As you probably know, we at Talespin are an all female led theatre company and we pride ourselves on creating work with women in the focus. We pride ourselves on the fact we are bringing more opportunities to working class actors from different backgrounds, fighting for a more equal industry.
Women have changed the world in writing and theatre, and led the way in this mission. So why are there so little of them recognised? And whoever said 'Women can't write male characters' was totally crazy! And here are ten women who not only rocked the literary world, but wrote brilliant male characters.
Here is our run down of 10 female writers who turn heads.
10. Jane Austen was a great woman novelist of the early 19th century. In her works, she mirrored society: manners, customs, and beliefs. Her most famous works include six well-read novels: Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma. Each book deals with the breaking down of boundaries and she created male characters that have stood the test of time. The disapproving Mr. Darcy, Sweet Mr Bingley and the loving warm father figure of Mr Bennett from pride and prejudice. Emma, the male characters such as Emma's father with his phobias of the world to the kind Mr knights, slime bag Mr Elton and callous Mr Churchill.
9. Lorraine Hansberry was the first black female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun. At the young age of 29, she won the New York's Drama Critic's Circle Award — making her the first African American dramatist, the fifth woman, and the youngest playwright to do so. In one of the scenes, Beneatha's cutting of her hair is a very powerful social statement, as she symbolically declares that natural is beautiful, prefiguring the 1960s cultural credo that black is beautiful.
8. Charlotte Brontë worked as a teacher and governess before collaborating on a book of poetry with her two sisters, Emily and Anne, who were writers as well. The Brontës’ novels often revolved around the female characters finding deserving husbands, rather than breaking completely free of social conventions. However a lot of their ideas were radical for their time. For example, in Jane Eyre, Charlotte wrote a character who despite her status moved into higher society and married a man above her station.
7. Lauren Yee is an American playwright who wrote The Tiger Among Us and Kumu Kahua Theatre Pacific Rim Prize winner. Her plays reach into themes such as communism’s relationship towards Western culture and the relationships or Asian American families.
6. Penelope Skinner is a British playwright who came to prominence after her play Fucked was first produced in 2008 at the Old Red Lion Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival to huge critical acclaim and has had successive plays staged in London including at the Bush Theatre, National Theatre and Royal Court Theatre, where she is a member of the Young Writers Programme.
5. Naomi Sumner Chan, Yes we know, we are biased but seriously her work really is something else. In 2013 Naomi wrote a short play called High Force which was one of the three winners of the First Break writing competition at Oldham Coliseum and went on to be performed at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival. Since then, she has gone on to creat Brush Stroke Order
And helped many new writers find their path
4. Maya Angelou, was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She was a Civil Rights Activist, and in 1972 she wrote Georgia, Georgia, a Swedish-American drama that would later be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
3. Caryl Churchill is a British playwright known for dramatising the abuses of power, for her use of non-naturalistic techniques, and for her exploration of sexual politics and feminist themes. She wrote Seven Jewish Children – a play for Gaza and Top Girls among her many plays that reached critical acclaim
2. Lynn Nottage is an American, pulitzer prize winning and two time winner of the Obie Award playwright whose work often deals with the lives of marginalized people. Nottage's two decades of work has garnered praise for bringing challenging and often forgotten, stories onto the stage.
1. Lucy Kirkwood playwright and screenwriter. She is writer in residence at Clean Break. In June 2018 Kirkwood was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in its "40 Under 40" initiative. In 2014, her drama series The Smoke was televised on Sky 1. It follows the exploits of white watch at a fictional London fire station. She is developing a TV series with Kudos Film & Television and writes for the Company Pictures TV series Skins.