Fantasy is a genre that has traditionally been dominated by male writes.
However, in recent years, female authors have been gaining recognition for their incredible works of imagination and creativity.
In this blog post, you’ll twenty women writers that every fantasy fan should read (with one more honourable mention).
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin is a legend in the world of science fiction and fantasy. Her most famous works include the Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness. Le Guin is known for her ability to create complex worlds and characters that challenge societal norms and explore themes of gender, identity, and power. Her writing style is elegant and thought-provoking, making her a must-read for any fantasy fan.
N.K. Jemisin has gained critical acclaim for her works, including The Broken Earth trilogy and The City We Became. Jemisin’s writing is known for its rich world-building, intricate plotlines, and diverse characters that challenge the traditional tropes of fantasy literature. Her stories tackle themes of social justice, oppression, and power in a way that is both compelling and thought-provoking.
Ann Leckie burst onto the scene with her debut sci-fi novel, Ancillary Justice, which won the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. Her writing is known for its unique perspective and exploration of complex themes. Her works often feature non-human characters and explore the ways in which they navigate the human-dominated world. Leckie’s writing is both thought-provoking and immersive, making her a must-read for any fantasy fan.
Robin Hobb is an author who has gained a loyal following for her works, including the Farseer Trilogy and the Liveship Traders Trilogy. Hobb’s writing is known for its emotional depth, character development, and immersive world-building. Her stories often focus on the internal struggles of her characters, making them relatable and engaging.
Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas is a bestselling author known for her works, including the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Maas’s writing is known for its epic scope, romantic subplots, and engaging characters. Her stories often feature powerful female leads who challenge societal norms and explore themes of power and agency.
Fonda Lee is an award-winning author known for her works, including the Green Bone Saga and the Exo series. Her writing is known for its dynamic characters, and exploration of themes such as family, power, and identity. Her stories are thought-provoking and action-packed.
Kameron Hurley is a multiple award-winning author known for her works, including the Bel Dame Apocrypha series and the Worldbreaker Saga. Hurley’s writes with a gritty, unflinching style, and delves into themes such as war, politics, and gender.
Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning author known for her works, including the Binti series and the Akata Witch series. Okorafor’s writing is known for its unique blend of African mythology, science fiction, and fantasy. Her stories often explore themes such as identity, culture, and power, and feature strong female protagonists.
Sofia Samatar is an award-winning author known for her works, including the Winged Histories and A Stranger in Olondria. Samatar’s writing is known for its lyrical prose and intricate world-building, which often draw inspiration from real-world cultures and histories. Her stories explore themes such as identity, language, and colonization, making them both thought-provoking and immersive.
Helene Wecker is an award-winning author known for her debut novel, The Golem and the Jinni, and its sequel, The Hidden Palace. Wecker’s writing is filled with vivid descriptions and richly imagined worlds, which draw inspiration from both Jewish and Arab folklore.
V.E. Schwab is best known for the Shades of Magic series and the Villains series. Her writing features intricate world-building and complex characters, blending elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Schwab’s stories often explore themes such as power, morality, and the nature of good and evil.
Deborah Harkness is an award-winning author known for her All Souls trilogy, which blends history, magic, and romance. Harkness’s writing features richly imagined worlds and vivid characters, which draw inspiration from real-world history and mythology. Her stories explore themes such as love, power, and the importance of family.
R.F. Kuang is an award-winning author known for her Poppy War series, which explores the devastating impact of war on both individuals and society. Kuang’s writing is dark and intense and explores the nature of power, morality, and the human condition.
Victoria Aveyard is best known for her Red Queen series, which blends elements of fantasy, dystopian fiction, and romance. Aveyard’s stories include fast-paced action, intricate plot twists, and engaging characters.
Cassandra Clare is an award-winning author known for her Shadowhunters universe, which includes multiple series set in a world of demons, angels, and supernatural creatures. Her stories explore themes such as love, power, and the bonds of family and friendship.
Naomi Novik is an award-winning author known for her works, including the Temeraire series and the Spinning Silver. Her writing blends historical and fantastical elements to explore themes of love and identity.
Leigh Bardugo is best known for the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Bardugo’s stories often explore themes of power and loyalty.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Lois McMaster Bujold is best known as the author of the Vorkosigan Saga and the Sharing Knife series. Her writing blends science fiction and fantasy and explores themes of power, love, and the importance of family.
Patricia A. McKillip
Patricia A. McKillip is an award-winning author best know for the Riddle-Master trilogy and the Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Her writing is known for its lyrical prose, magical worlds, and engaging characters.
Martha Wells is the author of the Murderbot Diaries and the Books of the Raksura series. Wells’s stories often explore themes such as identity, autonomy, and the importance of found family.
Honourable Mention: Anne McCaffrey
While Anne McCaffrey is known for her works in science fiction, her Dragonriders of Pern series is a classic in the fantasy genre. Her stories are both thought-provoking and immersive, making her a must-read for any fantasy fan.
These women fantasy writers are just a few of the many incredible authors who are challenging the norms of the genre and creating immersive and thought-provoking works of fiction. Whether you’re a die-hard fantasy fan or just starting to explore the genre, these authors are definitely worth checking out.
If you love fantasy books, claim your free Ravenglass Universe starter library when you sign up to my newsletter.