JK Rowling not the first famous female author: Angry Internet fights for Mary Shelley, Agatha Christie and more

'Not long before Rowling was published, women authors were unheard of,' read a controversial tweet and it soon got the Internet buzzing


                            JK Rowling not the first famous female author: Angry Internet fights for Mary Shelley, Agatha Christie and more
Mary Shelley, JK Rowling and Agatha Christie (Getty Images)

Did JK Rowling's 'Harry Potter' series make the world look up to women authors? A Twitter thread claims that the British author made people lift their heads up and notice books published by women and it has started quite a huge debate. 

"Okay class raise your hand if you read a book by a woman that was published before 1997," the tweet read. It was posted along with a screenshot that read: "Not long before Rowling was published, women authors were unheard of. Now your generation gets to take us further than my generation ever could because we aren't living your lives. But at least acknowledge that we laid the groundwork for you to take us on the next step." The controversial tweet soon went viral with almost 5,000 retweets and 22,000 likes and Twitter was bombarded with a string of popular female author names. 

Margaret Atwood (Getty Images)

Not to belittle what Rowling did for the reader community, but any bibliophile would point out how many more female icons penned down words of wonder and inspired the community. In no time, the micro-blogging site was buzzing with names of well-established, progressive female authors from the 1700s, 1800s and even 1950s to the 1980s who stimulated the book reading culture. "Hmmm, let's see - Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Margaret Atwood, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Strout, Edna O'Brien, Kate Atkinson, Sylvia Plath, Carol Shields, Miriam Toews, Emily Bronte. I could go on, but I'm out of the room," one angry bookworm stormed off.

"Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, Mary Shelley, Louisa May Alcott... I can keep going. What an egregious statement whoever wrote that needs to go to a library," one upset reader wrote. Another said, "All of my favorite authors from childhood were women who wrote in the seventies and later. How do people come out with these trash takes?" One even went on to say: "It shouldn't come as a surprise to me that the most continuously affronted of second-wave feminists don't read, and yet."

Judy Blume (Getty Images)

Many others pointed out that the statement was factually wrong while naming at least 20 more authors. "So Agatha Christie, Beverly Cleary, Judy Bloom, Robin McKinley, Anne McCaffrey, Lucy Maude Montgomery did not exist? You can make an argument that BIPOC women authors were few and far between because publishing is white af, but “no women authors” before 1997 is BS," one tweet read and another said, "Honestly I can just imagine the Bronte sisters and Mary Shelley wrapping chains around their fists right now in the afterlife over that boneheaded f**king OP."

"As a lady and a bookworm, I'm offended on behalf of the Brontes, Mary Shelley, Ursula K. Guin, Simone De Beauvoir, Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Edith Wharton, Agatha Christie, Toni Morrison, Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Plath, Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Harper Lee..." one said. Suffice to say, there have been enough women authors before Rowling and hopefully, there will be many more in the future. 

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