March is Women’s History Month, and in honor of Women’s History Month, we get to honor the women out there who have done some extraordinary things, and this includes women in literature. Many writers throughout time have displayed their talents in a way that have changed the world of literature forever.

However, there are far fewer recognized female writers throughout history than male writers. Plenty of amazing literature has been written by extraordinarily talented women. However, male writers have generally been given most of the awards and attention. Times are changing, though, and we are all for it.

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With renowned writers such as Haruki Murakami shining light on fantastic female talent, more women in literature have the opportunity to come into the spotlight. Murakami had the opportunity to give the name of Mieko Kawakami as his favorite debut novelist. Kawakami is best known for her books Breasts and Eggs and Ms. Ice Sandwich. It might not seem like a big deal for Murakami to give a woman’s name as the next up-and-comer, but it is. It signifies a shift.

Why is it so Important for Prominent Men in Literature to Recommend Their Female Colleagues?

What does it mean when authors already established in the literary community pass their mantles and their regards to women in literature? Well, for one thing, it breaks the cycle of only talented men getting recognition. It’s a firm step in the right direction. Murakami has been a great influence in the literary world for years.

He has earned high praise all over the world and has influenced other authors in the process. The literary world watches him with a close eye. This is one of the reasons it is wonderful that he told the world of a talented woman, saying she is his favorite debut novelist. More women need to get their voices out there than ever before, and almost like a wave of rushing talent, they have been.

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In particular, powerful women are taking hold of the world of poetry. Poets such as Rupi Kaur, Sabrina Benaim, and Wendy Xu are causing many readers out there to catch their breath and rethink their own feelings and experiences. It’s amazing what art and literature can do. It sinks into our souls and never truly lets go. With more women on the rise in literature, more female readers out there are feeling the hands of camaraderie and understanding like never before.

Why is it Important for More Women to be on the Literary Scene?

We all want to believe that people out there understand us. We want to know that we can do great things and that we can inspire others as well. It becomes a chain of inspiration among writers, readers, and everyone else within their lives. When women share their voices, powerful things can happen.

women in Literature
Courtesy of Publishers Weekly

Movements occur and the impossible becomes possible. Light begins to spread through the darkness of the loneliest girl’s heart. When she knows other women understand her, she feels hope, and she grows. As she becomes a strong tree of strength and a powerful source of light, she inspires more and more women — and men — to do the same.

This is why it is so important for women in literature to flood onto the scene. It is also why its so crucial that their male colleagues praise their work and hand them the microphone.

Kawakami is Murakami’s Favorite Debut Writer — And That’s a Big Deal

Murakami was taken by Kawakami’s work and only had wonderful things to say about it to Literary Hub‘s channel, Freeman. “I can never forget the sense of pure astonishment I felt when I first read Mieko Kawakami’s novella Breasts and Eggs,” Murakami said. “I rarely read anything by new novelists, but a friend recommended this work, and from the very first page I found myself unexpectedly drawn into the world of the novel” (Murakami, 2017).

 

women in Literature

Murakami continued gushing about the work, leading others to want to check out this new novelist, Mieko Kawakami, for themselves. Murakami finished by saying these words about Kawakami:

Like a tree can be counted on to grow tall, reaching for the sky, like a river can be counted on to flow towards the sea, Mieko Kawakami is always ceaselessly growing and evolving. Perhaps someday she will return to the nearly perfect, natural primal world of Breasts and Eggs. Personally I look forward to seeing how, over the passage of time, she’s breathed new life into that world (Murakami, 2017).

Ms. Ice Sandwich

Kawakami’s latest novella, Ms. Ice Sandwich, was just released in January and is available on Amazon. This novella follows quirky stories of first love and school life. Kawakami’s technique is remarkable and deserves the praise she has been getting for her work. Louise Heal Kawai translated the novella and did a remarkable job as well.

Women in literature include the women who translate because they are hard-working writers in the industry as well. Being a translator is a tough job, especially when translating literary works because the way the words move together and the way scenes combine is important to the craft. The translator has the difficult job of keeping all of the elements of the original work together while translating it into a completely different language. Kawai did a fantastic job with translating Ms. Ice Sandwich. The flow was perfect and the images described were depicted in a striking way.

women in Literature
Courtesy of pushkinpress.com

You will find yourself on a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions whilst reading Ms. Ice Sandwich. You will find yourself thinking about different images and snapshots of life, from both your own life and from the novella. Kawakami gives us a fantastic work of art in Ms. Ice Sandwich experience, so be sure to check it out and let the words sink into you.

We Are in a Great Year for Women in Literature

Mieko Kawakami isn’t the only phenomenal female writer out there on the rise, of course. So, in addition to the women in poetry mentioned above, the following is a list of just a few of the up-and-coming women in literature to look out for. Check out their work, spread the world, and watch history continue to evolve in literature:

  1. Mai Der Vang
  2. Morgan Parker
  3. Layli Long Soldier
  4. Vanessa Hua
  5. Gail Honeyman
  6. Aja Monet
  7. Sally Rooney
  8. Ashley M. Jones
  9. Beth Underdown

However, it is less about the recognition and more about what it means to be a voice in literature. Women have been rising up in ways they were unable to before. It will be easier for the younger generation to continue this and not be silenced or scared when something bad happens to them.

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If they see the strong women who have come before them, they will know they can do it too. They will see that they can stand up for themselves and for their families and that they can also just be what they want to be, as long as they put their mind and efforts towards it.

The Literary Community Allows Voices to be Heard

Every voice has the ability to touch somebody’s heart — to touch them in a way that nothing ever has before. We all have such diverse experiences; more voices need to continue being heard. People from all walks of life deserve a chance to speak. Women in the world need to be represented by the strong voices of women in literature.

In conclusion, women and men both deserve an equal voice in literature. We need as many voices telling as many stories as possible in every genre. So, whether you’re reading fantasy, non-fiction, or young adult contemporary fiction, there is truth between every line. We, as readers, must learn how to analyze ourselves whilst reading literature. With the combination of these two things, we can become wiser and more empathetic.

Writing is powerful. Reading makes us strong. Standing together can create a better, brighter world.

Work Cited:

Murakami, Haruki. “Haruki Murakami on His Favorite Young Novelist: Mieko Kawakami.” Literary Hub, Freeman, 4 Oct. 2017, lithub.com/haruki-murakami-on-his-favorite-young-novelist-mieko-kawakami/.

Links to where I found the female authors for the list:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/the-best-poetry-books-of-2017?utm_term=.neGJppd05#.ideJ22gke

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/22/debut-novelists-2017-honeyman-underdown-rooney-ellwood-geary-knox-brooks-sudjic

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/look-out-for-these-6-up-and-coming-writers_us_55fb7415e4b08820d91825f8

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