International Women’s Day 2019 at Harper Inspire

Today marks International Women’s Day 2019 and here at Harper Inspire, we’ve asked a series of people including our Becoming Mrs Lewis author Patti Callahan, Debbie Taylor from Mslexia Magazine, who celebrate their 20th Birthday today – as well as members of our own team, to tell us about a female author who has inspired them.

Enjoy the read and let us know who your favourite female authors are by tagging @harperinspire on your social media channels.


In Circling the Sun by Paula Mclain, we meet Beryl Markham as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic east to west. This fascinating woman overcame the abandonment of her mother, the dissolution of her beloved African farm with her father, and the heartbreak of lost love, and yet she was also the first woman to train horses in the African terrain. Here we meet a fierce woman who carved for herself a place in a world that seemed uninhabitable. What I’ve seen in women’s historical fiction is that for these women it begins with a trust in the inner voice, the intuitive self, if you will. These books allow us to dust off the past and allow women to have the voice today that they weren’t allowed to have in their time!

Words by Patti Callahan, Author of Becoming Mrs Lewis







Hilary Mantel was one of the first authors to support Mslexia magazine. In Issue 3, back in 1999, she was our guest judge, selecting from submitted poems and short stories written by women but from the point of view of men and boys – and confessed to a childhood belief that she would grow up into a man. Seven years later I interviewed her for Issue 30, where we talked about her extraordinary memoir Giving up the Ghost, which chronicled her long battle with endometriosis – and her many brushes with the supernatural, that inspired her darkly comic breakthrough novel Beyond Black. She was just embarking on her epic trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and was brimming with excitement, having just written the first page of Wolf Hall. That critically acclaimed tour de force made her a household name, but I want to recommend Giving Up The Ghost as my inspirational read – because it is a perfect example to all writers of what can be achieved in a memoir. It’s a page-turning detective novel, a ghost story, an exploration of the paranormal, a portrait of working-class culture, a critique of the medical establishment – and a deeply personal account of how a frightened and clever little girl grew up to be not a man but one of the best women authors in the UK.

Words by Debbie Taylor, Editor of Mslexia. The magazine for women writers, which celebrates its 20th Birthday today! #Mslexia20



Dani Johnson is a success and business coach whose teaching and book First Steps to Wealth changed my career life and actually somehow propelled me into what I am doing now. Dani come to London several years ago, spoke at my church, but also did a training conference for business people at the O2 . She teaches very simple principles that actually have little to do with money and wealth, but more with everyday success in your life and your interaction with others.  Her own personal story as a  broke, homeless cocktail waitress who turned millionaire in 2 short years is astounding, as she follows the principles she teaches. I find myself sometimes going back to this book on my shelf.

Words by Rose Sandy, Affiliate Publisher, Harper Inspire






As a parent, great books have been a vital part of the journey for my kids growing up! Sally-Lloyd Jones’ book Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing delivers such simple yet profound, wonderful and thought-provoking reflections. Even grown-ups won’t fail to be inspired!”

Words by Rowan Miller, Sales Operations Manager, Harper Inspire







Lullaby by Leila Slimani is a hard-hitting book. It deals with an emotionally heart-breaking story of the murder of two children by their perfect nanny. This is a narrative that unravels alongside the story of the children’s mother, who is fighting her own demons regarding being the perfect mother and wife, whilst trying to balance her ambition of going back to the very successful career she left to have children. Leila Slimani inspires me because she deals so well, with the topic of the often unachievable pressure faced by women, to be the perfect wives, mothers and daughters.

Words by Bengono Bessala, Marketing and PR Manager, Harper Inspire





Claire Legrand has written one of my favourite novels Sawkill Girls, a contemporary teen horror and Sci- Fi (Stranger Things vibe) standalone. It follows 3 girls Marion, Zoey and Val and the good, the bad and the ugly in them. Marion is awkward and plain, steady and dependable. She has experienced great tragedy but keeps on fighting. Zoey is a pariah. She is asexual, lonely and grieving her missing best friend whilst Val is gorgeous and privileged, but hiding a monstrous secret. I love how Claire has weaved the details of these characters into very realistic and relatable girls.

Words by Shrina Patel, Sales & Marketing Executive, Harper Inspire

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