Famous American Female Writers of the 20th Century

The 20th century saw an explosion of literature written by American female writers. From poetry and short stories to novels and nonfiction, these women greatly influenced the literary world and helped shape the cultural landscape of the country. Here are some of the most famous American female writers of the 20th century.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is perhaps the most renowned African-American female writer of the 20th century. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, and her works center on themes of race, gender, and identity, often set in African-American communities. Some of her most famous works are “Beloved,” “Song of Solomon,” and “The Bluest Eye.”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was another African-American woman writer whose works focused on themes of race, gender, and identity. She was a poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, and her most famous work, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is a classic of African-American literature.

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was an American poet and novelist whose works explored themes of mental illness, death, and gender roles. Her most famous work, “The Bell Jar,” is a semi-autobiographical novel that deals with themes of mental breakdown and recovery.

Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor was a writer from Georgia whose works explored the Southern Gothic genre. Her stories often featured grotesque and macabre elements, and her most famous work, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” is now considered a classic of American literature.

Joan Didion

Joan Didion is a writer and journalist whose works explore themes of politics, culture, and identity. Her essays often capture the mood and spirit of the 1960s and 1970s, and her most famous works include “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and “The White Album.”


These women and their works have greatly influenced the literary landscape of America in the 20th century, and their legacy endures today. They have shown that female voices are powerful and necessary in the world of literature and their works continue to inspire readers around the world.

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