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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
  6. Juliet Kemp – Permaculture in Pots
  7. G X Todd – Defender
  8. Paula Block – Labyrinth : The Ultimate Visual History
  9. Sally Morgan – Living on One Acre or Less
  10. Cassandra Khaw – Food of the Gods (reviewed)
  11. Tanith Lee – Forests of the Night
  12. Sammy HK Smith – In Search of Gods and Heroes (reviewed)
  13. Zen Cho – Sorcerer to the Crown
  14. Frances Kay – Dollywagglers (reviewed)
  15. Lucy Hounsom – Starborn
  16. Cassie Liversedge – Homegrown Tea
  17. Claire Arrowsmith – Brain Games for Dogs


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


Fantasy Book Cafe are running their annual Women in SFF Month throughout April and they are looking for recommendations of female SFF authors – they want thousands of them, so this is a good chance for you to vote for your favourites!


Well I’m nearly done for the year, even though I’ve read less books in general than I usually do because of all the chaotic life stuff going on. So I’m quite pleased with that and hoping I can add a few more names to this list before the end of the year!


CHALLENGE COMPLETE! Not only complete, but blitzed through with two-and-a-bit months to go. How are you all getting on?