Fearless Female Authors


The courage, strength, and resilience of the female spirit are extraordinary. In celebration of International Women’s Day—and to kick off US National Reading Month—Turnitin has compiled a list of just a few of our favorite fearless female authors. These women and their stories have inspired us, empowered us, and guided us on our journey in many meaningful ways. Take a look below at the names and books that have been shared and loved throughout our company. Who knows? You might end up expanding your reading list and finding your own inspiration and courage.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I devoured Americanah and Adichie's compelling exploration of identity. I encourage anyone who values powerful storytelling to check it out. - Leslie Briggs, Senior Product Marketing Manager (Oakland, CA)

Judy Blume ignited generations of readers with her willingness to openly talk about the trials of adolescence with humor and honesty.  SE Hinton captured teenage angst in a way no author before (or frankly since!) has ever accomplished. The combination of these two writers, guided countless young readers like me, through the lonely and awkward growing years. Reading Are You there God? It's Me, Margaret or The Outsiders as an adult, instantly transports you back to the mind of your younger self. Be careful, you might even find your face breaking out again.  - Kelly Barna, Relationship Manager (Oakland, CA)

Ursula Hegi: Born in 1946 in the heavily bombed Dusseldorf, Germany, Hegi's upbringing came at a time post-WWII in which society forbade discussing topics of war and The Holocaust amid the obvious aftermath of horror. As a student of this tension, her style manages to capture the haunting essence of The Holocaust -- blending harrowing tension with evocative and nearly cinematic warmth. Her stories present a context in which she capably portrays the intimacies of family bonds, undercurrents of social change and vivid imagery of a world rebuilding itself. - River Lune, Senior Engineering Manager (Oakland, CA)

Jane Austen: I fell in love with Jane Austen after arbitrarily selecting an undergraduate course dedicated to her collected works. Her lesser known novel Persuasion is my favorite and offers a surprisingly relatable social commentary from the female perspective on the slings and arrows of romance, given that it was published over 200 years ago. It painfully illustrates heroine Anne Elliot's perseverance in the face of hopeless romantic odds as she keeps her composure, despite her inner turmoil and famously tells a male counterpart that women love longest when all hope is gone. When he argues that all poetry and prose maintain that women are romantically fickle, she points out "And are they not all written by men?" I'd like to think that in a post #metoo world, where the systematic silencing of women's voices is being brought to light, if Jane Austen were alive today, she'd be yelling "Time's up!" and standing together in solidarity with her local Women's March. - Jo Lewis, Relationship Manager (Oakland, CA)

Helen Oyeyemi: I have a thing for short story collections. It all started when I read "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor for a college English class. My professor emphasized how in a short story there are no superfluous words or phrases. Oyeyemi's What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a flawless collection of short stories and possibly my favorite book of all time. The characters and stories weave together like a dark, funny dream and not a single word is wasted. - Sam Swink, Technical Program Manager (Oakland, CA)

Gillian Flynn: My favorite fearless female author ironically scares the heck out of me with her unflinching depictions of some truly depraved characters and horrifying plot twists. Flynn's debut novel, Sharp Objects, quite literally took my breath away (I screamed!) with the most believable and terrifying female villains I've ever read and hope to never meet! - Samantha Hansen, Recruiting Project Manager (Oakland, CA)

Sylvia Plath: As a literature graduate with a particular interest in women's literature, I have many favourite fearless female authors, but Sylvia Plath is the one who stands out, both in terms of her impact on my life and also her impact on writing in general. Her poetry, particularly "Ariel" is closest to my heart and the line "Into the red/Eye, the cauldron of morning" is one I often recite whilst driving at dusk. Sylvia's tragic life is known to many and her poetry graphically captures this turmoil and anguish, but also an amazing and intense power and beauty. - Gill Rowell, Education Manager (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Glennon Doyle Melton is most known for a blog she has been writing for a few years.  However, she has chronicled her life is the most honest and fearless way I have ever had the opportunity to read in Love Warrior.  She inspires me to be open, honest and vulnerable in order to access the truth of who I am and to connect more deeply with those I care about. - Anne Robie, SVP People & Places (Oakland, CA)

Ayn Rand: Although she is best-known for Atlas Shrugged, it was The Fountainhead that stole my heart. Not only did Rand bravely write the novel during World War II, but the level of detail and precision in the narrative made reading it both entertaining and enlightening. It sparked my curiosity to learn more about objectivism based on her main character's display of independence and integrity. - Raquel Villarreal, International Marketing Manager (Mexico City, Mexico)

Karen Armstrong: A former nun-turned-historian, Armstrong's works examine the diversity of religious faith and its role in culture over time. I still remember in her book The Case for God, which I read nine years ago, she showed that the one shared ethical principle across all religions is the Golden Rule of doing unto others as they would do unto you.   - Chris Harrick, VP of Marketing (Oakland, CA)

Sy Montgomery: Her nature books and chronicles build a bridge between our mundane day to day and the magnificent, weird creatures from the wild in such a way that even a convicted city person will love the natural world after reading Sy's perspective. Amazing way to learn science not only with your brain but also with your heart! - Mariana Rutigliano, International Marketing Manager (Oakland, CA, and Santos, Brazil)

Kate Chopin: Taking on issues of race, marital unhappiness, and the oppression of women in the late 1800s, Chopin was ahead of her time and fearless in her handling of Southern culture. Taut narratives and deliberate prose reflect the restrictive world navigated by her protagonists, and though her work created controversy in its time, she persevered in telling the stories of those who were not otherwise heard. - Steph Butler, Director of New Product Development (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harper Lee: There's a reason Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is studied in nearly every high school and continues to be a point of discussion and influence as young adults grow towards adulthood.  The moral message is timeless - all people should be treated equally. In addition to loving Lee's work, I love that this was her only novel for decades. When you've written the greatest novel in American History, do you need to say much else?  - Sheryl Colaur, Field Account Manager K12 (Texas)

J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter WAS my childhood. Rowling’s intricate stories only heightened my love of reading and transported me to a magical world that I desperately wanted to be a part of, not only because of the relatable and complicated characters but because of the story webs that all connected so neatly in the end. As an adult, I have come to appreciate J.K.'s struggle as an author as well as her fearlessness when voicing her opinions, both popular and not, and the sense of nostalgia and wonder that she gave me is still very present whenever Harry Potter is mentioned. - Kristen Lau, Technical Project Manager (Oakland, CA)

Karen Cushman: At a very impressionable age, I had the opportunity to hear Cushman speak in person. I was a voracious reader but had not dived into the historical fiction genre at that point in my reading career. Hearing Cushman speak about being a writer—coupled with her relatable female protagonists—made me embrace a whole new world of literature that I had yet to explore as a young person. - Erin Inkster, Field Account Manager (Oakland, CA)