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For the last three years, I have been challenging myself to read more new-to-me female authors – at least 12 a year, and review the ones I enjoy the most to share my discoveries.

In 2016 I read 64 books, of which 26 were single-author novels by women (I read four anthologies edited by women too, but they don’t count for the purposes of the challenge.) I gave eight books five stars on Goodreads this year, and six of those eight were by women, so that’s a pretty good showing. Best discoveries of the year were Naomi Novik, Emmi Itaranta, Genevive Cogman and Octavia Butler.

This year I’m also going to try to read some women I really should have read already but somehow haven’t, people like C J Cherryh, Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree Jr), Lois McMaster Bujold and Joanna Russ. There are some significant gaps in my reading!

This year’s challenge will also be made slightly more challenging by the fact that I’m moving house and half my books are already in boxes. So that’s going to be fun – my urge to re-read Postcards from the Edge has already been thwarted by my having no idea what box it’s in. But I’ll give it a go!

If you want to join in with the annual challenge you are welcome to. I figure it’s not hard, whether you read 30 books a year, or 60, or 100, to make sure you read one book a month by a female author you’ve never read before, in any genre, fiction or non fiction – there are a lot of books out there, after all!

I’ll update the list on this page, and as I post reviews I’ll link to them, and we’ll see if we can’t get some more of that discoverability going. If you feel that your reading list needs more women on it, or you just want to discover some great new writers, why not join in with the challenge, share your lists and see how you get on? You might discover some awesome new books, and you’ll be helping to promote awesome female writers at the same time – everybody wins!

ETA – A certain amount of these books might be about gardening or DIY….


  1. Pammy Riggs – Keeping Chickens for Dummies
  2. Lois McMaster Bujold – The Sharing Knife : Beguilement
  3. Kim Gordon – Girl In A Band
  4. Tricia Sullivan – Shadowboxer (reviewed)
  5. Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) – Parasite


This interesting article had just popped up on my Twitter feed – may feature a few books that have been undeservedly forgotten….