Celebrating International Women’s Day with our Celebrated Women

Since the early 1900s International Women’s Day has been celebrating women’s achievements around the world while pushing the message forward for gender equality.

To honour this day we decided to approach the women who are headlining our festival this year to ask them all about the women behind the books that they love and/or inspire them.


Kristina Sabaliauskaite (Contemporary author from Lithuania)

Photo credit: Monika Penk

“I  often get inspired by philosophical texts, so I bow my head to Hannah Arendt, one of the greatest philosophers of all time – and her insights on power, violence and the banality of evil.

I have discovered Marguerite Yourcenar only after I have written my novels, so no inspiration, just the admiration: to me she is the epitome of the literary depth, elegance and timelesness.”

Kristina will be a Market Focus Author of the Day on Wednesday 11 April at The London Book Fair 2018




Karen McLeod (Author and performance artist)

“Today I would like to answer it as ‘Hotel World’ by Ali Smith. This book is the liveliest book about death out there; each word is a plug driving into a socket lighting up the page. The writing jigs, jumps, it falls, it took my heart and brain and, every time I pick it up to reread, it whispers in my ear, ‘Remember Karen, remember you must live, love and ultimately lose’.”

Karen will be a guest author at the Polari Literary Salon.



Fiona Sampson (Author of In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein)

“My choice is Mary Shelley, not just because in Frankenstein she created two enduring archetypes – the scientist who forgets that blue sky research has consequences, and his nearly-human protégé – but because she wrote it, and the body of literary work that followed it, undeterred by an extraordinarily stressful life.”

Join us at Frankenstein: The Reincarnations at LBSW18 to hear Fiona discuss Mary Shelley and her ground-breaking book.


Dr. Helen Pankhurst (Author of Deeds Not Words)

Photo credit: Virginie Naudillon

“Olive Schriener, a South African freethinking, a feminist, anti-imperialist, vegetarian who had very socially progressive views and yet wrote about moderation and understanding. Sections of one of her poems, from the collection Dreams, is recited by Carey Mulligan in the film Suffragette and also quoted in my book Deeds not Words and in the Pankhurst Anthem commissioned by the BBC.” 

Dr Helen Pankhurst will be joining us at our LBSW ‘Votes for Women’ event to look at the Women’s movement then and now and how far we have come in the last 100 years.


Marie-Elsa Bragg (Writer, Lecturer and Jesuit Spiritual Director)


“Virginia Wolf and Sylvia Plath took the broken fragments of life and ‘kissed the wild waves.’ (Tempest Ariel’s song Act II). Virginia Wolf and Sylvia Plath courageous women prepared to peer between the cracks for the shape beneath.”

Marie-Elsa will be in conversation with Dr. Helen Pankhurst at our LBSW ‘Votes for Women’ event about the women’s movement and what the last 100 years have meant for women.



VG Lee (Author with critically acclaimed work)

“My suggested book is The Unlit Lamp by Radclyffe Hall – a far more readable book than The Well of Loneliness.

Although ‘The Unlit Lamp’ was published nearly a century ago, the issues remain painfully yet fascinatingly familiar: a jealous but apparently vulnerable mother fights to prevent her daughter from breaking away to live her own life with another woman. I still find the book shocking but so true to some of our lives – succumbing to feelings of guilt so often wins out over our own desires.”

VG Lee will be a guest author at the Polari Literary Salon


Nora Ikstena (Latvian prose and essayist) 

Photo credit: Aiga Redmane


“I would recommend Karen Blixen’s (Isec Dienesen) story ”Babaetas feest”. I think this is one of the most beautiful tales written by female author about passion to life, taste, love and duty.”

Nora will be a Market Focus Author of the Day on Wednesday 11 April at The London Book Fair 2018





Carry on the celebrations and join us at London Book and Screen Week with events celebrating some of Literature’s leading ladies! Check out our events here: http://london-book-and-screen-week.bitnamiapp.com/events/

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