Biographies and Autobiographies of Fascinating Female Writers

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Biographies and Autobiographies of Fascinating Female Writers

Famous books have a way of gripping us and holding on long after we finish them. But what about the lives of the authors who wrote them? Their lives can give new insights into their books and are as fascinating as their words.  The following is a list of biographies and autobiographies that chronicle the lives of amazing women writers.

In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary

Margaret Wise Brown is the famed author of the bedtime book, Good Night, Moon and a pioneer of novelty picture books, like Little Fur Family-- a book that was originally published with a mink fur cover. This fascinating biography takes a look at Margaret’s various tumultuous relationships, her work at the Bank Street Experimental School testing out manuscripts on the students there and how it all influenced her writing. The great depth of this biography shows there’s more than meets the eye to Good Night, Moon and its creator.

Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray by Rosalind Roseburg

This poet, lawyer and social activist isn’t as widely known. However, Pauli Murray should be. If you’re up for a challenge, this extensive book chronicles Murray’s struggles against discrimination in her life, including both gender and race. She also coined the term, “Jane Crow.” For readers interested in the American Civil Rights Movement or Women’s Rights Movement Pauli Murray’s life was a constant struggle against the many injustices in our society and this book accurately paints her outstanding courage in the face of constant adversity.

Looking for Lorraine: the radiant and radical life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry

Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun, but her story is so much more fascinating than just one story. As the theme of her famous play suggests, Hansberry’s life was very focused on social justice--to the point that she was under FBI surveillance in her twenties. While she unfortunately died at the young age of thirty-four, this biography is packed with details about her fascinating life such as growing up in the 1930’s in Chicago, her father went to the supreme court over his right to purchase a home, her struggles as an activist and her courage in joining one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations. As a New York Times notable book of 2018 and winner of several other awards, this biography is well worth a read. 

Louisa May Alcott by Susan Cheever

Many people are familiar with this author of the beloved classic, Little Women. But few know that Louisa May Alcott resisted her publisher’s pleas to pen the tale of Meg, Amy, Beth and Jo. Unlike Jo, Alcott never married. She once said, “I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe.” As a feminist, abolitionist and environmentalist, Alcott also supported the Civil War effort through working as a nurse. This book explains this fascinating author and how her life differed and yet also related to the famed Little Women

A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros

This short book of essays is an autobiography, chronicling the life of the author of famed, The House on Mango Street. In her characteristic lyrical style, Cisneros imparts memories and offers her artistic and intellectual influences. Covering thirty years, these quick musings include memories of her family and unpublished work, will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading. 

Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy Tan
This book is also an autobiography. Tan links her memories to her creative journey in a way that creates a philosophical statement on the pursuit of imagination. She turns family stories inside out in her soothing, humorous and empathetic manner that helps readers not only gain insight about Tan’s life, but also their own creative journeys.