A (non-exhaustive) list of diverse book recommendations for anyone who wants to start reading women and LGBT authors.

In my previous post about writing women I mentioned how important reading women is. And this is true not just for men, but for everyone. Women and girls have been told all our lives that the greatest works in literature are (almost) always written by men, and, for me at least, it has taken work to seek out women and gender diverse authors to read and appreciate.


The Color Purple Alice Walker

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Persuasion Jane Austen

Villette Charlotte Brontë

The Waves Virginia Woolf


  • The Fifth Season N. K. Jemisin
  • The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula LeGuin
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Becky Chambers
  • Parable of the Sower Octavia E. Butler
  • This is How You Lose the Time War Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone


  • Sexy Female Murderesses Eloise Grills
  • The Sexual Politics of Meat Carol J. Adams
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches Audre Lorde 
  • Three Women Lisa Taddeo
  • Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype Clarissa Pinkola Estés  

Historical Fiction

  • Circe Madeline Miller
  • The Essex Serpent Sarah Perry
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Silence of the Girls Pat Barker
  • The War Widow Tara Moss

Magical Realism

  • Her Body and Other Parties Carmen Maria Machado 
  • The House of the Spirits Isabel Allende
  • Picnic in the Storm Yukiko Motoya
  • Piranesi Susanna Clarke
  • Smart Ovens for Lonely People Elizabeth Tan


  • The Face of Resistance: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Fight for Freedom Aung San Suu Kyi
  • The Green Bell Paula Keogh
  • Heavy Kiese Laymon
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl Carrie Brownstein
  • Reckoning: A Memoir Magda Szubanski
  • Shy: A Memoir Sian Prior
  • Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout Laura Jane Grace


  • The Discomfort of Evening Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
  • Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer Michelle McNamara
  • Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
  • The Vanishing Half Brit Bennett


  • A Thousand Mornings Mary Oliver
  • Bluets Maggie Nelson
  • The Carrying Ada Limon
  • The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde Audre Lorde
  • Throat Ellen van Neerven
  • Who Loves At All Natalie Briggs

Whatever your genre of choice, hopefully this list of diverse book recommendations has something for everyone.

For further diverse book recommendations you can check out the Stella Prize shortlist & longlist for 2021 here and the Stonewall Book Awards lists here.

If you have any books to recommend, feel free to leave us a comment!

Happy reading!