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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

International Women’s Day Author Spotlight

By Laura Wallace, Abbie Wright, Juliette Tulloch & Tessa Thejas Thomas

For International Women's Day we’ve chosen a selection of our favourite novels, whose stories and covers celebrate sisterly love, female power and queer love. Not only do the stories within explore important themes, but the cover designs illustrate these bonds with a range of design techniques. 

To My Sisters by Daniella Boateng and Renee Kapuku

In appreciation of International Women’s Day, we have chosen to look at the cover of To My Sisters: A Guide to Building Lifelong Friendships as one of our favourites for this issue. The book shares laughs, lessons and stories about female friendships, with building and nourishing connections at the forefront. The book is written by the hosts of the podcast To My Sisters and is the perfect read to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The cover is feminine and portrays the loving dynamic between female friends represented in this book. The colours are muted which gives the reader a sense of calm. The peach-coloured background against the gold typeface again highlights the feminine nature of the book. There are no details on the images of the women who are gently holding each other on this cover which invokes a feeling of oneness. This is a beautiful cover that embraces the beauty of female friendship and is a fantastic choice of reads for International Women’s Day.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Bernadine Evaristo’s incredible, intertwining tale of twelve very different characters is a perfect pick for an International Woman’s Day read. The stories follow a number of female characters as they face the challenges that come with being a woman, and in the majority of cases a black woman. The stories transcend age and sexuality and take place all over the UK. A number of the themes tackled in the book include domestic violence, racism, and exploring one’s sexuality. All of these themes and the depth of the characters make for a beautiful and thought-provoking novel.

In terms of the book’s cover, the mix of images and patterns tell a story of culture in itself. The photos of young black women, that look as though they are candid, capture the essence of the novel, and this paired with the contrasting patterns makes the cover seem intimate and personal to Evaristo and the stories within the pages. The bright colours give the cover an eye-catching appearance, and the bold text that covers the entirety of the novel ensures that the strong feminine message that this story contains is centre stage. Ultimately, the cover is a perfect embodiment of the beautiful and important stories that Evaristo has created.

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Matrix should undoubtedly be included in this list, as a story based on the first French female poet - Marie de France. Drawing on from the history of life in Medieval times and Marie’s lais, Groff fictionalises Marie as she is cast out of the royal court of Eleanor of Aquitane and forced to join a covenant. As a new prioress at an impoverished abbey, Marie faces leadership tests, disease and love. Forming a bond with her sisters and a desire for female power and change in the presence of her divine visions, the story explores in depth familial, romantic and queer love in this period. 

Henry Petrides designed the cover (alongside illustrators Elana Gabrielle and Joe McLaren) and incorporated one of Marie’s dreams about nuns sprouting from branches as the key focus. This perfectly encapsulates Maries’ growing vision throughout the novel to empower her fellow sisters and bring them together in a time of learning and education as male power seeks to overthrow and divide them. The striking blue and its contrast with the gold leafing brings a royal and heavenly element to the finish, with the blue linking back to the history of lapis lazuli and its connection with an 11th century nun. 

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades is a memorable literary fiction, perfect if you are looking to pick up a book to read on International Women's Day. The debut novel follows several women of colour navigating the vibrant scene of Queens, New York. The novel delves into the important topics of belonging, friendship and coming of age as an immigrant in New York. 

The striking hot pink gradient of the cover background compliments the fun, spontaneous feeling of being in the big city. The illustrations at the centre of the cover showcase different buildings and silhouettes of New York. The colours range between blue, grey, yellow and pink with parts of the images appearing opaquer and overlapping with others. Several opaque silhouettes of women can be seen walking amongst the buildings on the cover, immersed in the city life.  

The font placement is dynamic, with several letters being placed on a different line to the rest of the word. Likewise, white snow-like circles are placed around the cover. The placement of all elements on the cover is unconventional and almost collage-like. This creates a sense of fun and adventure which is fitting against the storyline and setting of the novel. 

Brown Girls is an exciting but important read for International Women's Day, spotlighting the experiences of many immigrant women of colour in the younger generation. 



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