Tag: Womenin literature

Nobel Piece Prize

7 Facts About the Nobel Prize in Literature You (Probably) Didn’t Know

The late Swedish Industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-1898) established the Nobel Prizes “for the greatest benefit of mankind” in 1901, and ever since The Swedish Academy has been honouring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, physiology, and medicine. As for the prize in literature, it was to be awarded year after year to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. Amongst Nobel’s broad cultural interests was his love of literature from an early age, and in his late years he tried his hand at writing fiction, too.


Here are some facts about this award:


1. The first literature prize was awarded to French poet and essayist Sully Prudhomme in 1901 “in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect.”



Image Via PensieriParole


2. In 1909, Selma Legerlof became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Legerlof wrote Jerusalem, which in 1996 was adapted into a movie by the same name. Her books were translated into thirty-four languages due to their popularity. 


Selma Legerlof

Image Via GoodReads


3. The Nobel Medal for Literature was designed by Swedish sculptor and engraver Erik Lindberg and represents a young man sitting under a laurel tree who, enchanted, listens to and writes down the song of the Muse. The inscription reads: “Inventas vitam iuvat excoluisse per artes,” which, loosely translated, means, “And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery.”


Nobel Prize for Literature

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4. There have been a few winners who have declined the acceptance of their award, among them Boris Pasternak, a Russian poet and writer who won in 1958. He was famously known for Doctor Zhivago, a novel set between the Russian Revolution and the Second World War. Pasternak’s work was not allowed to be published in the USSR and was forced to decline the award. Another person to decline was French philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre in 1964, who claimed to decline all official honours. In his refusal letter he wrote that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.”


5. Alfred Nobel, “inventor of dynamite,“ may have been inspired to create the Nobel Prize after a premature obituary in a French newspaper called him a “merchant of death.” Talk about wanting to better your legacy! What happened was Alfred’s brother died and a local newspaper printed Alfred’s farewell by accident. When he saw it, the headline disturbed him. “The Merchant of Death is Dead” is what he read. Worried about how he would be remembered, he decided to invest 94% of his money into the five Nobel Prizes.


6. The youngest winner to date is Mumbai-born British author Rudyard Kipling, back in 1907. Then, aged 42, the author of The Jungle Book also became the first English-language winner. 


The Jungle Book

Image Via Amazon


7. Other popular literature laureates include Seamus Heaney, Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel García Marquez, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Tom Morisson.


Feature Image Via Literary Curiosity

american psycho

7 Female-Directed Adaptations to Watch This Winter

When discussing directors I always hear the male-dominated version of Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and the like. But, we must talk about the amazing women who take the industry by storm and create movies that we all love. Now the true test for us book lovers is whether or not it’s better than the book! Here are seven adaptations with female directors for the perfect lazy day. 


1. The Zookeeper’s Wife directed by Niki Caro 


zookeepers wife

Image Via Rolling Stone 


The Zookeeper’s Wife, originally published in 2007, was adapted by Niki Caro for a 2017 film. I did not have the pleasure of reading the book for this one, but the movie made me cry ugly tears. It also earned 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. 


2. American Psycho directed by Mary Harron


american psycho

Image Via Rolling Stone 


American Psycho was written by Bret Easton Ellis in 1991 and adapted into a film with director Mary Harron in 2000. Christian Bale creeped us all out in this one, but an actor is only as good as who directs him (I’ve totally heard this multiple times)! This film earned 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. 



3. Before I Fall directed by Ry Russo-Young


Before I Fall

Image Via Roger Ebert


Before I Fall the book was originally published in 2010 and was later adapted for a 2017 film. My fifteen-year-old self loved this book and every other YA novel I could get my hands on. Although the 2017 film disappointed my long-lasting expectations, the ending still shook me to my core. I am surprised yet happy to say this film earned a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. 


4. Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins


Wonder Woman

Image Via Vulture 


Wonder Woman comics have become a dime a dozen since her character first appeared in 1941. This powerful female character finally became the star of a film this year with Patty Jenkins on as director. Definitely a female driven narrative that I can get behind! This film earned a whopping 92% on Rotten Tomatoes to top it all off. Congrats to Patty Jenkins!


5. Winter’s Bone directed by Debra Granik


Winter's Bone

Image Via Youtube 

Winter’s Bone was originally published in 2007 and became a film directed by Debra Granik in 2010. I haven’t actually seen this adaptation myself and am not sure how it slipped under my radar, but will be added to the ever-growing list of movies for a rainy day. Especially, since it earned a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes! 


6. We Need to Talk About Kevin directed by Lynne Ramsay  


Talk About Kevin

Image Via FanArt 


We Need to Talk About Kevin was written in 2003 and adapted for film in 2011. I don’t think I saw this, but I definitely need to based on that photo alone! And the decided factor is the 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 


7. Whale Rider directed by Niki Caro 


Whale Rider

Image Via New York Times 


Niki Caro comes up as female director for the second time on this list with her debut adaptation Whale Rider. The book first appeared in 1987 and wasn’t adapted until 2003. Caro killed it in this debut, earning a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. 


I know I used Rotten Tomatoes ratings for every adaptation listed, but I don’t always agree with them! What did you like better, the book or the movie? Leave it in the comments! 


Feature Via Warner Bros.

Meryl Streep

10 Books Sure to Kickstart Your Career

We’ve all heard the spiel: to get a good job you must go to college. But what happens when you get out of college, are about $70,000 in debt, and don’t have the two years of relevant experience that all “entry-level” jobs require nowadays? I’m really asking. 


We millennial women need to stick together in all realms these days, including supporting each other to reach for our highest goals in the job market. I, like most, am having major difficulty in transforming myself from easily-picked-on-millennial to highly-respected-female. To get these answers I figured I’d do what I do best: read. Seeing as how there is no shortage of how-to books, I specifically chose the books with the highest ratings. I’ve compiled a list of ten books sure to help all millennial women achieve their goals from highest to lowest Goodreads rating! 


1. The Power of Onlyness – Nilofer Merchant (4.38 stars)



Image Via Penguin Random House 


In The Power of Onlyness, Nilofer Merchant, one of the world’s top-ranked business thinkers, reveals that, in fact, we have now reached an unprecedented moment of opportunity for your ideas to “make a dent” on the world. Now that the Internet has liberated ideas to spread through networks instead of hierarchies, power is no longer determined by your status, but by “onlyness”–that spot in the world only you stand in, a function of your distinct history and experiences, visions and hopes. If you build upon your signature ingredient of purpose and connect with those who are equally passionate, you have a lever by which to move the world.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


2. Permission to Screw Up – Kristen Hadeed and Simon Sinek (4.34 stars)


Permission to Screw Up

Image Via Amazon 


Per Goodreads, “This is the story of how Kristen Hadeed built Student Maid, a cleaning company where people are happy, loyal, productive, and empowered, even while they’re mopping floors and scrubbing toilets. It’s the story of how she went from being an almost comically inept leader to a sought-after CEO who teaches others how to lead.”


3. Lower Ed – Tressie McMillan Cottom (4.26 stars)


Lower Ed

 Image Via Amazon 


Despite the celebrated history of not-for-profit institutions of higher education, today more than 2 million students are enrolled in for-profit colleges such as ITT Technical Institute, the University of Phoenix, and others. Yet little is known about why for-profits have expanded so quickly and even less about how the power and influence of this big-money industry impact individual lives. Lower Ed, the first book to link the rapid expansion of for-profit degrees to America’s increasing inequality, reveals the story of an industry that exploits the pain, desperation, and aspirations of the most vulnerable and exposes the conditions that allow for-profit education to thrive.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


4. Reset – Ellen Pao (4.24 stars) 



Image Via Penguin Random House 


After Kleiner, Pao became CEO of reddit, where she took forceful action to change the status quo for the company and its product. She banned revenge porn and unauthorized nude photos–an action other large media sites later followed–and shut down parts of reddit over online harassment. She and seven other women tech leaders formed Project Include, an award-winning nonprofit for accelerating diversity and inclusion in tech. In her book, Pao shines a light on troubling issues that plague today’s workplace and lays out practical, inspiring, and achievable goals for a better future.

Ellen K. Pao’s Reset is a rallying cry–the story of a whistleblower who aims to empower everyone struggling to be heard, in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 



5. The Crowdsourceress – Alex Daly (4.22 stars)



Image Via Crowd-sourceress  


In recent years, the crowdfunding industry has generated several billions in funding. But the harsh reality is that around 60 percent of Kickstarter campaigns fail. Enter Alex Daly, a crowdfunding expert who has raised over $20 million for her clients’ campaigns. She has run some of Kickstarter’s biggest projects-TLC’s newest album, Neil Young’s audio player, and Joan Didion’s documentary. In this book, Daly takes readers deep inside her most successful campaigns, showing you how to get fans and influencers excited about your launch, build an appealing and powerfully designed campaign, access proven video tips, pitching tactics, press releases, and rewards ideas, and avoid the most common headaches and pitfalls.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


6. Playing Big – Tara Mohr (4.18 stars)


Playing Big

Image Via Amazon 


In her coaching and programs for women, Tara Mohr saw how women were “playing small” in their lives and careers, were frustrated by it, and wanted to “play bigger.” She has devised a proven way for them to achieve their dreams by playing big from the inside out. Mohr’s work helping women play bigger has earned acclaim from the likes of Maria Shriver and Jillian Michaels, and has been featured on the Today show, CNN, and a host of other media outlets.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


7. The Defining Decade – Meg Jay (4.12 stars)


defining decade

Image Via Amazon 


Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.

Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, THE DEFINING DECADE weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 

8. Things Are What You Make of Them – Adam J. Kurtz (4.11 stars)


Things Are what you make of them

Image Via Penguin Random House  


From the creative mind and heart of Adam J. Kurtz comes this quirky, upbeat rallying cry for creators of all stripes. Expanding on a series of popular guides he’s created for Design*Sponge, this handwritten and heartfelt little book shares wisdom and empathy from one working artist to others. The advice is organized by topic, including:

(How to) Get Over Comparing Yourself to Other Creatives

Seeking & Accepting Help from Others

How to Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)

How to Be Happy (or Just Happier) 

As wry and cheeky as it is empathic and empowering, this deceptively simple, vibrantly full-color book will be a touchstone for writers, illustrators, designers, and anyone else who wants to be more creative–even when it would be easier to give up act normal.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


9. What Works – Iris Bohnet (4.09 stars)



Image Via LSE Blogs 


“What Works” is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomized controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. “What Works” shows what more can be done often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


10. The New Rules of Work – Alexandra Cavoulacos (4.08 stars)


new rules of work

Image Via Amazon 


In this definitive guide to the ever-changing modern workplace, Kathryn Minshew and Alexandra Cavoulacos, the co-founders of popular career website TheMuse.com, show how to play the game by the New Rules. The Muse is known for sharp, relevant, and get-to-the-point advice on how to figure out exactly what your values and your skills are and how they best play out in the marketplace. Now Kathryn and Alex have gathered all of that advice and more in The New Rules of Work. Through quick exercises and structured tips, the authors will guide you as you sort through your countless options; communicate who you are and why you are valuable; and stand out from the crowd. The New Rules of Work shows how to choose a perfect career path, land the best job, and wake up feeling excited to go to work every day– whether you are starting out in your career, looking to move ahead, navigating a mid-career shift, or anywhere in between.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads 


I’ll be adding every one of these to my Amazon cart (and Christmas List). Let me know some of your other favorites!  


Feature Image Via Amazon and Crowd-sourceress 

a scene from the trojan women (1971 film)

9 Books that Represent Women Better Than Female ‘Lord of the Flies’


The recent news that William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is getting an all-female remake has, predictably, infuriated a large swath of the internet. Though we maintain our neutrality in this trying time, we do suggest that it never hurts to get lost in a book that honestly explores what women trapped in the throes of war and abandonment truly go through. This is for all you TV and film executives out there–call us! 


  1. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman


the dovekeepers cover

Image Courtesy of amazon.co.uk


During the first century of the common era, a war between the Jews of Judea and their Roman overseers broke out, with one group of rebels holding out for years on the sparse mountain of Masada until the bitter, bloody end. Hoffman find her way into the lives of these long dead people by inhabiting the minds of four women—spurned daughters, grieving mothers, fearless warriors, crafty magicians—who forge a path to survival by leaning on each other and themselves.


  1. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich


the unwomanly face of war cover

Image Courtesy of Penguin Random House


Alexievich, born and raised in the former Soviet Union, has won vast acclaim (and a Nobel Prize) for her intimate oral histories of  critical moments during the long years of communist rule. This 1985 history—only recently translated into English—covers the experiences of the Soviet women who went to war against the Nazi invaders in the brutal days of WWII. They went in girls, mothers, wives; they came out forever marked by what they saw, who they lost, and the camaraderie they had to form to pull through.


  1. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn


Y: The Last Man cover

Image Courtesy of DC Database


Don’t let the title fool you: The Last Man is practically all about the ladies. After a mysterious affliction wipes out virtually every living thing with a Y chromosome in one night, women from all walks of life must find a way to remake a planet newly bereft of half of its population. Some play nice, grabbing the baton of leadership or hunkering down for a scientific solution to the extinction; others play mean, embracing radical violence and cold militarism in the vacuum left by the men. In any case, they do not lose their minds and start worshipping a rotting pig’s head.



  1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


half of a yellow sun cover

Image Courtesy of Penguin Random House

It’s the early sixties, and twin sisters Olanna and Kainene represent the new Nigeria: newly independent, vibrant, and endlessly complicated. But when their beloved country is torn apart by a vicious civil war, the sisters must tap into reserves of strength they never knew they had in order to sustain their families and save their own lives. But how much can be lost before the war is over?


  1. Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly


ten days in a mad house cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks


Nellie Bly was already on her way to becoming trailblazing reporter in 1887 when she decided to feign insanity in order to investigate the rumored inhumane conditions at a New York City’s women’s mental asylum. The ruse worked perfectly, and Bly was forced to endure the spoiled food, busted sanitation and icy baths that were the norm for unlucky patients. Bly’s exposure of these practices led to a public outcry and brought the brave reporter lasting fame.


  1. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley


the mists of avalon cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks

You’ve probably heard of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table: strong, gallant men who went on gallant quests and lived by a strict code of chivalry. But there were women then, too, and Bradley takes pains to make their stories known. Queens, priestesses, and harpists, they influence the prominent men around them while charging their own way into the annals of mythic British history.


  1. The Trojan Women by Euripides


trojan women cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks


This one’s an oldie—it was first produced in 415 BCE—but we swear it’s a goodie. While the boys of The Lord of Flies flee a nuclear war created by a patriarchal society, the titular women of this play must pick up the pieces of their city after its total devastation by the Greeks, mourning lost loved ones and fighting through ongoing horrors like slavery and rape. Walking on bare ground when the rug’s been snatched underfoot is never pleasant, but these women, royal and commoner alike, do what must be done .


  1. Eclipsed by Danai Gurira


eclipsed cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks


The Second Liberian Civil War was a true hell on earth, especially for the vulnerable women whose bodies were commandeered for the purposes of either sexual slavery or deadly militia service. Eclipsed, by Walking Dead actor/noted playwright Gurira, follows 5 women (4 of them “wives” of a Commanding Officer) wedged between these two unsavory choices. With no good options in sight, the only certain outcome is devastation.


  1. Paradise by Toni Morrison


paradise cover

Image Courtesy of Amazon


In an abandoned mansion in an isolated part of Oklahoma, a group of women form a society completely at odds with the male-dominated town of Ruby not too far away. The two communities quickly clash, sometimes violently. All the while, an even greater threat lurks, threatening to consume them all.


Featured Image Courtesy of Cinemagraphe.

A shelf of books by women in translation

Find Out the Who, What, Where, When of Women in Translation Month

It’s August, which means it’s time to crack into some books by women in translation! Why? You guessed it! It’s Women in Translation Month! 


Women in Translation Month was founded by Meytal Radzinski and “is a global collaborative project to help remedy the discrepancy between the amount of works by women published in English translation, and how they are critically received.”


Due to its aim of “giving a voice to those who are often ignored,” the month includes writing in translation by trans* and non-binary writers. 


Persepolis cover

Image Courtesy of Amazon


Women in Translation Month has been held each August since 2014 and has been gaining attention with each passing year. Last year saw special displays in bookstores everywhere from the UK to Ireland, to the USA, the Netherlands, and Germany. 2017 is seeing in-store events in the USA and Ireland amongst others!


Some of our favorite books by women in translation include Elena Ferrante’s ‘Neapolitan’ novels, starting with ‘My Brilliant Friend,’ and the groundbreaking graphic novel ‘Persepolis‘ by Marjane Satrapi.


My Brilliant Friend

Image Courtesy of Amazon


Approximately 30% of new books translated into English are by female authors. Very few books are actually translated in the first place, and so women become “a minority within a minority.” The problem then extends to how and if these books are reviewed, and if they receive media coverage or recognition. 


This is the first year the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation will be awarded to one of 58 books put forward for the £1,000 award. The prize is open to fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction, or works of fiction for children or young adults. The shortlist features entries from all over the world including Slovakia, Ireland, Korea, Russia, Serbia, and many others. The full list can be seen here.

Featured Image Courtesy of Women in Translation