Feminist Fiction

Discover feminist fiction titles written between 1965-1995.

Inland Passage

Inland Passage Jane Rule the Naiad Press 1985 Why does Dulce have so profound an impact on the artistic lives around her? A lesbian has ended her conventional marriage and is free – or is she? In the most traditional of romantic settings, on board a ship that travels the Inland Passage, two women discover…

I Never Told Her I Loved Her

I Never Told Her I Loved Her Sandra Chick The Women’s Press 1989 “You’ll miss me one day”, her Mum said. “When you’re dead I’ll be able to do what I want! I can’t wait”, Frankie had replied. Now her Mother is dead and Frankie remembers these words, and others. She feels totally lost, wondering…

The Leech

The Leech Cora Sandel The Women’s Press 1986 As a young woman, Dondi left her home in the Norwegian south for a small town inside the Arctic Circle, to marry Gregor, then a promising young writer. Now, more than a decade later, her children are rebellious, her husband is less than famous, she is miserable…

The Marquise and the Novice

The Marquise and the Novice Victoria Ramstetter the Naiad Press 1981 Acolyte Kathleen Thorn leaves the security and pent up frustration of the nunnery to become a governess for the only child of a wilful, beautiful and mysterious Marquise Annaliese. She becomes entangled in the web of mysteries surrounding the dark and seductive woman and…

Vital Ties

Vital Ties Karen Kringle Spinsters Ink 1992 In her rural Wisconsin community in the 1950s, 20-year-old Clare Lewis’s determination to own her own farm is ridiculed as beyond a woman’s abilities. No bank will grant her a loan, and her father plans to leave the family dairy farm to her mediocre brother Harry. Unexpectedly, Clare’s…

A February Mourning

A February Mourning Hannah Wakefield The Women’s Press 1990 Solicitor-sleuth Dee Street is back and up to her neck in trouble. She doesn’t know where she is, only that she’s lying imprisoned in darkness, either dying or drugged. She has a client in Holloway charged with murder; she’s inherited an unwanted Irish terrorist case from…

Out On The Plain

Out On The Plain Frankie Finn The Women’s Press 1984 Out On The Plain concerns the developing links between four women: Rebecca, a painter; Jane, a patient in a mental hospital; Helen, a university student; and Elsie, the woman who cleans her campus room. The women meet and come together, not so much in the…

Dry Your Smile

Dry Your Smile Robin Morgan Doubleday & Company 1987 Before she even turned fourteen, Julian Travis made enough money as a TV star to support her mother for life in an apartment in one of Manhattan’s best buildings. But now, Julian is in her midforties and things are not so glamorous or easy. Her mother…

Death by Analysis

Death by Analysis Gillian Slovo The Women’s Press 1986 When psychoanalyst Paul Holland is found dead in mysterious circumstances, private detective Kate Baeier is called in to investigate. The hunt for the killer leads from elegant Belsize Park to the streets of Hackney, until Kate uncovers a desperate web of intrigue and a powerful police…

Rapunzel’s Revenge: Fairytales for Feminists

Rapunzel’s Revenge: Fairytalesfor Feminists Anne Claffey,Linda Kavanagh,Sue Russell (eds) Attic Press 1985 Rapunzel’s Revenge is a feminist re-writing of fairy tales which has Mary Maher revealing that Snow White organised the seven dwarves into a trade union, Maeve Binchy exposing Cinderella’s prince as a foot fetishist, and a truly gifted Joni Crone showing that feminist…

Anna’s Country: A Lesbian Love Story

Anna’s Country: A LesbianLove Story Elizabeth Lang the Naiad Press 1981 Arriving in a small town in Upper New York State with her husband and children, Anna Johnson is befriended by her neighbor, nursery owner Hope Alford. When Anna is brutalized by her husband it is to Hope that she flees for shelter, tries to…

Mercy

Mercy Andrea Dworkin Thunder’s Mouth Press 1990 If Andrea Dworkin is the Malcolm X of feminism, then this novel is her version of his autobiography… She is brilliant, her anger is a polished and dangerous instrument, and even some of the people she’s marked as enemies can hope she finds her way. Madison Smartt Bell,…

Ice and Fire

Ice and Fire Andrea Dworkin HarperCollins 1987 From Publishers Weekly: In Ice and Fire, the unnamed narrator, writing in the first person, begins her story in Camden, N.J., where boys who play the most popular street game ‘witch’ try to catch, cage and string up a little girl. The scene shifts to a New England…

The Women’s Room

The Women’s Room Marilyn French Summit Books 1977 From Wikipedia: The Women’s Room is the debut novel by American feminist author Marilyn French, published in 1977. It launched French as a major participant in the feminist movement and, while French states it is not autobiographical, the book reflects many autobiographical elements. For example, French, like the main character, Mira,…

The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin Walker and Company 1969 From Wikipedia: The Left Hand of Darkness is a science fiction novel by U.S. writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Published in 1969, it became immensely popular, and established Le Guin’s status as a major author of science fiction. The novel is set in the fictional Hainish universe as part of…

The Color Purple

The Color Purple Alice Walker Harcourt 1982 From Wikipedia: Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of African-American women in the Southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library…

A is for Alibi

A is for Alibi Sue Grafton Henry Holt 1982 From Wikipedia:“A” Is for Alibi is crime writer Sue Grafton’s debut mystery novel in the Kinsey Millhone “Alphabet mystery” series, first published in 1982. The novel is set in the fictional southern California city of Santa Teresa, based on Santa Barbara. The choice of murder by substituting the contents of an antihistamine tablet with crushed oleander meant…

Rubyfruit Jungle

Rubyfruit Jungle Rita Mae Brown Daughters 1973 From Wikipedia: Rubyfruit Jungle is the first novel by Rita Mae Brown. Published in 1973, it was remarkable in its day for its explicit portrayal of lesbianism. The novel is a coming-of-age autobiographical account of Brown’s youth and emergence as a lesbian author. The term “rubyfruit jungle” is…

The Female Man

|| The Female Man Joanna Russ Bantam Books 1975 From Wikipedia: The novel follows the lives of four women living in parallel worlds that differ in time and place. When they cross over to each other’s worlds, their different views on gender roles startle each other’s preexisting notions of womanhood. In the end, their encounters…

Woman at Point Zero

Woman at Point Zero Nawal El Saadawi Zed Books 1975 From Wikipedia: Woman at Point Zero is a novel by Nawal El Saadawi published in Arabic in 1975. The novel is based on Saadawi’s meeting with a female prisoner in Qanatir Prison and is the first-person account of Firdaus, a murderess who has agreed to tell her life story…

Women of Wonder: Science Fiction Stories by Women About Women

Women of Wonder: Science FictionStories by Women About Women Pamela Sargent Vintage Books 1974 In Women of Wonder, Pamela Sargent has assembled a collection of amazing stories which show that some of the most exciting and innovative writing in science fiction is being produced by women. Women in Science Fiction (1975) essay by Pamela SargentThe Child…

Patience and Sarah

Patience and Sarah Alma Routsong(Isabel Miller) Ballantine Books 1969 From Wikipedia: Patience and Sarah is a 1969 historical fiction novel with strong lesbian themes by Alma Routsong, using the pen name Isabel Miller. It was originally self-published under the title A Place For Us and eventually found a publisher as Patience and Sarah in 1971. Routsong’s novel is based on a real-life painter named Mary Ann Willson who lived…

Benefits

Benefits Zoe Fairbairns Virago 1979 From Zoe Fairbairns: Benefits is fiction – the tale of a group of women and men living through momentous and sometimes sinister political changes – but it grew out of fact: in particular, an episode in UK national politics in 1976 which seemed to prove beyond doubt the truth of the…

Tea and Tranquillisers: The Diary of a Happy Housewife

Tea and Tranquillisers: The Diary of a Happy Housewife Diane Harpwood Virago 1981 Sharp observation and biting wit characterise this brilliant fictional diary of a housewife. We meet our heroine ten years into marriage, negotiating the perils of daily domestic routine – the drama and boredom, frustrations and fulfillments of life as a wife and…

Nervous Conditions

Nervous Conditions Tsitsi Dangarembga The Women’s Press 1988 A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, this novel brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. An extraordinarily well-crafted work, this book is a work of vision.…

Shapeshifter

Shapeshifter Pauline Melville The Women’s Press 1990 A collection of short stories dealing with post-colonial life in the Caribbean, notably in the author’s native Guyana, as well as of some stories set in London. Many of the characters, most of them displaced people from former colonies struggling to come to terms with a new life…

The Gilda Stories

The Gilda Stories Jewelle Gomez Firebrand Books 1991 From Wikipedia: The Gilda Stories is the debut novel of American author and activist Jewelle Gomez. Published in 1991, this speculative fiction vampire novel follows the experiences of a black bisexual heroine whose power and morality challenge assumptions about the vampire myth. Readers see this central character travel through time and lead multiple lives.  The Gilda…

The Unbelonging

The Unbelonging Joan Riley The Women’s Press 1985 The Unbelonging is a moving story of self-discovery and survival. It tells of an 11 year old girl, who finds herself in a land of strangers with hers the only black face in a sea of white, after being summoned to Britain by the father she has…

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1970 The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue…

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys WW Norton & Company 1966 From Wikipedia: Wide Sargasso Sea is a 1966 novel by Dominica-born British author Jean Rhys. It is a feminist and anti-colonial response to Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre (1847), describing the background to Mr. Rochester’s marriage from the point-of-view of his mad wife Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress. Antoinette Cosway is Rhys’ version of…

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem Maryse Condé Mercure de France 1986 This wild and entertaining novel expands on the true story of the West Indian slave Tituba, who was accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, arrested in 1692, and forgotten in jail until the general amnesty for witches two years later. Maryse Condé brings…

Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories

Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories Olive Senior Longman 1989 Arrival of the Snake-Woman by Jamaican-born Olive Senior narrates the story of an isolated child who is coming to terms with the strange, harsh ways of the adult world. From Encyclopedia.com: In the story, “snake-woman” is the name given by black Jamaicans to young…

A Small Place

A Small Place Jamaica Kincaid Virago 1988 From Wikipedia: A Small Place is a 1988 work of creative nonfiction published by Jamaica Kincaid. A book-length essay drawing on Kincaid’s experiences growing up in Antigua, it can be read as an indictment of the Antiguan government, the tourist industry and Antigua’s British colonial legacy. But some natives–most natives in the world–cannot go anywhere. They…

Coming to Birth

Coming to Birth Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye Virago 1987 In this quietly powerful and eminently readable novel, Kenyan writer Marjorie Macgoye deftly interweaves the story of one young woman’s tumultuous coming of age with the history of a nation emerging from colonialism. At the age of sixteen, Paulina leaves her small village in western Kenya to…

A Question of Power

A Question of Power Bessie Head Heinemann 1974 In the village of Motabeng, Botswana – the place of sand – Elizabeth and her son have made their new home, far away from their old life in South Africa. But the past cannot be conveniently left behind at the border. Even though she may be free…

Maru

Maru Bessie Head McCall Publishing Company 1971 An African love story and statement on racial & tribal prejudice, set in mid-twentieth century Botswana. An orphaned Masarwa girl comes to Dilepe to teach, only to discover that in this remote Botswana village her people are treated as outcasts. In the love story and intrigue that follow,…

Second Class Citizen

Second Class Citizen Buchi Emecheta Allison & Busby 1974 From Wikipedia: Second Class Citizen is a 1974 novel by Nigerian writer Buchi Emecheta. A poignant story of a resourceful Nigerian woman who overcomes strict tribal domination of women and countless setbacks to achieve an independent life for herself and her children, the novel is often…

So Long A Letter

So Long A Letter Mariama Bâ Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines du Sénéga 1979 From Wikipedia: So Long a Letter (French: Une si longue lettre) is a semi-autobiographical epistolary novel originally written in French by the Senegalese writer Mariama Bâ. Its theme is the condition of women in Western African society. So Long a Letter, Mariama Bâ’s first novel, is literally written…

Clear Light of Day

Clear Light of Day Anita Desai Harper & Row 1980 From Wikipedia: Clear Light of Day is a novel published in 1980 by Indian novelist Anita Desai. Set primarily in Old Delhi, the story describes the tensions in a post-partition Indian family, starting with the characters as adults and moving back into their lives throughout the course of…

Rich Like Us

Rich Like Us Nayantara Sahgal Heinemann 1985 From Wikipedia: Rich Like Us is a historical and political fiction novel by Nayantara Sahgal. Set in New Delhi during the chaotic time between 1932 and the mid-1970s, it follows the lives of two female protagonists, Rose and Sonali, and their fight to live in a time of political upheaval and social…

One is Enough

One is Enough Flora Nwapa AKM 1981 One is Enough is a fictional story written by Flora Nwapa, one of Nigeria’s pioneering woman novelist. It is a powerful and compelling story of one woman’s struggle to find an independent and fulfilling life of her own. After six years of happy, though childless marriage, Amaka, at…

The Wanderground

The Wanderground Sally Miller Gearhart Persephone Press 1979 From Wikipedia: The Wanderground is a speculative fiction novel by Sally Miller Gearhart, published in 1979 by Persephone Press. It is Gearhart’s first and most famous novel, and continues to be used in Women’s Studies classes as a characteristic example of the separatist feminism movement from the…

She Had Some Horses

She Had Some Horses Joy Harjo Thunder’s Mouth Press 1982 First published in 1983 and now considered a classic, Creek Indian Joy Harjo explores womanhood’s most intimate moments in this collection of poetry. Harjo’s prose speaks of women’s despair, of their imprisonment and ruin at the hands of men and society, but also of their awakenings,…

Sanaaq: An Inuit Novel

Sanaaq: An Inuit Novel Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk Association Inuksiutiit 1984 From the University of Manitoba Press: Sanaaq is an intimate story of an Inuit family negotiating the changes brought into their community by the coming of the qallunaat, the white people. Composed in 48 episodes, it recounts the daily life of Sanaaq, a strong and outspoken young widow,…