It’s nearly three months since my first novel went on to Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Bridge-Adventures-Maisie-Brown/dp/1520953291 and I confess publicity is a daunting task, so as a well-read copy sits on my desk here are 8 of the most mentioned authors generally, and in no particular order.
1. Doris Lessing (born 1919)
The two landmarks, for me, are Shikasta, her monumental portrait of humanity, and The Four-Gated City (part of the Children of Violence series), Lessing’s visionary mapping of London and the no-man’s-land between psychosis and sanity – this book opened doors for me. Her understanding of resilience and transformation in the midst of upheaval is profound.
2. Toni Morrison (born 1931)
Start with: Beloved – Beloved represents a terrible pain and suffering of a people whose very mother-love is warped by torture into murder.
3. Ursula K Le Guin (born 1929)
The Earthsea trilogy is absolutely magnificent: poetry, wisdom, sadness, satisfaction, fantasy, realism. Far better dragons than Tolkien’s or George RR Martin’s, far better written – the whole shebang, except for humour. But then, Tolstoy didn’t go in for jokes much either. She taught me that there is nothing wrong with life or with death: the one is to be delighted in, the other accepted.
4. Virginia Woolf (born 1882)
To The Lighthouse, it had a huge impact on me when I first read it. It really made me consider and reconsider how I think and find direction. I loved Lily Briscoe and that devastatingly matter-of-fact middle chapter/section that splits the novel. There are so many books by women that I love, but TTL is a favourite.
5. Clarice Lispector (born 1920)
If a writer such as Clarice Lispector is to be considered significant from a feminist point of view, then it would probably be due to the absence of anything in her work or life which could be said to resemble the stereotype of the “Lady Novelist”. As well as living like a sort of secular hermit, her writing is elusive and mystical, being much less concerned with plot and character than with abstract ideas, such as The Apple in the Dark’s consideration of the nature of artistic creation or Agua Viva’s obsessive focus on trying to isolate single moments in time.
6. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 1977)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah has moved me like no other in recent memory. I would describe it as transformational because it provided an insight into the reality of what it means to be a young, ambitious, highly intelligent, sometimes single black woman in contemporary America. It’s an honest book about race, identity and the constant longing and nostalgia one feels for this metaphorical place called home.
7. Margaret Atwood (born 1939)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. She predicted all that is happening today in that book.
8. Zadie Smith (born 1975)
White Teeth, by Zadie Smith. Could read it over and over again.