Fiction

Best of Book Riot: 21st Century Literature by Women: A Reading List

To celebrate the end of the year, we’re running some of our favorite posts from the last six months. We’ll be back with all-new stuff on January 7th. 

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Last week, I asked for help putting together a list of women writers and their works from the 21st century. While some people got stuck in the 20th century for their recommendations, I was able to compile quite a list to share with my students. And now, I’m going to share it with you. It’s a very long list, but it is by no means complete. It is, however, an excellent starting point. Add your recommendations in the comments.

Megan Abbott – The End of Everything (2011)

Diana Abu-Jaber – Crescent (2003), Origin (2007)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half a Yellow Sun (2006)

Isabel Allende – Portrait in Sepia (2000), Ines of My Soul (2006)

Julia Alvarez – Before We Were Free (2002), Saving the World (2006)

Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin (2000), Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009)

Anita Rau Badami – Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? (2006)

Aimee Bender – An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000), The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010)

Jane Borodale – The Book of Fires (2010)

A.S. Byatt – The Children’s Book (2009)

Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2004)

Edwidge Danticat – The Dew Breaker (2004)

Lauren B. Davis – The Radiant City (2005), Our Daily Bread (2011)

Lydia Davis – The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (Short Fiction – 2009)

Kiran Desai – The Inheritance of Loss (2006)

Anita Diamant – Good Harbor (2001), The Last Days of Dogtown (2005)

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – The Palace of Illusions (2008)

Emma Donoghue – Life Mask (2004), Room (2010)

Jennifer Egan – A Visit from the Goon Squad (2012)

Louise Erdrich – The Plague of Doves (2008)

Lyndsay Faye – The Gods of Gotham (2012)

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl (2012)

Kay Gibbons – The Life All Around Me (2005)

Xiaolu Guo – Village of Stone (2003), A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers (2007)

Lauren Groff – The Monsters of Templeton (2008), Arcadia (2012)

Carol Guess – Gaslight (2001)

Jennifer Haigh – Mrs. Kimble (2003), Baker Towers (2005), Faith (2011)

Melinda Haynes – Willem’s Field (2004)

Alice Hoffman – The Dovekeepers (2011)

Helen Humphreys – Wild Dogs (2004)

Siri Hustvedt – The Summer Without Men (2011)

Joshilyn Jackson – Between, Georgia (2007), A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty (2012)

Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees (2003), The Mermaid Chair (2005)

Haven Kimmel – The Solace of Leaving Early (2002)

Barbara Kingsolver – Prodigal Summer (2000), The Lacuna (2009)

Elizabeth Kostova – The Historian (2005)

Nicole Krauss – The History of Love (2005), Great House (2010)

Aryn Kyle – The God of Animals (2007)

Jhumpa Lahiri – The Namesake (2003), Unaccustomed Earth (Short Fiction – 2008)

Ursula K. Leguin – Lavinia (2008)

Anne-Marie MacDonald – The Way the Crow Flies (2003)

Claire Messud – The Emperor’s Children (2006)

Lydia Millet – My Happy Life (2002), Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (2005)

Lorrie Moore – A Gate at the Stairs (2009)

Laura Moriarty – The Chaperone (2012)

Toni Morrison – Love (2003), A Mercy (2008), Home (2012)

Kate Morton – The House of Riverton (2006)

Alice Munro – Runaway (2004), The View from Castle Rock (Short Fiction – 2006)

Eileen Myles – Inferno: A Poet’s Novel  (2010)

Sena Jeter Naslund – Four Spirits (2004)

Audrey Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003), Her Fearful Symmetry (2009)

Joyce Carol Oates – I’ll Take You There (2002), The Falls (2004), A Fair Maiden (2010)

Heather O’Neill – Lullabies for Little Criminals (2006)

Julie Otsuka – When The Emperor was Divine (2002), The Buddha in the Attic (2011)

Helen Oyeyemi – The Icarus Girl (2005), Mr. Fox (2011)

Ann Pancake – Strange As This Weather Has Been (2007)

Ann Patchett – Bel Canto (2001), State of Wonder (2011)

Marge Piercy – Colours Passing Through Us (Poetry – 2003)

Francine Prose – Blue Angel (2000)

Nina Revoyr – Wingshooters (2011)

Marilynne Robinson – Gilead (2004), Home (2008)

Mary Doria Russell –  A Thread of Grace (2005), Dreamers of the Day (2008)

Diane Setterfield – The Thirteenth Tale (2006)

Elissa Schappell – Blueprints for Building Better Girls (Short Fiction – 2011)

Sarah Schulman – The Child (2007), The Mere Future (2009)

Mary Ann Shaffer – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2008)

Lionel Shriver – We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003)

Marisa Silver – The God of War (2008)

Jane Smiley – Private Life (2010)

Ali Smith -  Hotel World (2001), The Accidental (2005), There But For The (2011)

Zadie Smith – White Teeth (2000), On Beauty (2005), NW (2012)

Kathryn Stockett – The Help (2006)

Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge (2008)

Donna Tartt – The Little Friend (2002)

Jeannette Walls – The Glass Castle (Non-Fiction 2005)

Karen Thompson Walker – The Age of Miracles (2012)

Sarah Waters – Fingersmith (2002)

Kathleen Winter – Annabel (2010)

Alissa York – Effigy (2007)