Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers (Hardcover)

Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers By Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, Kaley Bales (Illustrator) Cover Image

Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers (Hardcover)


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In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language.

This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overlooked, or pigeonholed, why did she write?

Why did Jane Austen struggle to write for five years before her first novel was ever published? How did Edith Maude Eaton's writing change the narrative around Chinese immigrant workers in North America? Why did the Brontë sisters choose to write under male pennames, and Anne Lister write her personal diaries in code?

Learn about women writers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, from familiar favorites to those who have undeservedly fallen into obscurity, and their often untold histories, including:

• The forgotten mother of the gothic genre
• The unexpected success of Little Women
• The diaries of the "first modern lesbian"
• The lawsuit to protect Little Lord Fauntleroy
• The personal account of a mastectomy in 1811
• Austen's struggles with writer's block
• And much, much more!

Why She Wrote highlights a significant moment from each writer's life and retells it through engaging and accessible comics, along with biographical text, bibliographies, and fun facts. For aspiring writers, literary enthusiasts, and the Janeite who has everything, this new collection highlights these incredible women's hardships, their influence, and the spark that called them to write.

• GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR ALL AGES: Librarians and teachers recommend graphic novels for readers of all ages, especially beloved nonfiction titles like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Raina Telgemeier's Smile, Sisters, and Guts. Immerse yourself in the stories of these fascinating women through the fun, approachable, and dynamic medium of the graphic novel!
• CELEBRATION OF WOMEN WRITERS: Want to read more books by historical women writers, but aren't sure where to start? The stories and bibliographies of the women featured in Why She Wrote is an inspirational deep dive.
• OVERVIEW OF WOMEN'S HISTORY: Add it to the shelf alongside other collections of women's history, including Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu, and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D'Amico.
Lauren Burke is a writer and podcaster from Chicago, Illinois. Her work focuses on women's history, writing, and travel.

Hannah K. Chapman is a writer and podcaster living in Bristol, England. She co-hosts the podcast Bonnets at Dawn and is the founder of the award-nominated anthology series Comic Book Slumber Party.

Kaley Bales is an illustrator living on the California coast.
Product Details ISBN: 9781797202099
ISBN-10: 179720209X
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Pages: 256
Language: English
"A great overview of important women writers for literary-minded

teens." - Booklist

"In a combination of comics and prose, this graphic history book glimpses into the lives of famous women writers from the 18th and 19th century like Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and Alice Dunbar Nelson. Each author is shown at a pivotal point in her life when she fought to take control of her career."

- BookRiot

"Readers get to learn about each writer through a series of charming illustrations by Kaley Bales. The result is a work that pretty much transcends genre: part comic book, part narrative nonfiction, part scholarly analysis, and more."

--Mental Floss

"Commit to reading a few literary masterpieces by women, and use this graphic collection of the stories behind those novels to make your selection. You’re guaranteed to have some of the most interesting facts for your next book-club meeting."


"'Why She Wrote' is that rare book I can recommend without qualification."

-Tribune News Service

“I highly recommend this book to middle school and high school readers. Readers can choose to skip around the book to read about their favorite author or read by topic chapter. It's a great companion book to have at home as a tween or teen starts reading classic literature.”

- Coquette Maman

“This graphic novel is for all ages, a look at the lives and famous writing of 18 women from the 18th-20th century. It takes a significant event in each woman's life and retells it in comic form, a fun and engaging book that's historically accurate and filled with important facts.”

-Business Insider