It's International Women's Day, the perfect day for some kind of literary roundup, amiright? (I am). However, when I began scouring my bookshelves (and the internet) for 16 books for International Women's Day 2016, I found myself snagged on the theme, if you will.
Sure, it would be easy to whip up a list of writers who are also women who also "exist, occur, or carry on between two or more nations," but International Women's Day is about more than that. As part of a world celebration of women, it seems appropriate to devote several spots on this list to marginalized voices — minority women from countries other than the United States who don't get nearly enough visibility and recognition for the important work they've done or are continuing to do.
There's also something to be said for writers who have devoted their lives and craft to their nations of origin because pride and identity are valuable parts of today's celebration. Lastly, there's this year's International Women's Day theme, #PledgeForParity, a call to arms for those who can affect progress towards equality — socially, economically, culturally and politically.
So, in all encompassing honor of International Women's Day, here are sixteen books that celebrate the powerful work of women whose voices have risen up despite disparity and marginalization, that write with an affinity for their nations of origin, and that evoke this year's International Women's Day Theme.
I could have give you all a lot more of my own rambling about this or that book — how I weep I hear Fatimah Asghar read one of her poems from After, how there are lines from Valerie Martin's Property burned into my mind that will be there forever — but I'm not going to. These women deserve ten thousand Google searches. Today and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Please join me in the comments and share your favorite books by women writers. I'll be updating this piece throughout the evening with your picks. Happy reading and Happy #internationalwomensday