that makes you think about what motives us. Get it here

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Another life changer, this time in secondary school. It’s a rather terrifying dystopia where fundamental religious extremists are in power and women’s rights have been totally peeled back. It’s also a rollicking good read. (Pretty much anything Margaret Attwood writes is gold. I love her.) Get it here

The Women’s Room - Marilyn FrenchThe Women’s Room – Marilyn French

A sometimes eye-watering account of the domestic drudgery of one woman and her subsequent feminist awakening in the 60s. It will leave you feeling immensely grateful how far we have progressed and for the fight that has happened before us, and also aware of how much there is still to do. Get it here

Boy, Snow, Bird - Helen OyeyemiBoy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi

A beautiful, magical, exploration of womanhood and race. A retelling of snow white. I’m just about to finish this and I feel sort of beguiled. In a deliciously good way. Get it here

Half a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieHalf a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Focusing on a conflict that has been shamefully all but forgotten, the Biafran war in which 3 million people died, it’s an enthralling book that proficiently juxtaposes the depths of human cruelty and the heights of human warmth and love. She also just realised a mini book, based on a popular TED talk called “Why We Should All Be Feminists.”   Which none other than Beyoncé has sampled, so you really have no excuses not to be all over this amazing writer. Get it here

The Bloody Chamber - Angela CarterThe Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter

A collection of short stories inspired by traditional western fairy tales, but given a dark, surreal and often violent telling. These stories are rich in the most detailed and delicious prose, a joy to read from a linguistic point of view, even as they are sometimes uncomfortable in their content. Get it here

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret - Judy BlumeAre You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume

This had to be on here. It was one of the first feminist books I read as a pre-pubescent teen and it taught me that being a woman, one with periods and boobs and even a vagina, is ok. Get it here

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

It’s told from the perspective of Scout Finch, an awesome girl character, frequently breaking out of the stereotypical role girls are supposed to fit in to it. It deals with race, gender, justice and an indefatigable belief in practicing empathy. Get it here

How to be a Woman - Caitlin MoranHow to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

An accessible, hilarious, witty call to arms for all women everywhere. She covers with acerbic wit why we feel the need to get brazillions and botox and why we’re still asked not if, but when we’re having kids, amongst other subjects. Just awesome. Also a good introductory text if you are new to feminist writing. Get it here

A Room of One’s Own - Virginia WoolfA Room of One’s Own Virginia Woolf

An extended essay from the turn of the century that explores women writing, exclusion and underlying gender inequality: “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” A seminal text, yet gentle and at times quite funny (don’t be intimidated!) that in many ways is still relevant today. Get it here

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people | dothandmade

Illustration by Dot Handmade

10 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day

Written by Hannah Bullivant from Seeds and Stitches

Penguin books by heroines