Throughout history, women have crafted some of the most incredible and beloved stories in the world. From rising stars to household names, female authors have contributed some of the best works of all time for our listening pleasure. At times, especially in societies where gender roles and expectations were rigidly defined, women would write under pen names to avoid the fact that a woman was behind the work.

Discover your new favourite author or revisit an old favourite with our list of the best female authors and their most celebrated works of literature.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in 1931, was an esteemed American novelist, distinguished as the first African-American female writer to win the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature, which she received in 1993.
Morrison grew up in the Midwest of America in a family that enjoyed telling stories about Black culture. As a young girl, she was immersed in storytelling, songs and folktales.

Her critically acclaimed novel Beloved is an absolute must-listen, earning Morrison a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1987. This powerful title is inspired by the true story of an enslaved young woman who runs away. The late author’s works are defined by her depth of knowledge, raw emotion and resonating passion.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author known for her novels, short stories, and non-fiction works. Adichie's award-winning titles explore themes of identity, feminism, politics, and relationships.

If you want to dive into audiobooks written by feminist women authors, look no further than Adichie's library. Her most famous works include Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah, and We Should All Be Feminists. Her works offer many reasons why the fight for gender equality is so important.

Adichie was awarded the Women's Prize for Fiction for her novel Half of a Yellow Sun, which tells the story of the Nigerian Civil War from the perspective of three characters: Olanna, Richard, and Ugwu.

Harper Lee

American novelist Harper Lee is remembered as one of the most influential authors. She is best known for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, a powerful story about racial injustice in small-town Alabama. It was first published in 1960 and earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, becoming a classic of modern literature and one of the defining novels of the 20th century.

Harper Lee was born Nelle Harper Lee in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. As a young woman, she studied law at the University of Alabama but dropped out before receiving her degree.

In 2015, she released Go Set a Watchman, the long-awaited and controversial sequel to her beloved To Kill a Mockingbird, making headlines in the literary world shortly before passing away in 2016.

Jane Austen

An English writer, Jane Austen was born in Hampshire in 1775, and her name has become synonymous with romantic fiction. Her works are set among the British land gentry. In her novels, she explored the themes of marriage, class and the social standing of women in her day.

Austen is remembered as one of the most legendary writers of all time. Her legacy lives on through her six novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. In addition to her published novels, Austen wrote letters which continue to entertain and inform listeners about her life hundreds of years after her death.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, born in 1882, is remembered as one of the 20th century's most innovative writers. Woolf was intrigued by the changing world around her. Her novels, diaries and letters reflect on changes relating to technological advancements, gender roles, class and more.

Her most notable works are To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway. To the Lighthouse is a stunning novel that follows the Ramsay family. They spend their summers on the Isle of Skye, off the coast of Scotland, between 1910 and 1920. Woolf takes listeners on a journey full of childhood emotions, adult relationships and loss while illustrating the problem of perception. The Modern Library named To the Lighthouse number 15 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is an award-winning English novelist and short story writer. Smith is renowned for her playful and witty writing style.

Her debut novel White Teeth was an instant bestseller when it was released in 2000. This funny and heartfelt listen has become a modern classic, centring around Britain's relationship with immigrants from the Commonwealth. It deals with themes of friendship, war, culture and love, creating a powerful portrait of London. The novel was named on TIME magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Her other notable works include On Beauty, The Autograph Man, NW, and Swing Time.

George Eliot

George Eliot is the pen name of English author and poet Mary Ann Evans, born in 1819. She is recognized as one of the most significant writers of the Victorian era.

She wrote seven novels in her lifetime, including Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, Felix Holt, the Radical and Daniel Deronda. She is perhaps best known for her novel Middlemarch. Set in a fictional English town between 1829 to 1832, it covers a range of significant themes, from women’s rights and marriage to education and politics.

Most of her works are set in provincial England, where she came from. Her novels are celebrated for their realism, psychological insight, and detailed countryside settings.

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is an American author, poet and activist, born in 1944. Over her career, she has published countless novels, non-fiction works, poems, essays and stories. As a novelist, she is praised for her poignant and insightful portrayal of African-American life and culture.

Walker is best known for her award-winning novel The Color Purple, which made her the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This epistolary work of fiction is set in the Southern states of the US in the early 1900s. It follows the story of Celie, an underprivileged African-American teenager who overcomes oppression and discovers her independence.

Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt is a celebrated American writer, born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1963. She is praised as one of the leading American contemporary novelists, known for her prose style.

Her debut novel, The Secret History, became an instant hit when it was released in 1992. This international bestseller tells the story of a campus murder mystery with an inventive edge. A decade later, Tartt released her second novel, The Little Friend, a Southern Gothic tale inspired by Tartt's Mississippi origins. The Goldfinch, her third novel, adapted into a Hollywood film, pulls listeners into the thrills and chills of the criminal underworld.

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier was an English novelist and playwright born into a creative family in 1907. Her father was actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier, and her mother was actress Muriel Beaumont.

Her most notable novels are Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, and Frenchman's Creek. Rebecca is a classic Gothic literature title. The story centres on a nameless narrator, a young, unassuming lady's maid who meets a wealthy and handsome widower. When our heroine begins her new life at the country estate called Manderley, she is most unwelcome by the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. She soon realizes that the shadow of her predecessor, Rebecca de Winter, lives on.

Some of du Maurier's works were inspired by her love for the English coastal county of Cornwall. Her short horror story The Birds was later adapted into the 1963 film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock.

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson was an influential American writer known for her classic horror and mystery works. She wrote six novels, two memoirs and more than 200 short stories during her career.

Her most famous novel is The Haunting of Hill House, which follows the story of four people who enter an ugly, abandoned mansion: scholar Dr. Montague, his assistant Theodora, a homeless girl named Eleanor and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. They don't know that the house is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own. The novel inspired the Netflix TV series of the same name, which first aired in 2018.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Bird's Nest, and the short story "The Lottery" are some of her best works. Many authors—Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Richard Matheson—have named Jackson one of their influences.

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë, born in 1816, was the eldest of the legendary Brontë sisters. The author and poet was one of the most celebrated Victorian women writers. Like many women writers of her time, she wrote under a pen name: Currer Bell.

Her undisputed literary masterpiece is Jane Eyre, first published on October 19, 1847. This Gothic fiction follows protagonist Jane from her childhood as an orphan in Northern England through her experience as a governess at Thornfield Hall. Ahead of her time, Brontë explores women’s independence in the mid-19th century, and the societal challenges women had to endure. Brontë also wrote three other novels and various poems.

Louisa May Alcott

Since it was first published in 1868, the novel Little Women remains a favourite of fiction fans around the world. The American author and poet Louisa May Alcott, born in 1832, was the impressive author behind the title. Her relatable characters and strong female heroines define her 19th-century novels.

Little Women is centred around the four March sisters: tomboy Jo, frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and spoiled Amy. The sisters remain united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War. Alcott based the story on her own early life, during which she supported herself and her sisters with “women’s work,” such as sewing and laundry until she realized she could make more money writing.

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was born into a family of thinkers; her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the women's rights advocate and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. At age 16, she fell in love with the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. They later married, and she devoted much of her life to editing his works.

Her fiction debut, the highly-acclaimed Gothic classic Frankenstein, secured her legacy as one of the most widely read and imitated authors of all time. Frankenstein takes the listener on a journey of science, friendship, love and tragedy as scientist Victor Frankenstein's creation of life destroys everything he loves. This timeless science fiction title is one of the most iconic horror works ever written.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri is an American author raised in Rhode Island who was born in London to Indian immigrants in 1967. She is best known for her novels, short stories and essays. Lahiri's works are written in English or Italian.

Lahiri won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000 for her debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies. One of her most celebrated works is her debut novel, The Namesake, which was named a New York Times Notable Book. The novel explores similar themes to Interpreter of Maladies. The story takes place in Calcutta and the United States and follows a young Bengali couple grappling between conflicting cultures with different religions and ideas.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie remains one of the bestselling authors of all time. During her long and accomplished career, Christie became a household name for her murder mystery and crime novels. She wrote 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. As a playwright, she wrote the world’s longest-running drama to be performed live on stage, The Mousetrap.

Her most famous murder mystery novel is Murder on the Orient Express. In this gripping fiction title, the train stops dead in its tracks at midnight. The stranded passengers soon become suspects as they race to uncover the murderer before they strike again. If you’re looking for a nail-biting crime thriller, look no further than our library of Agatha Christie classics.

Arundhati Roy

Suzanna Arundhati Roy, known as Arundhati Roy, is an award-winning Indian author and political activist passionate about human rights and environmental issues. Roy's writing style can be defined by poetic prose.

The author is best known for her debut novel, The God of Small Things, which catapulted her into fame. The novel earned her the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997. Set in 1969 in Kerala, India, this heart-wrenching family drama tells the story of twins Rahel and Estha. Listeners are pulled into the twins' tragic childhood and experiences with the Indian caste system.

In 2017, two decades after the release of The God of Small Things, Roy released her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is a young break-out star who rose to fame by sharing her poetry on social media. She is a poet, author, and illustrator, and she self-published her first major collection, Milk and Honey, at just 21.

The collection of poetry became an international success, selling millions of copies and being translated into languages around the world. She has since followed Milk and Honey with The Sun and Her Flowers and Home Body.

The Indian-born Canadian talent often touches on themes of love, loss, migration, trauma, femininity, and healing, which helps her connect with countless fans around the world.

As a student, Kaur was told that poetry was almost never published and not to waste time on trying to find an audience for her work. Defying this advice, she self-published her collection of poems, designing the cover herself. Kaur quickly became one of the most widely recognised names in literature.

Jann Arden

Jann Arden is a Canadian best known for her music career as a singer and songwriter, and more recently as an actress. But when she turned her hand to writing, Arden became an author to watch.

She wrote her memoir If I Knew Then at the age of 57, sharing her considerable life lessons and the wisdom she discovered along the way—in particular, how it took her until her 50s to stop trying to please everyone else and start living her life for herself.

Arden has also penned Falling Backwards and Feeding My Mother. The former is about her childhood, while the later is about living with a parent who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Both memoirs offer not only insights into the author’s life but also thoughtful commentary on growing up and growing old.

Ashley Audrain

Ashley Audrain worked as a publicity director for Penguin Canada before taking a turn at the writing herself, starting with her debut release, The Push.

In her own words, Audrain describes The Push as a “psychological drama told through the lens of motherhood”. The tale follows a woman who desperately wants to be a wonderful, giving mother to her newborn child, but quickly discovers that motherhood is not at all what she expects.

The Push was an overnight sensation, and scored a record-breaking 23 translation deals within two weeks. Narrated by Audie Award winner Marin Ireland, this audiobook is sure to be popular amongst new mothers struggling with the day-to-day challenges of motherhood and any listener who loves a gripping thriller that shocks at every turn.

Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson is a First Nations author from British Columbia who has won a number of awards and accolades for her fiction. Robinson’s novels often touch on indigenous lives, and always offer compelling, thoroughly enjoyable listens.

One of her most celebrated works is her Trickster series, which begins with Son of a Trickster. At turns hilarious, heartbreaking, and strange, this coming-of-age story follows Jared, an indigenous burnout who makes money by selling weed cookies, and spends most of his time trying to support everyone around him, including his own mother and elderly neighbours. Oh, and ravens speak to him.

Son of a Trickster was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2017 and selected for the 2020 edition of Canada Reads. The sequel, Trickster Drift, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2019. The series is narrated by Jason Ryll, a veteran broadcasting talent regularly heard throughout British Columbia.

Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson is an accomplished Canadian author who worked as a copy editor before becoming a writer herself. Her works often focus on wartime stories, which are undoubtedly influenced by her father, who was an acclaimed historian and who worked at the Canadian National War Memorial in France.

One of Robson’s latest releases is Our Darkest Night, a harrowing and gripping tale of a Jewish woman who must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife to evade the Nazis. Yet as this city girl struggles to adapt to her new life on the farm and avoid the suspicious interest from her neighbours, her connection with the farmer begins to become something more than an act.

With six titles to her name and as a contributor to an anthology collection, Robson has made a name for herself as a talented author specializing in historical fiction. Her other works include The Gown, Goodnight from London, Moonlight over Paris, and After the War Is Over.

Souvankham Thammavongsa

Born in a refugee camp in Thailand in the late 70s, Souvankham Thammavongsa and her family were sponsored to move to Canada when she was just one year old. After studying in Ontario, Thammavongsa became a writer and a poet.

One of her most notable works is How to Pronounce Knife, a short story collection that won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award, and has been named as one of the best books of spring by numerous international publications. It shines a spotlight on the countless people who scrape by, earning a living far from home, and living as best they can.

Thammavongsa was also invited to contribute to The Audlib Project, a collection of works exploring themes of home from five of Canada’s best storytellers.

Paulette Jiles

Novelist and poet Paulette Jiles is an accomplished writer with more than a dozen titles to her name. After growing up in the USA, she spent two decades in Canada, where she helped to set up native language radio stations with indigenous peoples. During this time, she even learned to speak Ojibwe.

Jiles’s novel News of the World is one of her most beloved, and has recently been turned into a film starring Tom Hanks. This National Book Award finalist is a historical fiction that follows Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd in the wake of the Civil War, and his quest to return an orphaned child to her living relatives.

Jiles followed News of the World with Simon the Fiddler, a story about the young fiddler that Kidd encounters during a stop in Spanish Fort. Her other works include Enemy Women, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and Stormy Weather.

Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel shot to international acclaim with her 2014 release Station Eleven, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Toronto Book Award, and was nominated for numerous other prizes and awards.

This Canadian native originally studied contemporary dance after high school, but within a decade had written and published her first novel, Last Night in Montreal. She followed this with The Singer’s Gun and The Lola Quartet, and has recently published The Glass Hotel, an award-winning work of fiction that weaves together multiple tales, creating a stunning tapestry of interlocking narratives.

St. John Mandel is known for her unabashedly gritty style that’s tempered with an upbeat, hopeful tone. Her characters are beautifully developed, and her prose is so thoroughly enjoyable that it makes any of her titles a gratifying and delicious listening experience.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is a prolific writer, and a generally incredibly high achieving human all-round. She has published more than 50 poems, fictions, and essays, and has also worked as an environmental activist and a teacher.

Despite the striking and often terrible scenarios outlined in many of her works, Atwood has explained that not one of these scenarios are completely figments of her imagination—each one has occurred somewhere in the world at some point.

This is even true for one of her best known novels, The Handmaid’s Tale, set in the Republic of Gilead, where women live in subservient roles, and those who are still fertile are tasked with procreating for the future of humanity. The work has become a popular television series, and its new Special Edition audiobook is narrated by a full cast, including actress Claire Danes and Margaret Atwood herself. As a writer, does Atwood believe her role is to give witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and writing career, the acclaimed author considers that very question in her latest release, On Writers and Writing.

Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett is an up-and-coming author whose second release, The Vanishing Half, debuted at the number one spot on the prestigious New York Times best seller list.

Not only was it one of Barack Obama’s favourite books of the year, it has also won a slew of awards and accolades, including the Goodreads Choice Award for best historical fiction. This immensely popular release traces the very different lives of rebellious, light-skinned twin sisters—one who lives as a Black woman, the other who lives as a white woman and keeps her past a secret.

The Vanishing Half follows Bennett’s debut work, The Mothers, which also touches on themes of race, identity, and the choices we make. In both titles, Bennett’s prose is gripping, character-driven, thought-provoking, and utterly unpausable.

Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher is a self-proclaimed Slytherin, is addicted to Starbucks, and thinks she was born as a writer. She loves writing about villains, and always aims to create stories that pull on the heart-strings.

Fisher has published more than a dozen titles, including listens she has co-authored with renowned writer Colleen Hoover. The Wrong Family is one of Fisher’s most renowned, and the kind of psychological thriller that will pull you under from the first minute. It’s dark, mysterious, chilling, and riddled with twists and turns you’ll never see coming.

Fisher’s other works include The Wives, Never Never, and The Opportunist.

Jael Richardson

Jael Richardson may have grown up as the daughter of Canadian Football League great Chuck Ealey, but she has since carved out a space in the world and a name for herself of her own. Among her accomplishments, Richardson is the executive director of the FOLD literary festival, which celebrates diverse authors and storytellers throughout Canada, sponsored in part by Audible.

In her debut release, Gutter Child, Richardson offers a compelling tale of a world in which the privileged Mainland and the strictly controlled Gutter collide. In a social experiment, one hundred Gutter children are raised in the Mainland, But when Elimina, one of the selected children, is left without her Mainland mother, she must create her own path.

Richardson’s second title, The Stone Thrower explores her own family history and the history of her famous dad. Listeners can learn more about Chuck Ealey, his upbringing, relationships, and career, as well as Richardson’s own upbringing in the midst of it all.

Tanya Talaga

Ojibwe Canadian author, truth-teller, and journalist Tanya Talaga spent more than two decades working at The Toronto Star, and is still a regular columnist for The Globe and Mail. Her work and her focus is on Canada’s future and reconciliation, and her messages of hope and inclusion have made her one of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the country. As part of her mission, Talaga is the lead mentor in the Audible Indigenous Writers’ Circle, a program created to help enhance equity and support reconciliation by elevating the voices and telling the stories of Indigenous people in Canada.

In her audiobook Seven Fallen Feathers, Talaga recounts the true story of the deaths of seven Indigenous high school students in northern Ontario throughout the early 21st century. Her investigative reporting skills are on show as she delves into each of the student’s stories and uncovers Canada’s ongoing battle with human rights violations. The release was a finalist for numerous awards, and has become a must-listen for anyone looking to better understand Canada’s past, and present.

Talaga’s other works include Seven Truths, an Audible Original, and All Our Relations, which touch on similar subjects of racism, reconciliation, and hope.

Katherena Vermette

Katherena Vermette hails from the Métis nation in Winnipeg, and studied for a Master of Fine Arts in British Columbia. Vermette grew up surrounded by injustice and prejudice, and even lost her older brother when she was just 14. Driven by his death, and the shocking lack of interest from the local community and media, Vermette grew to become an activist for awareness and change.

In 2016, Vermette released her debut novel. The Break is a comprehensive story covering multiple perspectives of a fictional crime in Winnipeg’s North End. The title won countless awards and became a bestseller across Canada. Fusing love, prejudice, fear, and heartbreak in a stunning family saga, this audiobook will leave you breathless—and thinking.

Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews (pronounced ‘Taves’) is an acclaimed Canadian author who grew up in Manitoba and spent some time living in Montreal and London before making her way to Winnipeg. She began writing novels when she was working as a freelance journalist, and quickly began to receive nominations for various literature awards for her work.

Toews published All My Puny Sorrows in 2014, which would go on to be one of her most beloved and awarded titles. The audiobook follows the story of two sisters raised in a Mennonite family who lead remarkably contrasting lives. Yet it’s not the outwardly ‘messy’ one who can’t bear her daily life. All My Puny Sorrows won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and numerous other finalist places.

Toews’ other titles include Women Talking, A Complicated Kindness, and Swing Low.

L.M. Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery, otherwise known as Lucy Maud Montgomery, is one of Canada’s most cherished authors. Using a pseudonym of her initials rather than her feminine name in order to publish and sell her works, Montgomery blazed a path for women writers everywhere with her endearing heroine, introduced in Anne of Green Gables.

Anne Shirley is 11 years old and an orphan, and she’s finally being adopted. Yet the older couple who adopted her were expecting a strong young man who can help out around the farm—not this slender redhead who can’t stop talking. Yet with her upbeat, can-do attitude, Anne quickly wins them over, and her adventures truly begin.

Montgomery’s Anne series includes nine titles, but she has also produced several standalone works, a trilogy, and more, each with her own charming, light-hearted, and enjoyable style.

Megan Gail Coles

Born and raised in Savage Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, Megan Gail Coles began her career in theatre. She co-founded, and was the artistic director, at the Poverty Cove Theatre Company, and attended the National Theatre School of Canada.

This woman of many talents wrote several plays, as well as a short story collection titled Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, which won several awards.

Her debut novel, Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club is best described as a love letter to her home province, including all the good, all the bad, and everything in between. Set against the backdrop of a major blizzard smothering the small town of St. Johns, this story explores the relationships, heart-break, and betrayals of the people of the town.

Alice Munro

Alice Munro is one of Canada’s most renowned writers, having won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013. The Ontario native is known for her short stories and widely credited for revolutionising the medium with her playfulness and creativity when it comes to structure.

Her release Runaway offers listeners a collection of short stories. In each of these stories, Munro explores the lives of women, uncovering the complexity of life through straightforward prose. The work won the 2004 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, as well as the Giller Prize.

Munro also won the Man Booker Prize for her lifetime body of work in 2009, which includes Friend of My Youth, Dear Life, and Too Much Happiness.

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-born Canadian and award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. Her 2010 release Room is arguably her most well-known title, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes, and which she later adapted into film.

Her most recent release, The Pull of the Stars is set in 1918 Dublin during the Great Flu pandemic (although it was written before the outbreak of coronavirus). This surprisingly timely title follows three people—a volunteer, a nurse midwife, and a doctor—struggling to save lives in a maternity quarantine ward.

Donoghue’s collective novels, short stories, and plays touch on themes of feminism, hardship, and sexual identity, and her writing is always compelling, challenging, and human.