A good book endures long after the critic's voice has faded.

While Canadian author David Gilmour's recent remarks about not loving any women, Canadian or Chinese writers enough to teach them to his University of Toronto students outraged the literary community, it also gave us a chance to reflect on the life-changing fiction his class is missing out on.

Fiction from the likes of Alice Munro, for example, who has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature for her exquisite body of work that spans decades, and makes her only the second Canadian to win the prize and the 13th woman.

But in the realm of excellent women writers, Munro is in good and plentiful company. Atwood, Didion, Eliot, Morrison... There are so many beloved female authors on our favourites list (and bookshelves) that we couldn't feature them all in this post. This is by no means a definitive syllabus, but here you’ll find remarkable authors that span genres, countries, cultures and centuries.

Whether they showed us a life we never knew existed or helped us recognize and value ourselves, women writers have unequivocally shaped who we are. The very least we can do is share them with you now. Flip through the pages of our slideshow below and tell us: Is your favourite author on the list? Who did we miss?

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  • Virginia Woolf

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>To The Lighthouse</em>

  • Alice Walker

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Colour Purple</em>

  • Alice Munro

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Lives of Girls and Women</em>

  • Margaret Atwood

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Cat's Eye</em>

  • Carol Shields

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Stone Diaries</em>

  • Zora Neale Hurston

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Their Eyes Were Watching God</em>

  • Louisa May Alcott

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Little Women</em>

  • Lucy Maud Montgomery

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Anne Of Green Gables</em>

  • Harper Lee

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>To Kill A Mockingbird</em>

  • Willa Cather

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> My Antonia

  • Toni Morrison

    <strong>Must Read:</strong><em> Beloved</em>

  • Mary Shelley

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Frankenstein</em>

  • Christina Rossetti

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Goblin Market</em>

  • Jane Austen

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Pride And Prejudice</em>

  • Kate Atkinson

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Life After Life</em>

  • Sylvia Plath

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Bell Jar</em>

  • George Eliot

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Middlemarch</em>

  • Joan Didion

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Slouching Towards Bethlehem</em>

  • Judy Blume

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Forever</em>

  • Barbara Kingsolver

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Poisonwood Bible</em>

  • E. Annie Proulx

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Shipping News</em>

  • Ann-Marie MacDonald

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Way the Crow Flies</em>

  • Barbara Gowdy

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The White Bone</em>

  • Jane Urquhart

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Stone Carvers</em>

  • Evelyn Lau

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Oedipal Dreams</em>

  • Lorrie Moore

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>A Gate at the Stairs</em>

  • Maya Angelou

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings</em>

  • Agatha Christie

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>

  • Lisa Moore

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Open</em>

  • Sarah Selecky

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>This Cake is for the Party</em>

  • Kit Pearson

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em> A Handful of Time</em>

  • Gabrielle Roy

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Bonheur D'Occasion</em>

  • Pat Barker

    <strong>Must Read</strong> <em>Regeneration</em>

  • Carson McCullers

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter</em>

  • Caitlin Moran

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>How To be A Woman </em>

  • Iris Murdoch

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Sea, The Sea</em>

  • Amy Tan

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Joy Luck Club</em>

  • J. K. Rowling

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone</em>

  • Charlotte Brontë

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Jane Eyre</em>

  • Emily Brontë

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Wuthering Heights</em>

  • Anne Brontë

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Agnes Grey</em>

  • Edith Wharton

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>House of Mirth</em>

  • Elizabeth Hay

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em> Late Nights On Air</em>

  • Anne Hébert

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Kamouraska </em>

  • Gwendolyn MacEwen

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The T.E. Lawrence Poems</em>

  • Alice Sebold

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Lovely Bones</em>

  • Tova Reich

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>One Hundred Philistine Foreskins</em>

  • Cynthia Ozick

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories</em>

  • Margaret Laurence

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>The Stone Angel</em>

  • Zsuzsi Gartner

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Living Through Plastic Explosives</em>

  • Maggie Helwig

    <strong>Must Read:</strong> <em>Girls Fall Down</em>

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