Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Women Writers Rule!

There was a period of time when I allowed myself only to read women writers. I devoured Virginia Woolf, E. Annie Proulx, Amy Hempel, and Toni Morrison. I was reading (and still do) a lot of the astute, original, and, in an eggheady kind of way–loopy–writing of Lydia Davis. For some reason, I felt some sexist part of me gravitated to male writers.

I like that I forced myself to consciously choose women writers; I’m somewhat disappointed that I had never assessed my choices. Does the gender of a writer make a difference to you?

Flavorwire published a slideshow of their favorite female writers, including Sarah Vowell (pictured above), who (whom?) I adore. She’s a regular contributor to This American Life, of course, but I like the fact that book-length essays allow her the room to showcase her wide-ranging knowledge and her wry voice. Flavorwire’s lovefest for Vowell:

7. Sarah Vowell

Why we love her: Vowell validates our inner history geek. She was also the voice of Violet in The Incredibles.

Best known for: Assassination Vacation; The Partly Cloudy Patriot; Take the Cannoli

The line that made us fall for her: “Once I knew my dead presidents and I had become insufferable, I started to censor myself. There were a lot of get-togethers with friends where I didn’t hear half of what was being said because I was sitting there, silently chiding myself, Don’t bring up McKinley. Don’t bring up McKinley.”

Vowell is one-of-a-kind smart. Self-effacing, with one of those hard-to-believe life stories (she makes growing up in Montana as hilarious as David Sedaris makes growing up in South Carolina), Vowell is only one on this list of remarkable women writers. I’m a big fan of the fiction of Barbara Kingsolver and Aimee Bender, who also grace the list.

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Filed under: literature, women, , , , , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. Randi says:

    Ricco, Vowell shouldn’t be sidelined as a “woman writer.” What does that mean anyway? Do we ever have a list of “male writers”? Poor Annie Proulx had to forego her first name for years when she wrote for a fishing magazine so men would read her. I’d make a bet that if a man read a Proulx cowboy story out loud, an unsuspecting audience wouldn’t know it was a “woman writer.” Favorite essay in Take the Cannoli is American Goth. At the request/recommendation of a past Emerson student, I added it to my Personal Essay curriculum. Then had the students write about a night they “became” someone else. Hilarious.

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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