Books by Rowling, Woolf and Gyasi among public's top 100 penned by women

Books by Rowling, Woolf and Gyasi among public's top 100 penned by women

Books by J K Rowling, Virginia Woolf and Yaa Gyasi have been nominated by the public to feature in Hay Festival and The Pool's campaign to celebrate 100 books by women from the last 100 years.

The results were revealed on Thursday (24th May), the opening day of Hay Festival Wales, after the public were challenged back in March to select books to celebrate at Hay Festival's events around the world in honour of the centenary of women getting the vote in the UK.

Anyone - readers, writers, and publishers internationally - could submit a title and there was no restriction on genre. However submitted books had to be written by women and published in 1918 or later.

Hundreds of readers nominated their favourite titles online, according to Hay, with the resulting selection "blending modern classics with lesser-known masterpieces". 

Selections range from Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker (Boni & Liveright, 1926) to Mary Beard’s feminist manifesto Women & Power (Profile, 2017), from commercial bestsellers Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding (Vintage) to literary fiction Jung Chan's Wild Swans (William Collins) and Zadie Smith's White Teeth (Hamish Hamilton).

Also among the 100-strong list are authors Anne Frank, Patricia Highsmith, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Sarah Waters, Vera Brittain, Tove Jansson, Françoise Sagan, Toni Morrison, Hilary Mantel, Marjane Satrapi, Nigella Lawson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Naomi Klein, Elena Ferrante, Caitlin Moran, Yaa Gyasi and Leila Slimani, alongside Hay Festival 2018 speakers Margaret Atwood, Mary Beard, Elif Shafak, Jacqueline Wilson, Lionel Shriver, Germaine Greer and Laura Bates.

Titles will be discussed and celebrated in a special event hosted by The Pool at Hay Festival on Monday (28th May), while the discussion will continue at Hay Festival events in Mexico, Peru, Spain and Colombia throughout the year.

Sam Baker, co-founder, c.e.o. and editor of The Pool, said all the nominations were "smart or thought-provoking or hilarious or important or all of these things at once" and she was delighted to see them all in one place.

"I look forward to this list starting conversations, prompting debates and encouraging thousands and thousands of readers to pick up a brilliant book by a brilliant woman," she added.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, commented: "There are books here that have changed lives, and changed the world. The list is an extraordinary testament to the power of ideas and stories. And a testament to the wisdom of crowds. What a fabulous bedside book-pile of empowering and enlightening treasures. Race you to the library."

The full list is available to view at: hayfestival.org/vote-100-books/