As the publishing industry prepares to celebrate Feminist Book Fortnight (16th to 30th June) in a bid to add to the debate about diversity in publishing, we’ve gathered a selection of our favourite books that aim to empower women.


Anthology of Amazing Women by Sandra Lawrence and Nathan Collins, 20 Watt

This beautifully illustrated collection tells the awe-inspiring stories of 50 women who have pushed the boundaries of human excellence and endeavour.

Standing out for their achievements in sport, science, the arts, politics and history, these women have made huge contributions to society. Featuring incredible women from the past and present, including: Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg, Mary Anning, Emmeline Pankhurst and Malala.

The ‘Anthology of Amazing Women’ highlights incredible women from all over the world (both now and throughout history), and tells the story of their lives and achievements. In the world today, it is more important than ever for all children to hear the stories of inspiring women, and find new role models.

-Fay Evans, Senior Commissioning Editor, Weldon Owen UK

Trailblazer: The story of ballerina Raven Wilkinson written by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, Little Bee Books

This beautiful picture book tells the little-known and uplifting story of Raven Wilkinson, the first African American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company.

A powerful tale about demonstrating strength in the face of adversity, Wilkinson’s story will inspire children of all ages to follow their dreams. In addition, Misty Copeland’s beautifully written foreword will delight ballet and dance fans.

Trailblazer encapsulates everything we’re looking for in a picture book. It’s a little-known biography of a woman who persisted, against all odds, to realize her dream. We hope that this story inspires and empowers children and adults alike.

– Sonali Fry, Publisher, Little Bee Books

Young adult 

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill, Hot Key Books

The latest teen novel from the sparkling Laura Dockrill, introducing Bluebelle, and her moving, hilarious take on food, body image and how we look after ourselves and others.

A heart-warming story about Bluebell, aka BB, aka Big Bones – a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself. Moving, memorable and hilarious.

With ever-younger teens and children filtering photos to look a prescribed way, a book starring a body-positive teenager feels revolutionary. Bluebelle is big and she’s proud – not just of her body for being how she likes it, but of taking up space in the world and not letting anyone else tell her how she should enjoy her life. She is a role model for teenage girls – and adults – everywhere.

-Jenny Jacoby, Commissioning Editor, Bonnier Zaffre

The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington, Hot Key Books

Rose, Ella, Marta and Carla. In another life we might all have been friends together. But this was Birchwood.

Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Auschwitz, as readers may recognise it. Every dress she makes could mean the difference between life and death. And this place is all about survival.

A powerful and affecting novel for readers of The Diary of Anne Frank and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

The Red Ribbon by fashion historian and YA writer Lucy Adlington moves me to tears every time I read it. Set in the women’s camp in Auschwitz, Lucy tenderly yet unflinchingly probes what life as a women must have been like in this most hellish of situations. The bravery and the support of the women to each other, where even the gift of a short piece of ribbon can be an enduring sign of friendship, is like nothing I have ever read. Female relationships in all their shapes and forms, some abusive, some deeply and bravely loyal are portrayed in this magnificent piece of writing that although set in the past, shines a light that is still relevant in today’s world.

-Emma Matthewson, Publishing Director, Bonnier Zaffre

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, Hot Key Books

From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful psychological suspense novel – the story of a young women whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. Genuine Fraud asks: how many times can someone reinvent themselves? As the reader, you are the judge.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by the stars of HBO series Girls, Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham, who described the book as an “addictive and shocking feminist thriller,” this is a must-read this Feminist Book Fortnight.

Genuine Fraud by the brilliant E Lockhart is a dazzling exploration of what it is to be a woman, couched in a shocking and mesmerising thriller. Jule is ferocious, dangerous and a loner. Sisterly? Not so much. But E Lockhart does not pull her punches as she drills right down into what the expectations are of women in today’s society, and how the expectations and pressures we place upon ourselves as women are just as hard to bear. I could not put this book down.

-Emma Matthewson, Publishing Director, Bonnier Zaffre


Widows by Lynda La Plante, Bonnier Zaffre

Serving as the basis for Steve McQueen’s upcoming major motion picture, the groundbreaking Widows from the Queen of Crime Drama, is a fast-paced heist thriller with an all female cast you won’t forget.

Dolly Rawlins, Linda Perelli and Shirley Miller are left devastated when their husbands are killed in a security van heist that goes disastrously wrong.

When Dolly discovers her husband’s bank deposit box containing a gun, money and detailed plans for the hijack, she has three options. She could hand over the ledgers to the Detective. She could hand them over to the thugs who want to take over Harry’s turf. Or, she and the other widows could finish the job their husbands started.

As they rehearse the raid, the women discover that Harry’s plan required four people and recruit hooker Bella O’Reilly. But only three bodies were discovered in the carnage of the original hijack – so who was the fourth man, and where is he now?

We’re so proud to be publishing Lynda La Plante’s brilliant crime novel Widows in a new version this summer. It’s hard to remember now just how groundbreaking Lynda’s original book and TV series were when they first came out in the 1980s, with its four major roles for women, one of whom was middle-aged and one of whom was black. And it is a tribute to the enduring dramatic strength of the concept that Steve McQueen’s movie Widows – due out this autumn – is based on Lynda’s story.

-Kate Parkin, Executive Director, Bonnier Zaffre

What’s Your M.O.? by Jennifer Worick, Bluestreak Books

Beyond her time as the First Lady, Michelle Obama’s voice and presence continues to resonate with women on a profound level.

Michelle is both the ultimate role model and the everywoman. If you can’t be her, you may at least want to be like her. She’s inspirational and aspirational. Most of all, she’s real. Using examples, actual events, and inspiring quotations from Michelle’s life during and prior to her time as First Lady, What’s Your M.O. celebrates Michelle’s accomplishments and provides useful advice for a wide array of life’s challenges for women, and perhaps a few men as well.

In anxious times we want to seek out public role models who can inspire and reassure us of the good to be found in all of us. Michelle Obama continues to be the best possible example. What’s Your M.O? celebrates her life experiences and the meaningful lessons she has learned along the way. We love Michelle Obama and we’re thrilled to be publishing this joyous book on the Bluestreak Books list.

-Christopher Navatril, Associate Publisher, Weldon Owen US

Killing It by Asia Mackay 

She will have it all. Or she’ll die trying… And yes, she damn well will be home for bath time.

This extraordinary, hilarious, gutsy and fierce novel stars the hero a generation of women have ben waiting for. Lex Tyler is a new mum on her first day back from maternity leave – but she’s no ordinary working mum. She’s an elite assassin working for a top secret department of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Written by Asia Mackay, the runner up in Bonnier Zaffre and Richard and Judy’s 2016/7 ‘Search for a Bestseller’ competition, it’s a book for trailblazing women everywhere.

We couldn’t be more excited to be publishing this trailblazing character, novel and author and we cannot wait for women everywhere to start reading it!

-Eleanor Dryden, Publishing Director, Bonnier Zaffre

Women Who Changed The World by Carrie Lewis, Igloobooks

Publishing on the 18th July, Women Who Changed The World draws attention to the life and work of women, past and present, that have had an immense influence on the world around us.

Divided into several chapters, including: ‘Mathematics, Science and Technology’, ‘Literature, Fashion and the Arts’ and ‘Leaders and Politics’ it is packed with information about some of the worlds most inspirational female figures.

Women Who Changed The World is a celebration of just a few key characters from history. It features the achievements of over 60 remarkable women, from Cleopatra to Malala Yousafzai. Including many well-known faces, and some who are less well known, this is as engaging as it is enlightening.

-Bobby Newlyn-Jones, Assistant Editor, Igloobooks

Tweet us @bonnier_publish if you read any of our suggestions!