Women writers thrive in the fantasy genre

Annie Ketler

Contributing Writer


International Women’s Day gives us many opportunities: a chance to reflect on what has happened in the past, a chance to consider all that women can do and a chance to dream about what’s to come. Women of every race and identity all across the world come together to dream about S.T.E.M., art, history and, most importantly to me, literature.

As long as there has been writing, there have been women writers. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shibiku is the earliest known novel to have been written by a woman. Sappho was one of the nine lyric poets of Greek times, and one of the most respected, even to this day. Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights and Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, two of the most popular and parodied works in the 21st century. Yet while we know and admire women for many classical aspects of literature, and recognize them for young adult works (Harry Potter, “Twilight) or dystopian works (A Handmaid’s Tale, “he Hunger Games, “Divergent), we often fail to recognize the writing accomplishments of women in the fantasy genre.

Women have been writing fantasy for a very long time, and they make up a large portion of self-published writing in the fantasy and romance genres. V. Romas Burton of the Heartmender series, Hope Ann of the “Legends of Light” novellas (if you haven’t read Shadowkeeper or Healer’s Bane, you’re missing out), Angela R. Watts of the bestselling Infidel Trilogy and the upcoming GOLGOTHA, and R. M. Archer of The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles are just some of the amazing women making strides in the self-publishing world.

There are incredibly amazing women who have been traditionally published and have made huge strides in the fantasy world. Sarah J. Maas is the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and now has offers to make TV shows out of her books. Her works are popular worldwide and have cult followings similar to that of Game of Thrones.

N.K. Jemisin is a woman of color, known for her books Inheritance and Broken Earth trilogies, and hailed as “the most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation” by the New York Times. 

You might find yourself wondering: are any of these wonderful female authors from Ohio? The answer is yes! In fact, two of the grandest authors of this decade are from right here!

Cinda Chima Williams is a name I’m positive you have seen in libraries. A New York Times bestselling author, Cinda Chima Williams, is responsible for works such as The Heir Chronicles, The Shattered Realm Series and The Seven Realms series. I met Cinda Chima Williams at the Rodman Public Library, also in Ohio, and she is one of the most interesting, most creative people I have ever met. She is from Springfield, and her books can be found in Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Millions and libraries across the country.

The other author is the one and only Emily A. Duncan, who wrote the bestselling novel Wicked Saints. Duncan is an unapologetic goth, born and raised in Ohio, who graduated from Malone University and got her master’s at Kent State University. Her Wicked Saints series now includes three books, all as powerful as the first, dreamed up at her alma mater.

Women are making strides in the fantasy fields. Although it is powerful enough for us that women are making these grand achievements, it is even more inspiring for me that some of these bestselling authors come from Ohio.