British author Hilary Mantel initially studied law at LSU and then concentrated on her writing career after moving to Botswana with her geologist husband. Her Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, later catapulted her to fame. She divorced and remarried her husband later.
Author Zadie Smith was born in London to a British father and a Jamaican mother. Her bestselling debut novel, White Teeth, won numerous awards and catapulted her to fame, while her third novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She has also taught fiction at New York University.
Born in Dominica, to a Welsh father and a Creole mother, Jean Rhys grew up to be a celebrated author. She soared to fame with her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, which was inspired by the tale of Jane Eyre’s “madwoman in the attic.” She died before completing her memoir.
Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.
English religious author Hannah More soared to literary fame with the release of Village Politics, penned under the pseudonym Will Chip. Its popularity made her write an entire series of tracts that educated the poor. She also established clubs and schools, apart from opposing slavery along with the Clapham Sect.
British author Violet Page wrote under the pseudonym Vernon Lee and dressed without inhibitions. Rumors claimed she was a lesbian, though she never stated so. The poet and critic is best remembered for her work on aesthetics, Belcaro. She was also a skilled harpsichord player and a true-blue feminist.
Best known for including political and social themes in her writings, Anna Letitia Barbauld was a renowned poet, essayist, and children’s author. She was the only daughter of Unitarian John Aikin and taught at the Palgrave Academy. She is remembered for her iconic hymn “Life! I Know Not What Thou Art.”
Part of the 18th-century London intellectual circle, socialite Elizabeth Montagu was a pioneering member of the Bluestockings, a group of women who engaged in evening conversations as a substitute to card-playing. The wife of affluent landowner Edward Montagu, she inherited his riches and later built the Montagu House.
Author, feminist, and social activist Brigid Brophy mostly dealt with themes such as sexual liberation in her works. One of the first to demand legalization of gay marriage in England, she was also against imposing monogamy. Her Fifty Works of English and American Literature We Could Do Without created furore.
New Woman novelist and poet Amy Levy made history when she became the second Jewish female student at Cambridge and the first Jewish female at Newnham College. Depressed since an early age, she eventually committed suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide. She is best remembered for her dramatic monologue Xantippe.
British writer and poet Alice Meynell was mostly raised in Italy. Her sonnet My Heart Shall Be Thy Garden impressed publisher Wilfrid Meynell, whom she later married. Remembered for works such as Preludes, she used simple words. She was also an ardent supporter of equal suffrage for women.
Grace Aguilar was raised in a closed Jewish circle and wasn’t allowed to mingle much outside her family. In spite of the regulations, she grew up to educate people about Jewish culture and history and later penned the iconic domestic novels Home Influence and its sequel, The Mother's Recompense.