Women in Nonfiction


Last week, Anne Boyd Rioux wrote a fantastic article over at The Millions titled Is There No Gender Equity in Nonfiction? Though it’s focused on the National Book Award, her question had me scanning my nonfiction shelves (I’m one of those people) and realizing my nonfiction titles tend to be male dominated, despite the fact that my overall reading sits around 70% women this year (I am absolutely one of those people). Even looking at the stacks of nonfiction titles I have set aside for next month’s Nonfiction November event, just three were written by women.

While I’m not under the delusion that I can have any kind of impact on voting for the National Book Award, Rioux’s article—along with her blog post on challenges to Karen Abbott’s credibility—was a bit of a wake up call. I want to make it a goal from this point forward is to focus on finding, reading and featuring books by women in my nonfiction reading. While I work on finishing up my list of fantastic sounding upcoming titles, here are a few recent favorites I think deserve a little more attention.

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox

Flappers by Judith Mackrell

Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe

For the Benefit of Those Who See by Rosemary Mahoney


Have you noticed that your nonfiction reading is gender skewed? Do you have any nonfiction recommendations from female writers?