March 8th is International Women’s Day, so to celebrate we asked authors to tell us what they hope to see in literature for women this year!
I’d love to see more releases by Australian female authors as I can’t get enough! We are lucky to have so many talented authors who are telling stories that any Australian (and many international readers) can relate to. It’s important for us to capture elements of the Australian past and present for us to enjoy, learn from and be inspired by. More of these, please!
Between the bushfires and the continuing drought, it already has been a tough year. So, as each reader would be different and each genre too, I hope to see stories that provide whatever someone may need at that moment whether it be escape, empowerment, laughter or insight and clarity.
Lots and lots of happy ever afters! But I’d really love to see more books by authors of colour and other minority groups hit the shelves this year too. And I’ll just get a tiny bit political (hey, I’ve only recently finished a PhD on Romance and Feminism) — I’d like to see female solidarity highlighted rather than female animosity and rivalry. I want to read books where women build each other up rather than tear each other down (whether they’re in love with the same guy or not). I also think it’d be very cool to see slut-shaming in romance novels become a thing of the past.
I’d love to see more of the domestic suspense novels that are being published at the moment. It would be great to see more of these optioned for film and television—all those awesome strong female leads!
In a word – diversity. Women are intelligent and thoughtful and enjoy stories from crime to fantasy to romance and humour and techno-thrillers. We bond with characters of all ages, and sizes, sexual orientation and cultural backgrounds. As both a writer and a reader, I want to open my mind to stories that match the wonderful and infinite diversity of this world of ours.
It’s been great to see so many stories published that focus on important women in history, and accounts of the ‘everyday’ women who formed such a crucial role in Australian society in the 20th Century. Novels such as Victoria Purman’s The Last of the Bonegilla Girls and The Land Girls highlight the challenges and achievements of women in these times.
Empowerment. I believe literature has come a long way and not only reflects modern society’s values but also helps shape values. I wrote a blog on this in 2018 as I feel very strongly that as women should be empowered to use our voices to express ourselves and live our lives as we choose. I hope that the trend of strong, empowered women in literature continues.
Diversity! Novels with a wide breadth of characters and settings and situations.
I hope to see more stories that showcase diversity and readers being open to reading things outside their comfort spaces and publishers being open to stories that encompass the human experience and romance in all its forms being written by writers from all different backgrounds. Romance writers and readers have been so good at embracing and owning changes in the industry and now we really need to embrace and own the need for diverse stories told by a diverse range of voices.
Older heroines. A grumpy female character in the make of Clint Eastwood in Gran Tourino.
My hope for women’s literature is already happening. For years I was unhappy with the way many books pitted the female characters against each other. I didn’t understand why fictional women were always enemies, while in real life we usually support each other and have close relationships.
There has been a big transformation recently, where more and more female characters are friends and relatives who stick up for and support each other. It’s an important aspect I try to include in my books.
My wish for 2020 is to see that trend continue.
I truly believe we are spoilt for choice when it comes to literature for women. And about women. Written by women. Stories covering a variety of ages, of experiences, of cultures, of backgrounds, of challenges, of points of view. Long may that continue.