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Celebrating Women Authors Since 1982


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Conjure Women, by author Afia Atakora
Afia Atakora, author of Conjure Women

Conjure Women

by Afia Atakora

With beautifully descriptive prose, Atakira conjures such a vivid imagining of Reconstruction-era southern plantation life I felt I was living every twist and turn in the lives of her haunting characters… a healer slave and her precocious daughter. Conjurers both, they were privy to behind-closed-door secrets of their community and the plantation families as they practiced midwifery, healing, and voodoo, along with their other mundane tasks. With its unique perspective on this era, I could hardly lay the book down. I cannot wait to see what this gifted writer’s next book will be!


Purchase from Creating Conversations › Visit Afia Atakora’s website ›
Vanishing Half, by author Brit Bennett
Brit Bennett, author of Vanishing Half

Vanishing Half

by Brit Bennett

The many layers and characters in this book will not leave you even after you finish it. Twin sisters who grow up in a small, black community where residents pride themselves on their light skin are inseparable as children, but then find themselves in different worlds, one black and one white. I loved how Bennett intricately weaves the major themes of racism and colorism with the concepts of family, love, motherhood, and relationships. The story handles many of today’s current topics with care and compassion. It is no surprise that it is on most Best Books of 2020, including Time magazine’s 2020 novel of the year.


Purchase from Creating Conversations › Visit Brit Bennett’s website ›
Transcendent Kingdom, by author Yaa Gyasi
Yaa Gyasi, author of Transcendent Kingdom

Transcendent Kingdom

by Yaa Gyasi

Once again Gyasi’s transporting prose mesmerized me as it did in her debut work, Homegoing. This intimate work of our contemporary time maps the internal exploration of a post-doctoral candidate conducting experiments on rats in the hope that scientific results will provide answers to losses in her own family, a family beset by mental illness and addiction. The tensions between science and religion undergird this emotional exploration and I found myself pondering the conclusions and choices of the central character for many weeks. This, for me, is the mark of a highly rewarding reading journey and one I recommend.


Purchase from Creating Conversations › Visit Yaa Gyasi’s website ›
Conditional Citizens, by author Laila Lalami
Laila Lalami, author of Conditional Citizens

Conditional Citizens

by Laila Lalami

My immigrant Father loved books and instilled his love of reading in me. “What are you reading” is our family mantra, sharing books our tradition. Lalami, a Moroccan immigrant, shares her personal story of what it is like to be an immigrant in this country and her book resonated with me. Growing up, I watched my parents being marginalized while encouraging me to be “more American.” Anyone who is an immigrant, or like me, the daughter of immigrant parents, will find this book familiar. Others will appreciate its insightful information regarding the polarization of views in politics, culture, race, class, gender, and religion.


Purchase from Creating Conversations › Visit Laila Lalami’s website ›
Long Bright River, by author Liz Moore
Liz Moore, author of Long Bright River

Long Bright River

by Liz Moore

As a woman with a close relationship to my sister, Moore threw me for an emotional loop during this suspenseful novel about drug addiction and the intense nature of family relationships. Mickey and Kacey’s choices were hard to imagine for my sister and I, but they expose the hard decisions and conversations that bubble up in every family. Actions have consequences that become more dramatic when a sibling is involved. By weaving these themes of family in with the gritty and depressing backdrop of Kacey’s world, I was transported to an alternate life and felt deeply empathetic towards the sisters and their struggle to survive despite their challenging circumstances.


Purchase from Creating Conversations › Visit Liz Moore’s website ›

View our complete Reading List or our archive of Festival Authors


In honor of our co-founder, Harriet Williams, Literary Women Committee created the Emerging Writer Program to focus on our mission to support and encourage new writers of talent and promise. We are proud of the outstanding young women who have participated over the years and invite you to view this years selection.

View this year’s writers ›
Harriet Williams