The ultimate Women’s History Month reading list

Looking for the ultimate Women's History Month reading list? Authors Phoebe McIntosh, Pip Williams, Ela Lee and Catherine Coldstream share some of their top picks.

Whether they're working behind the scenes to bring our books to your shelves, or writing the books themselves, Vintage has many women to celebrate this March — and all year round.

In honour of Women's History Month, we asked a few of our authors to share some of their favourite books written by women with us.

From gripping historical fiction and long-loved classics, to memoirs that will leave you feeling inspired, this is the ultimate Women's History Month reading list.

Phoebe McIntosh Recommends...

So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan

'A firecracker pocket of a novel.'

An exquisite new short story from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Small Things Like These and Foster. This is the story of a man told in the course of one weekend, and his musings on a relationship that ended in an unexpected way. In So Late in the Day, Keegan asks if a lack of generosity might ruin what could be between men and women.

The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi

What if there was a way to become fluent in a language in ten days? The Centre is an elite, invite-only programme that guarantees just that. Anisa Ellahi enrols and undergoes the Centre's strange and rigorous processes, but soon realises the disturbing, hidden costs of its services... Phoebe recommends The Centre's audiobook, calling it an 'even more wild and provocative' experience.

In the Margins by Elena Ferrante

'One for people who love to write, or read, or just love Elena Ferrante.'

From the internationally acclaimed author of My Brilliant Friend, The Lying Life of Adults, and The Lost Daughter, come four revelatory pieces offering rare insight into the author's formation as a writer and life as a reader. Ferrante warns us of the perils of 'bad language' ― historically alien to the truth of women ― and advocates for a collective fusion of female talent as she brilliantly discourses of the work of her most beloved authors.

Catherine Coldstream Recommends...

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

A book Catherine discovered in her early 20s, Villette follows Lucy Snowe as she sets sail from England to find employment in a girls' boarding school in the small town of Villette. Drawing on her own deeply unhappy experiences as a governess in Brussels, Charlotte Brontë's autobiographical novel, the last published during her lifetime, is a powerfully moving study of loneliness and isolation, and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.

Frost in May by Antonia White

Nanda Gray, the daughter of a Catholic convert, is nine when she is sent to the Convent of Five Wounds. Quick-witted, resilient and eager to please, she accepts this closed world where, with all the enthusiasm of the outsider, her desires and passions become only those the school permits. Her only deviation from total obedience is the passionate friendships she makes. Catherine returns to this book 'again and again'.

Bad Blood by Lorna Sage

'A work of absolute genius.'

From a childhood of gothic proportions, through teenage pregnancy in the 1960s, Lorna Sage vividly and wittily brings to life a vanished time and place and illuminates the lives of three generations of women in one of the most critically acclaimed memoirs of all time.

Pip Williams Recommends...

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


Iceland, 1829 – Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the murder of her lover. Inspired by a true story, Burial Rites is perfect for fans of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.

Still Life by Sarah Winman

'It was a joyous time of my life, reading this book.'

1944, in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening. Moving from the Tuscan Hills and piazzas of Florence, to the smog of London’s East End, Still Life is a sweeping, joyful novel about beauty, love, family and fate.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

'This remains on of my favourite historical fiction books.'

The Signature of All Things soars across the globe of the nineteenth century, from London and Peru, to Philadelphia, Tahiti and beyond. Peopled with extraordinary characters along the way, most of all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker.

Ela Lee Recommends...

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide – confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times.

Concerning my Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin

When a mother allows her thirty-something daughter to move into her apartment, she wants for her what many mothers might say they want for their child: a steady income, and, even better, a good husband with a good job with whom to start a family. But when Green turns up with her girlfriend, Lane, in tow, her mother is unprepared and unwilling to welcome Lane into her home. In Concerning My Daughter, translated from Korean by Jamie Chang, Kim Hye-jin lays bare our most universal fears on ageing, death, and isolation, to offer finally a paean to love in all its forms.

More picks for Women's History Month