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A society with equal rights and opportunities for women is always wanted and there is no denying the fact that consistent struggles and voices raised for women empowerment over the years have reduced gender biasedness to a great extent. However, the skills, the strength and intelligence a woman showcase has never fallen back to make a change in the society and always stand out raising high the prestige of the society. Talking of literature of all time, we have made here a list of 12 famous female writers of India who have earned great reputation worldwide


1. Manikuntala Sen


An excellent orator and socially inspiring communist, as described in the words of Ranabir Samadder, she was one of the very well known activists in the Communist Party in around 1940s to early 1960s. Originating from Barishal, Bangladesh, she had been a direct witness to the contemporary spiritual-revolutionary locale. She wrote a memoir in Bengali language , Sediner Kotha, which was published in English as In Search of Freedom: An Unfinished Journey. She is celebrated as on the most famous female writers of India.

2. Ashapoorna Devi


A prominent Bengali poet and novelist Ashapoorna Devi was awarded Jnanpith award and Padma Shri in 1976 by the Government of India and was also accoladed Sahitya Akademi in 1994.

She had composed as many as thirty novels or more, poetry, fiction for children however her three novels Pratham Protisruti, Subarnalata, and Bokul Katha gained immense proclamation. Focusing somewhat on the patriarchal society and gender biasedness that exists, she had brought the revolutionary climax in her writings that involved the women to speak for their own rights and take necessary staggering actions. She initially wrote Chhoto Thakurdar Kashi Yatra for children, then her story Patni O Preyoshi, followed by Prem O Prayojan, her debut in adult fiction.

3. Mahasweta Devi​


A socio-political activist and well-known fiction writer Mahasweta Devi was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award, Jnanpith Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Padma Shri, Padma Vibhusan for her immense literary contribution.

Writing over 100 novels and 20 collections of short stories particularly in Bengali language, her best creations address to Hajar Churasir Maa, Rudali, Aranyer Adhikar, Jhansi Rani(biography). Her short story collections include Agnigarbha, Murti, Neerete Megh, Stanyadayani, Chotti Munda Ebong Tar Tir.

Suchitra Bhattacharya – Special Mention

FAMOUS FEMALE WRITERS - Suchitra Bhattacharya

An Indian novelist and prolific writer Suchitra Bhattacharya, immensely influenced by the literary contribution of Ashapoorna Devi and Mahasweta Devi also followed their paths of penning down social issues, contemporary lifestyle, voices of women against patriarchy in her short stories and novels.

Of 24 novels and many short stories, some include Kaccher Manush, Dahan, Kacher Dewal, Hemanter Pakhi, Aleek Sukh, Chhera Taar, Anya Basanto, Dahan, Mitin Mashi, Alochhaya. She created female detective character Mitin Mashi in her story Hatey Matro Tintey Din that was recently filmed in 2019 starring Koyel Mallick. Many of her stories were filmed in Bengali movies like Hemanter Pakhi in 2002, Ichhe in 2011, Alik Sukh in 2013, Ramdhanu in 2014. She received many awards and accolades for her worthy literary contribution thereby enriching Bengali literature.

4. Kamala Das​


An Indian English poet and Malayalam author from Kerala, her Muslim name being Kamala Surayya is well known for her short stories, poems, and explicit autobiography.

Her poetry collections include Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse, and Other Poems (1973). Her literary works include the novel Alphabet of Lust (1976), the short stories “A Doll for the Child Prostitute” (1977) and “Padmavati the Harlot” (1992). Writing with Malayalam pen name Madhavikutty, many of her Malayalam works include the short-story collection Thanuppu (1967; “Cold”) and the memoir Balyakalasmaranakal (1987; “Memories of Childhood”). Her best-known work is the autobiography in Malayalam, Ente Katha (1973), in English as My Story (1976), however, later she claimed that many of its parts were fictional.

She received Vayalar Award, Mutatthu Varkey Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for story, Kerala State Film Award for her best story and also Asian World Prize for Literature in 1985, all these make her one of the most famous female writers of India.

5. Jhumpa Lahiri​


An American author with Indian lineage Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri mostly known as Jhumpa Lahiri is famous for her short stories, essays, novels mostly in English and recently some in Italian. 

Her debut collection Interpreter of Maladies (1999) earned her Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000 and PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction the same year. Her novels include The Namesake (2003) and The Lowland(2013) spreading the awareness of South Asian culture, her fiction collection includes Unaccustomed Earth(2008). Her literary works in Italian language include In altre parole (In Other Words) and Dove mi trovo (“Where I Find Myself”).

6. Shobhaa De

An Indian columnist and novelist, popularly known as the ‘Jackie Collins of India’, Shobhaa De is well known as a copywriter, a journalist, a socialite, a scriptwriter and a bestselling novelist. Though starting her career initially as a model, later on, she switched to journalism dolling out her sharp socio-political views about the emerging reforms of the society. She is a popular writer in The Times of India paper for the column “Politically Incorrect”.

Her books include Socialite Evenings(1989), Starry Nights(1991), Strange Obsession(1992), Sisters(1992), Sultry Days(1994), Snapshots(1995),Second Thoughts(1996), Speedpost(1999), Spouse:The Truth About Marriage(2005), Sethji(2012) and many more.

7. Sushmita Banerjee

An Indian writer and activist, also known as Sayeda Kamala, Sushmita Banerjee is popular for her Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou (“A Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife”) published in 1995 that depicts how she faced Talibani adversities after marrying an Afgan businessman and escaped back to Kolkata. Even a Bollywood movie was filmed in 2003 based on her story named Escape from Taliban starring Manisha Koirala.

Her literary works include Talibani Atyachar — Deshe o Bideshe (Taliban atrocities in Afghanistan and Abroad), Mullah Omar, Taliban O Ami (Mullah Omar, Taliban and I), Ek Borno Mithya Noi (Not a Word is a Lie) and Sabhyatar Sesh Punyabani (The Swansong of Civilisation).

8. Anita Desai​

Born as Anita Majumdar, married to Ashwin Desai, Anita Desai is an Indian novelist of 20th century who writes mostly in English and is well known for drawing the inner lives of Indian inhabitants reflecting a tragic view of life. 

Her first novel Cry, the Peacock (1963), a later novel Where Shall We Go This Summer? (1975), furthermore, In Custody (1984) and Journey to Ithaca (1995), other literary works include Fire on the Mountain (1977), Clear Light of Day (1980), Baumgartner’s Bombay (1988), Fasting, Feasting (1999), The Zigzag Way (2004). Her short fiction collections include Games at Twilight, and Other Stories (1978) and Diamond Dust, and Other Stories (2000), The Village by the Sea (1982).

Her daughter Kiran Desai became the youngest female to receive Booker prize in 2006 for her novel The Inheritance of Loss in 2006.

9. Namita Gokhale​

An Indian author, publisher and Founder-Director of Jaipur Literature Festival, Namita Gokhale is the author of eighteen books that comprises nine works of fiction and many non-fiction works. Depicting the course and concerns of common men and she created some innovative protagonist characters like Paro and Priya, Grandmother’s Gudiya and Shakuntala in some of her novels. 

Her debut novel Paro: Dreams of Passion, ironic fable Gods Graves and Grandmother, other literary works include A Himalayan Love Story, A Himalayan Love Story, Play of Memory, Things to Leave Behind and non-fiction books like Mountain Echoes, The Book of Shiva, The Puffin Mahabharata.

She co-edited her latest anthology with Ruskin Bond “Himalaya: Adventures, Meditations” and she has always been active columnist and reviewer for reputed publications like The Times of IndiaThe Indian ExpressOutlook Magazine. 

10. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

An Indian-American author and poet, Chitra Banerjee Devakurni is well known for writing novels in multiple genres, that includes realistic as well as historical fiction, magical realism, myth and fantasy. 

Her novel Mistress of Spices also got filmed in 2005 starring Ashwariya Roy and McDermott. Her notable work Palace of Illusions taken into a play named Fire and Ice: Draupadi’s Story and is currently getting filmed with Deepika Padukone as Draupadi scheduled in 2021. Her other literary works include Arranged Marriage(2005), Sister of my Heart: A Novel(1999), The vine of Desire(2002), Queen of Dreams(2004), One Amazing Thing(2010), Oleander Girl: A Novel(2012), The Forest of Enchanments(2019) and many more.

11. Arundhuti Roy​

Rising to fame on the eve of 1997, probably the first women to have won the Man Booker Prize for fiction, Arundhuti Roy earned global acclamation for her novel The God of Small Things. Her other literary works include Power Politics (2001), The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2002), War Talk (2003), Public Power in the Age of Empire (2004), Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers (2009), Broken Republic: Three Essays (2011), and Capitalism: A Ghost Story (2014), The Ministry of Utmost Happiness(2017). 

Her active participation in human rights issues and environmental causes throughout the years landed her with Lannan Cultural Freedom Award in 2002 and the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004. She also received the Sahitya Akademi Award from the Indian Academy of Letters in 2006.

12. Preeti Shenoy​

An Indian author and artist, Preeti Shenoy, has been consistently nominated for the Forbes list of 100 most influential Indians since 2013. Her writings mostly demonstrate basic courses of life incidents with engaging yet simple writing technique. Her books include 34 Bubblegums and Candies, Life Is What You Make It, Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake, The Secret Wish List, The One You Cannot Have, It Happens for a Reason, Why We Love The Way We Do, It’s All in the Planet’s, A Hundred Little Flames, Love A Little Stronger, The Rule Breakers, Wake Up, Life is Calling.

Here you have our list of TOP 12 FAMOUS FEMALE WRITERS OF INDIA. These women are real embodiment of female empowerment. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Happy Reading!!!



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