Meet 5 pathbreaking women authors of the last century

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Maya Angelou

Some writers have chronicled the lives and events of people, places and eras we no longer have access to, while others have completely detached us from what we do, or have known about our world and our lives. Long before radio and television consumed our lives, books taught us to experience and live through different worlds and ages becoming our friend and lover forever.


As we celebrate the ‘World Book Day’ today, SheThePeople.TV brings you some of the path-breaking female authors that we have seen though the last century.


Virginia Woolf Picture By: The Guardian

Virginia Woolf
Picture By: The Guardian


One of the most admired women authors of the 20th century; Woolf is also one of the most influential English feminist writers the world has seen so far. Her novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando(1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), have received critical acclaim and are read by people everywhere in the world. She experimented with different writing styles like the Stream of Consciousness, further helping her female characters express themselves.

Pathbreaker: She modernized women’s writing, giving a new voice to women of the post-war era.



Nelle Harper Lee Picture By: PBS.org

Nelle Harper Lee
Picture By: PBS.org


‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is unarguably one of the most read books of our times and even though it is the only novel Nelle Harper Lee has had published so far, it has influenced generations. The book dealt with significant issues of the time like rape and race, and won Lee a Pulitzer Prize. Even though many refer to Lee as a one-hit-wonder, her contribution to the modern American literature is indispensable and she is one of the most celebrated writers in the world today.

Pathbreaker: Published in 1960, her book written in a unique and remarkable writing style, gave America a hero who stood against racism.


Toni Morrison  Picture By: The Guardian

Toni Morrison
Picture By: Telegraph


A Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award recipient along with being a Nobel Prize laureate, Morrison has created some of the richest and comprehensive characters in the last century. Even though she had distanced herself from being labeled a Feminist, which she believed closed doors for her in terms of writing, her work has been seen as a great example of ‘post-modern feminism.’

Pathbreaker: Her portrayal of African-American women and the violence they face as a bi-product of their racist and patriarchal society, has transformed women’s writing in the west profoundly.


JK Rowling  Picture By: Robotbutt.com

JK Rowling
Picture By: Robotbutt.com


J.K. Rowling is undoubtedly one of the most read woman authors in the world. Mainly known for writing the Harry Potter series, Rowling suffered depression and was almost broke, before her work made her a billionaire. A series of seven books that have also been made into films, Harry Potter has won numerous awards and honours, breaking sale records everywhere in the world.

Pathbreaker: She singlehandedly revolutionized children’s fantasy writing, becoming one of the most read female authors in the world.



Maya Angelou Picture By: Conscious Thinkers.billyojai.com

Maya Angelou Picture
By: Conscious Thinkers.billyojai.com


Having lived a multifarious life, Angelou began writing in the 60’s and her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, became the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. A feminist and a child activist, Angelou wrote a total of seven autobiographies that are seen as her best work. She has been called  “the black woman’s poet laureate” for her poetry, which has been critically acclaimed through the last decades.

Pathbreaker: Maya Angelou’s unique memoir-writing style and the fact that she bought the black woman’s life into the limelight after centuries of marginalization, make her one of the most treasured writers on the 20th century.


[Featured Picture Courtesy:  The Reuters]