Yesterday, March 8th, was International Women’s Day as well as the “Day without a Woman” protest arranged by the organizers of the Women’s March. March as a whole is also Women’s History Month. In honor of these events, I thought I would share with you lovely readers some of my favorite female activist authors. Some were authors first, some activists first, but all deserve to be celebrated.
Activists who are authors
The following are women who began their careers as activists, and later furthered their causes through writing.
- Malala Yousafzai: Malala co-wrote her book I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban with Christina Lamb. The book tells of her efforts to ensure equal education for girls, a cause for which she endured personal danger and then subsequently toured the world to bring attention to. As an accomplished writer, speech giver, and world-changer by the end of her teens, Malala is certainly an inspiration.
- Ellen Oh: This founder of the We Need Diverse Books Movement wrote a middle-grade novel called Spirit Hunters that will be published this summer. She also has a series of novels out called The Dragon King Chronicles. WNDB advocates for fiction, especially children’s fiction to represent ALL of its readers, not just the straight, white, cis portion. With a Korean-American young protagonist, Spirit Hunters embodies the movement’s goal, the ultimate product of such a literary activist.
Authors who are activists
Each of the women below uses the fame she has gained through the success of her published works to advocate for a cause (or causes) that she believes in. Find them on Twitter through the links on their names to see the action for yourself.
- Shannon Hale: Author of The Princess in Black, Squirrel Girl, Princess Academy and more, Hale is the champion of #Storiesforall—the concept that there are no “girl books” vs. “boy books,” that kids can and should read books about characters with genders other than their own, and that traditionally “girly” books shouldn’t be stigmatized. Lately, Hale has also been a major motivator for calling one’s senators and representatives and staying involved in the fast-moving world of politics.
That’s the default assumption and the kids can read it from adults so clearly. Boys can tell they’re supposed to not be interested. https://t.co/utGHeg4wZo
— Shannon Hale (@haleshannon) February 20, 2017
Whew! SO MANY THINGS to call my reps about today, it’s hard to pick only one. What are you calling about today?
— Shannon Hale (@haleshannon) March 2, 2017
Small act today: emailing principal of my kids’ school voicing support for trans kids & using the bathrooms of their identity https://t.co/lO6sbBvn7z
— Shannon Hale (@haleshannon) February 23, 2017
- J. K. Rowling: This magical matriarch has always been one to stand up for a cause, as evidence by her role as the founder of the charity Lumos for children in institutions and the fact that she lost her billionaire status due to charitable donations. Lately, however, she has gotten more political, speaking out loudly about Brexit, Trump, and other issues. One of the things I admire most about her (although she is far from perfect) is how she uses her status as one of the most famous women in the world to uplift the voices of others.
Why hate speech isn’t funny. Language has consequences.
Thread 👇🏻 https://t.co/2IQaxf9kUi
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 25, 2017
This ‘better together’ stance is pure scaremongering. There is no downside to breaking up political unions. Just ask Alex Salmond. https://t.co/25xpPqrj9F
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 7, 2017
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 10, 2016
- Anne Rice: Even Anne Rice, known as the mother of the vampire romance genre for her Vampire Chronicles series, has taken to twitter to critique the new administration. Her issues of focus include Trump and Sessions’ Russian ties, lies and propaganda from the White House, women’s reproductive rights, and more.
We need to get to the bottom of the Russia-Trump story. And we will. Maybe Comey will have to be forced to testify. https://t.co/eZyw8B72lc
— Anne Rice (@AnneRiceAuthor) March 3, 2017
A Spicer briefing is false advertising. Nothing there but lies and propaganda. Who needs it? Stop watching, stop asking, walk out.
— Anne Rice (@AnneRiceAuthor) February 28, 2017
The “women’s movement” doesn’t force anyone to have an abortion. It supports choice. A woman’s choice. That’s the obvious reply here. https://t.co/0Ipxf4nFP5
— Anne Rice (@AnneRiceAuthor) February 28, 2017
Activist & Author in One
- Roxane Gay: Gay’s writings are her acts of activism. In her book Bad Feminist, she wrestles with a multitude of issues including body image, race and role models, and differing notions of what it means to be a feminist. Even the choice of publishing (or not publishing) her forthcoming work How to Be Heard became a moment of activism when Gay decided to pull her book from the publisher Simon & Schuster because they signed a book deal with the infamously bigoted and anti-feminist Milo Yiannopoulos. Her twitter is a mixture of biting social commentary and mundane live tweets and observations on pop culture or daily life (and snapshots from pokemon go!).
I guess the news out. Everythjng I need to say is in my statement. I can afford to take this stand. Not everyone can. Remember that.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 25, 2017
Just because you don’t discuss your activism on social media doesn’t mean you aren’t engaged in activism.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 30, 2017
Who is your favorite Activist Author? How did you celebrate International Women’s Day? Let me know in the comments!