As I sit here with my physical tbr in front of me, typing up this new post I’ve thought about regarding female authors I immediately feel a little guilty that perhaps even I don’t spread out my reading to include enough female authors within SFF.
Now, not to put myself in a noose, I’ll explain what I mean. I’ve got books in front of me that I have yet to read by female authors such as Robin Hobb, Fonda Lee, Becky Chambers, Andrea Stewart, Temi Oh, Sammy HK Smith and Leigh Bardugo. It’s just that there are a lot more male authors sitting in my physical TBR (to be read): 27 different male authors and 10 different female authors. That’s almost three times the number of male to female authors.
I have read books by Fonda Lee, Thilde Kold Holdt, Alice James, Enid Blyton, JK Rowling, Becky Chambers and others and I’m currently reading two books which you can find at the bottom of some of the pages of this blog on my Goodreads widget. One of them is by a new female debut author called Jadie Jang and is an Urban Fantasy retelling of the Chinese story – The Monkey King:
However, I feel like maybe I am not exploring enough (although I just buy the stories that I hear about and this leads me onto my next point).
My issue and the reason I wanted to write this post is because of what I mentioned a moment ago – there are a lot more well known male authors and this in itself is the problem. Of course it might be true that there is just more male authors and thus more of them will be well known but then is this a circle that needs to be broken since the issues that are causing more female authors from being celebrated is the same issue women face in every industry – gender inequality.
I think that people, and I would confidently point the finger at mainly the guys here, need to learn to overcome prejudice and stigmas and celebrate female authors as much as they celebrate their opposites. This isn’t to say they’re not celebrated, no – Robin Hobb won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, presented for outstanding service to the fantasy field recently – so while recognition is there, it’s just not as widespread as for male authors.
I think the problem exists and has existed for a long time. If you travel back in history, women were not allowed to do certain things or sometimes much at all. This put men in the forefront of everything, including of course writing. This has then set women up to play second choice in many industries in today’s world including writing SFF stories (but I expect that the opposite is true for romance novels and maybe there is an idea for an article for a romance blogger). I’ve seen comments from people who need to be educated (no-one I follow) about female authors and how they “won’t write good books”, “only write romance” or that “their stuff isn’t epic enough” or immature comments like “What do they know about fantasy?” etc
It’s easy to see that if those same people who consciously avoid female written stories gave a female written fantasy book the time of day (If you’re reading this and are one of those people please try Northern Wrath or Jade City), that women write brilliant fucking books. Epic stuff and just as well as their equal male counterparts in SFF. The popularity of The Poppy War trilogy is recent evidence of this. Female authors need to be given a chance by readers who might overlook them because of their name or silly assumptions (“they only write romance”). It only causes to damage the book industry, your own experiences, sales for aspiring female authors and their publishers which in turn will lead to lower paying contracts or more likely cancellation of future contract, and future girls who want to take up a pen and create not to mention of course the pay gap where female authors are offered less by publishing houses because the market is better catered to men. ( – especially for non-white authors (including non-white men) as outlined with a thread from June 2020 on Twitter with the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe.)
Great SFF stories are not just limited to a handful of well known and recognised female authors and I would implore any guy (or girl) reading this to try out books by any of the aforementioned authors because in there you will find some amazing stories. I know because I’ve read them. In fact, two of my most sought after books that are coming out this last quarter are Shackled Fates and Jade Legacy, both written by female authors.
So if you take anything away from my rambling article, please make a conscious decision today to join in reading female authors in SFF and let’s help create a balanced SFF field where great stories are heard, regardless of gender.
If you’d like to explore SFF books by female authors, here is Bookriot’s 100 must read SFF books by women listed here on Goodreads.
If you like science fiction and fantasy books then consider joining The Oasis Discord here – it’s free and has a great community, buddy reads, community reads and much more!
Alternatively, find some articles here to get you started: