CONTEMPORARY WOMEN NOVELISTS: A SELECTED ANNOTATED LIST

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list. It is limited to
outstanding first novelists or established novelists who have
been undeservedly neglected. (* paperback edition available).

Author:   Abraham, Pearl
Title(s) in Print:
     THE ROMANCE READER*, 1995
First novel. A close and balanced look at life in an Hasidic
family as a daughter attempts to define herself outside the
confines of her religious tradition.

Author:   Allison, Dorothy
Title(s) in Print:
     CAVE DWELLER, 1997
     TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW FOR SURE*, 1995
     BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA*, 1992
     TRASH*, 1988
1996 American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Caucus nominee 
for fiction. Hard writing about sexual abuse and sexuality 
that gives vivid voice to Southern "white trash" characters.

Author:   Alvarez, Julia
Title(s) in Print:
     IYO!, 1997
     HOMECOMING: NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS, 1996
     IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES*, 1995
     THE OTHER SIDE*, 1995
     HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENT*, 1991
Evocative chronicling of the experience of Dominican Republicans
as emigrants and residents of their home country.

Author:   Astley, Thea
Title(s) in Print:
     CODA, 1994
     THE SLOW NATIVES, 1993
     HUNTING THE WILD PINEAPPLE, 1991
     A DESCANT FOR GOSSIPS*, 1988
Australian. Witty and insightful looks at interpersonal
relations.

Author:   Atkinson, Kate
Title(s) in Print:
     BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM, 1995
First novel won the 1995 Whitbread Prize for fiction in Great
Britain. Brilliant characterizations and unusual construction add
depth to a family saga.

Author:   Baker, Alison
Title(s) in Print:
     HOW I CAME WEST AND WHY I STAYED*, 1993
     LOVING WANDA BEAVER*, 1995
Well-crafted short stories that range from slapstick humor to
true pathos.

Author:   Barker, Pat
Title(s) in Print:
     GHOST ROAD*, 1996
     THE EYE IN THE DOOR*, 1994
     REGENERATION*, 1993
     UNION STREET*, 1988
THE GHOST ROAD was the winner of the 1995 Booker Prize for
fiction in Great Britain. One of the best writers at work today.
Her WWI trilogy (GHOST ROAD, EYE, REGENERATION) explores mighty
themes of war and morality with compelling stories and
characters.

Author:   Blackburn, Julia
Title(s) in Print:
     The BOOK OF COLOR*, 1995
British. THE BOOK OF COLOR shortlisted for new Orange Award for
fiction by women in Britain. A moody, sensual story of the clash
of cultures on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean.

Author:   Boyd, Blanche McCrary
Title(s) in Print:
     REDNECK WAY OF KNOWLEDGE*, 1995
     THE REVOLUTION OF LITTLE GIRLS*, 1992
Lesbian novels with a Southern setting vividly evoked.

Author:   Danticat, Edwidge
Title(s) in Print:
     KRIK? KRAK!*, 1995
     BREATH, EYES, MEMORY*, 1994
Haitian. KRIK? KRAK!, one of LIBRARY JOURNAL's Best Books for 1995 
and a National Book Award Nominee, is a powerful set of interlocking
stories about the lives of Haitian women.

Author:   Donoghue, Emma
Title(s) in Print:
     STIR FRY*, 1994
     HOOD, 1996
Poignant and unapologetic novels about Lesbians in modern Dublin.
     
Author:   Dwyer, Kelly
Title(s) in Print:
     THE TRACKS OF ANGELS*, 1994
First novelist who shows remarkable skill in evoking emotions and
plotting in this story of a young woman's coming to terms with
the deaths of her parents.

Author:   Gardam, Jane
Title(s) in Print:
     QUEEN OF THE TAMBOURINE*, 1995
QUEEN, winner of the 1991 Whitbread Prize for Fiction in Great
Britain, is an epistolary novel that evolves into deliciously
funny and touching flights of fancy as the writer grows more mad
or sane, depending on your perspective. 
     
Author:   Gibbons, Kaye
Title(s) in Print:
     SIGHTS UNSEEN, 1995
     CHARMS FOR THE EASY LIFE*, 1993
     A CURE FOR DREAMS*, 1991
     A VIRTUOUS WOMAN*, 1989
     ELLEN FOSTER*, 1987
A storyteller in the best tradition of Southern gothic writers.
Insights into character add depth to the humor. 

Author:   Hegi, Ursula
Title(s) in Print:
     INTRUSIONS*, 1995
     SALT DANCERS, 1995
     STONES FROM THE RIVER*, 1994
     FLOATING IN MY MOTHER'S PALM*, 1991
German born. Stones is a richly textured chronicle of life in a
German small town under the Nazis.

Author:   Jackson, Sheneska
Title(s) in Print:
     CAUGHT UP IN THE RAPTURE, 1996
First novelist. Lively, funny, but no-holds-barred look at South
Central Los Angeles. Vivid voice.

Author:   Landvik, Lorna
Titles in Print:
     PATTY JANE'S HOUSE OF CURL, 1995
First novel. Funny, heartwarming, if over simplified, story of
the power of friendship between women. Set in Minneapolis in the
1940s-60s with a strong sense of place.

Author:   McGrath, Kristina
Titl(s) in Print:
     HOUSE WORK, 1994
First novel. Poetic paean to a hard-working woman who creates
dignity and stability out of the shambles of her life. Evocative
portrait of working class Pittsburgh in the 1940s.

Author:   Mackay, Shena
Title(s) in Print:
     THE ORCHARD ON FIRE, 1996
     DREAMS OF DEAD WOMEN'S HANDBAGS, 1994.
     DUNEDIN*, 1993
     A BOWL OF CHERRIES*, 1992
British. Her novels and short stories feature black humor,
empathy for the characters, and dazzling skill in description.

Author:   McKinney-Whetstone, Diane
Title(s) in Print:
     TUMBLING, 1996
First novel follows the trials and triumphs of a family in South
Philadelphia in the 1940s and 1950s. Good look at life in a Black
community before desegregation.

Author:   Mendelsohn, Jane
Title(s) in Print:
     I WAS AMELIA EARHART*, 1996
First novel. Speculates on what happened to Earhart after her
disappearance, but less an adventure story than a meditation on
the nature of fame and identity.

Author:   Mori, Kyoko
Title(s) in Print:
     THE DREAM OF WATER*, 1995
Japanese-born. First novel for adults. A beautifully written view
of modern Japanese culture, plus a depiction of coming to terms
with a mother's suicide.

Author:   Morris, Mary McGarry
Title(s) in Print:
     SONGS IN ORDINARY TIME*, 1995
     A DANGEROUS WOMAN*, 1991
     VANISHED*, 1988
Tough novels told with empathy and a great sense of plotting
about people living on the edge.

Author:   Nelson, Antonya
Title(s) in Print:
     TALKING IN BED, 1996
     FAMILY TERRORISTS*, 1994
     IN THE LAND OF MEN*, 1994
     THE EXPENDABLES*, 1990
Winner of Flannery O'Connor Award, Nelson Algren Award, and PEN
Syndicated Fiction Award. Meticulous examinations of
interpersonal relations and motivations.

Author:   Power, Susan
Title(s) in Print:
     THE GRASS DANCER*, 1994
Native American. THE GRASS DANCER was a 1995 American Library
Association Notable Award winner. Lyrical looks at Dakota culture 
and the straddling necessary between that culture and mainstream America.

Author:   Read, Miss
Title(s) in Print:
     Several titles in both Thrush Green and Fairacre series.
British. Great escapism to English village life saved from
excessive sentimentality by witty writing.

Author:   Schulman, Audrey
Title(s) in Print:
     THE CAGE*, 1994
First novel. Highly evocative adventure to the Arctic.

Author:   Scofield, Sandra
Title(s) in Print:
     A CHANCE TO SEE EGYPT, 1996
     OPAL ON DRY GROUND*, 1995
     MORE THAN ALLIES*, 1993
     WALKING DUNES*, 1992
     BEYOND DESERVING*, 1991
Emotionally compelling novels about working class Texans,
primarily women, trying to hold their lives together.

Author:   Thirkell, Angela
Title(s) in Print:
     Several paperback reprints.
British. For fans of Jane Austen and Barbara Pym.
Quintessentially British comic novels written in the 1930s and
40s set in the countryside featuring the gentry.

Author:   Tremain, Rose
Title(s) in Print:
     EVANGELISTA'S FAN*, 1995
     SACRED COUNTRY*, 1993
     RESTORATION*, 1991
British. Multi-talented writer equally at home with a 17th century
historical novel, Restoration, or a 20th century novel featuring a
transsexual living unhappily in rural Suffolk.


Author:   Verdelle, A.J.
Title(s) in Print:
     THE GOOD NEGRESS*, 1995
First novel a 1996 Honorable Mention for fiction from American
Library Association Black Caucus. Remarkable first person account 
of a girl growing up in Virginia and Detroit in the 1950s.

Author:   Viramontes, Helena Marie
Title(s) in Print:
     UNDER THE FEET OF JESUS*, 1995
     THE MOTHS AND OTHER STORIES*, 1990
Powerful writing about the Mexican-American migrant experience.

Author:   Weber, Katharine
Title(s) in Print:
     OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR*, 1995
First novel. Poignant story set in Geneva and New York City about
childhood trauma leavened by touches of humor.

Author:   West, Dorothy
Title(s) in Print:
     THE RICHER, THE POORER*, 1995
     THE WEDDING*, 1995
Now in her 80s, this veteran of the Harlem Renaissance is writing
again. The Wedding provides a rare glimpse into the lives of
upper class Negroes in the 1950s.




                by Helene Androski 
                University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library
                October, 1996
This bibliography is number 76 in the series Wisconsin Bibliographies in Women's Studies,
published by the University of Wisconsin System Women's Studies Librarian's Office.

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Last updated: January 9, 1997