November is National Novel Writing month: are any Masterminds submitting? Whether or not you're taking on the challenge, it's always good to review the work of your fellow nerd authors for inspiration. That's why we're bringing you this list of our top 10 nerdiest female authors, all of whom took their genres to the next level. Enjoy!
1. Ursula K. Le Guin: Le Guin's influence on science fiction and fantasy cannot be overstated. Her bibliography is filled with bestsellers and award-winning work. She majorly influenced the following generation of writers, with Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, and Iain Banks all singing her praises.
2. Danica McKellar: A long time ago, in a galaxy known as "the late 1980s/early 1990s," there was an awesome show called The Wonder Years. Danica McKellar was one of the breakout child stars of the show, but she abandoned acting as an adult to pursue her true calling: math. She even has a mathematical theorem named after her! McKellar has used her prodigy brain to write many bestselling books aimed at getting other girls into math, and that's an equation we like!
3. Zadie Smith: With an icy wit and four critically acclaimed novels, Smith is a major force in modern literature. She also delivers great advice for up-and-coming authors, such as "work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet." Good advice, although you should definitely make an exception for MindHut. :)
4. Tina Fey: We snuck in a TV writer here, because how could we have a list of female nerds and not mention the Queen of them all? Tina Fey has revolutionized the role of female TV writers and actors by rolling up her sleeves and revealing Bossypants arms. She's even the recipient of the coveted Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which she was surprised to win because she considers her humor to be "typically Austrian." Oh, Tina, we love you.
5. Margaret Atwood: Atwood's brain should be worshipped; her books range from dystopian scifi classics such as The Handmaid's Tale to literary poetry (she has published dozens of collections). She's also a badass animal rights, environmental, and feminist activist, due to her belief that "powerless and silence go together."
6. Sandra Tsing Loh: Loh wears many hats: she's a veteran performance artist, a science commentator, and an author of several critically acclaimed books. She also has perhaps the best advice ever for any Masterminds participating in National Novel Writing Month: "When you face writer's block, just lower your standards and keep going."
7. Janna Levin: Levin graduated from MIT with PhD in theoretical cosmology, which you'd think would be nerd cred enough. But instead of cloistering herself in the lab, Levin also has an active literary career, especially due to her critically acclaimed novel A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.
8. Madeleine L'Engle: Madeleine L'Engle was an alpha nerd. Her work has been deeply influential to science fiction, feminism, and religious studies. As a testament of how relevant her books remains to this day, Hope Larson just published a graphic novel adaptation of L'Engle's masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time. Read our review of it here!
9. Marjane Satrapi: Satrapi's Persepolis graphic novel series exploded the boundaries of the genre. Following Satrapi's childhood in Iran before the 1979 Revolution, and her adolescence in Europe afterwards, the series is heartfelt, funny, relatable, and edifying all at once. A big music and literature nerd, Satrapi also has serious geek cred for being fluent in six languages: Persian, English, French, Swedish, German, and Italian!
10. Sarah Vowell: When it comes to history, nobody out-geeks Sarah Vowell. The author of hilarious historical studies such as The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation, Vowell has a very unique perspective on the lessons of America's past. She's also a veteran radio journalist with a distinctive child-like voice, leading to her role as Violet in The Incredibles.
Who is your favorite nerdy female author?