American Female Essayists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Female Essayists

 1 Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag is best known for her essay anthologies such as Against Interpretation and her novels such as In America. She wrote about diverse issues such as human rights, photography, AIDS, and leftist beliefs, and also visited war-torn areas. The National Book Award-winning author was also openly bisexual. 

 2 Joan Didion

Joan Didion
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Essayist
Birthdate: December 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Recommended Lists:

 3 Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States

 4 Anais Nin

Anais Nin
6
Famous As: Diarist
Birthdate: February 21, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France
Died: January 14, 1977

French-Cuban-American diarist, essayist, and novelist Anais Nin wrote several volumes of journals, erotica, novels, critical studies, essays, and short stories. Her journals and diaries are among her most studied works. She had a deep interest in psychoanalysis and studied it extensively with René Allendy and Otto Rank. Critics consider her one of the finest writers of female erotica.

 5 Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell
4
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA

Bestselling author and essayist Sarah Vowell is known for her expertise in American history and her books such as Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes. She is also a regular on the radio program This American Life and has voiced Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

 6 Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri
6
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Jhumpa Lahiri is an Indian-American author who mainly writes mostly about the experiences faced by East Indian immigrants and also about their practices and traditions. Recipient of several awards, she received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and PEN/Hemingway Award for her first publication, Interpreter of Maladies.

 7 Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 20, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago
You May Like

 8 Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 29, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York,United States
Died: September 6, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle soared to fame with her Newbery Medal-winning bestselling young adult novel A Wrinkle in Time, which was made into a Disney film later. Born to a writer father and a pianist mother, L’Engle had penned her first story at age 5 and had also tried her luck in theater.

 9 Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich
3
Famous As: American poet
Birthdate: May 16, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: March 27, 2012

 10 Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter
3
Famous As: Journalist, Essayist, Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: May 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Indian Creek, Texas, U.S.
Died: September 18, 1980

 11 Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Browne
4
Famous As: Essayist, Psychic
Birthdate: October 19, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kansas City
Died: November 20, 2013

 12 Mary Karr

Mary Karr
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 16, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: East Texas

 13 Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Spangler, Pennsylvania, U.S.

 14 Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died: August 3, 1964

 15 Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.

 16 Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver
3
Famous As: Novelist, Poet, Essayist
Birthdate: April 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

 17 Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. John's

 18 Kathy Acker

Kathy Acker
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 30, 1997

 19 Linda Moulton Howe

Linda Moulton Howe
3
Famous As: Journalist, Essayist
Birthdate: January 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boise

 20 Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 9, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 21 Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sandpoint, Idaho, US

 22 Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 8, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: December 17, 1987

 23 Bebe Moore Campbell

Bebe Moore Campbell
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 27, 2006

 24 Zhang Ailing

Zhang Ailing
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: September 8, 1995

 25 Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Northampton, Massachusetts, United States

 26 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
3
Famous As: Academic Scholar
Birthdate: May 2, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Died: April 12, 2009

 27 Emily Gould

Emily Gould
3
Famous As: Writer, Essayist, Children's writer
Birthdate: October 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Silver Spring

 28 Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

 29 Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick
3
Famous As: Short Story Writer
Birthdate: April 17, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 30 Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko
3
Famous As: American author
Birthdate: March 5, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Leslie Marmon Silko is an American writer who played an important role in the First Wave of the Native American Renaissance. Best known for her essays, short story collections, and poems, Silko was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas (NWCA) in 1994. In 2020, she won the prestigious Robert Kirsch Award.

 31 Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: Rabat, Morocco

 32 Ellen Willis

Ellen Willis
3
Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: December 14, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 9, 2006

 33 Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 30, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: December 12, 2016

 34 Diane Johnson

Diane Johnson
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moline, Illinois, United States

 35 Laura Riding

Laura Riding
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 16, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: September 2, 1991

 36 Seyla Benhabib

Seyla Benhabib
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer
Birthdate: September 9, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey

 37 June Jordan

June Jordan
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: June 14, 2002

 38 Tess Gallagher

Tess Gallagher
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 21, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Port Angeles, Washington, United States

 39 Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 40 Bharati Mukherjee

Bharati Mukherjee
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: January 28, 2017

Bharati Mukherjee was a writer who also taught at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor emerita in the English department. The author of several short story collections and novels, Bharati Mukherjee was honored with many prestigious awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988.

 41 Judith Sargent Stevens Murray

Judith Sargent Stevens Murray
2
Famous As: Advocate
Birthdate: May 1, 1751
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 9, 1820

 42 Cornelia Otis Skinner

Cornelia Otis Skinner
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: May 30, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 9, 1979

 43 Charlotte Forten Grimké

Charlotte Forten Grimké
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 17, 1837
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: July 23, 1914

 44 Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1981 AD
Birthplace: Limbe, Cameroon

 45 Sarah Helen Power Whitman

Sarah Helen Power Whitman
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 19, 1803
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: June 27, 1878

 46 Jessie Redmon Fauset

Jessie Redmon Fauset
2
Famous As: Editor
Birthdate: April 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camden County, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 30, 1961

 47 Ana Castillo

Ana Castillo
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 15, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 48 Bobbie Ann Mason

Bobbie Ann Mason
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mayfield, Kentucky, United States

 49 Frederica Sagor Maas

Frederica Sagor Maas
2
Famous As: Screenwriter, Playwright, Journalist, Autobiographer, Essayist, Writer
Birthdate: July 6, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 5, 2012

 50 Barbara Goldsmith

Barbara Goldsmith
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: May 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: June 26, 2016