In celebrating women’s history this month, we should be putting special emphasis on the women who pioneered the literary world, both nationally and internationally. There is no greater way to understand history than exploring stories detailing the experiences of women around the world. March 8 is International Women’s Day—though, in my opinion, women should be celebrated every day, but I’ll take any excuse to hype up female authors any chance I get.
Across the African diaspora, literary geniuses have given us perspectives on love, loss, family and triumph. Yrsa Daley-Ward’s poetry collection, bone, explores the pressures of first-generation responsibilities and how they shaped her down to the bone. Meanwhile, ZZ Packer’s debut collection of short stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, gives readers perspectives of people of color across the globe and what it means to dream.
Sisterhood and family are laid out in Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi and The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Wiel. Both follow two sets of sisters navigating generational trauma in Rwanda and the Gold Coast, respectfully, their escape to America and how that changed their relationships.
And of course, on this International Women’s Day (and every day) we celebrate Toni Morrison, one of the most influential women across the literature world as a whole, and her exploration of friendship, love and betrayal in her 1973 novel, Sula.