10 Great Quotes from Women Writers

As tomorrow (8th March) is International Women’s Day, we’ve gathered together ten of our favourite quotes from women writers. Some of the quotes are wise, some are witty, some weird; all are wonderful, in our opinion. And what unites them all is that they were uttered (or written) by some of the major female figures in literature. We’d be interested to hear your favourite quotes from women writers, in the comments below – which names/quotes have we missed off?


‘Going to the opera, like getting drunk, is a sin that carries its own punishment with it.’ – Hannah More

‘If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.’ – Edith Wharton

‘There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.’ – Sylvia Plath

‘One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.’ – Jane Austen

‘Parents should leave books lying around marked “forbidden” if they want their children to read.’ – Doris Lessing

‘Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’ – Virginia Woolf

‘I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.’ – Edith Sitwell

‘Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.’ – Dorothy Parker

‘Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.’ – Simone de Beauvoir

‘Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.’ – Anaïs Nin

Image: Jane Austen, coloured version of original, 1873, public domain.


  1. Reblogged this on Lynn Forth and commented:
    A bit late for international Women’s Day, but still good.

  2. “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people,” Rebecca West (1893-1983) – English novelist, journalist and feminist

  3. Reblogged this on Sigurlaug S.

  4. Love than Jane Austen quote!

  5. Thank you for following Oliver. Dorothy Parker is the one for me!

  6. Jane Austen & Edith Sitwell are best

  7. ‘Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.’ – Dorothy Parker
    Reblogging this!

  8. Pingback: Idling After a Week on the Roller Coaster | 1WriteWay

  9. Pingback: 10 Great Quotations from Women Writers | rosany1971

  10. Reblogged on Opinions in a Spark.

  11. Tremendous selection. Dorothy Parker gets my absolute vote though – hidden depths in those few words.

  12. It’s so true! Children will only do what their parents won’t let them!

  13. Pingback: Great Things Said by Great Women | A Blog of One's Own

  14. I am late in reading this – but awesome post!!! :)

  15. I heartily concur with the bath quote! Pretty much cures all ills…

  16. Pingback: Inspirational quote (and a how-to) | Confessions of a Popcorn Addict

  17. Reblogged this on Daydreamer xo and commented:
    Ugly goes clean to the bone….

  18. Great quotes here…can’t say off the cuff, but Cate Blanchett and Lupita N’yongo added some quotable quotes in Oscar speeches….following this blog now…

  19. Love the quotes from Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir.

  20. This is my favorite: ‘If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.’ – Edith Wharton.
    I, myself, am guilty of that! :)

  21. Reblogged this on Late~Night Ruminations and commented:
    Here are 10 great quotations from women writers to help celebrate International Women’s Day.

  22. Love those! Classic :) Thanks!

  23. I love the Doris Lessing one. Bang on the nail.

  24. I’m surprised you didn’t include the Austen quotation from the new Bank of England banknote: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” Though, as some have pointed out, this is spoken by the snobby and rather vacuous Caroline Bingley.

    Great Austen quotes about money are included in this Guardian article:

  25. Reblogged this on Julia Lee Author and commented:
    Some female writerly wisdom for International Women’s Day from the Interesting Literature blog…

  26. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award: International Women’s Day Edition | Part Time Monster

  27. Reblogged this on Writergurlny.

  28. Merci pour ce beau florilège.
    Voici un “Eparpillement” de Natalie Clifford Barney :
    ” Fragile, je n’ai de force que pour les choses ardentes “.

  29. Reblogged this on Elsie Elmore.

  30. Pingback: 10 Great Quotations from Women Writers | alarmingman

  31. Austen, from Northanger Abbey, is one of my favourites: “the quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all – it is very tiresome.”.

  32. Reblogged this on Affascinailtuocuore's Blog and commented:
    a great gift from a great blog!

  33. my favourite is: ‘Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.’ – Anaïs Nin
    thanks for today’s gift! I’m reblogging it

  34. great sharing :)

  35. Great stuff here. I’m also finding I love more and more Woolf’s concept of “a room of one’s own.” Thanks for sharing these for International Women’s Day!

  36. Thanks for sharing:) Very apropos post.

  37. A great list. I like marking books forbidden to get your kids to read – that will work every time. Over all, though, it’s hard to choose a favourite. :)

  38. Reblogged this on inlovelustandlaughter and commented:
    There are many reasons to love Austen. This is one of them.

  39. I’m a fan of this one:
    “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”
    Joyce Carol Oates

  40. Reblogged this on Narble Furt Lives and commented:
    Heroes all.

  41. Great quotes, thanks. I particularly liked the Dorothy Parker one. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to use it sometime.

  42. “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” — Margaret Mitchell

    • Bonjour. Merci pour la citation de Margaret Mitchell, dont la mère et la grand-mère étaient également incomparables, féministes, et courageuses. Le testament de la mère de Margaret Mitchell est émouvant, brave, comme celui de Berthe Morisot s’adressant à sa fille Julie.
      Bien à vous from France

      • Je vous en prie. Je ne connais que Margaret Mitchell était l’auteur de Gone With The Wind, mais cette citation m’a beaucoup plaît. Également je ne connais pas que sa mère et sa grand-mère étaient féminstes – on va chercher une biographie immédiatement!
        Bien à vous du Pays de Galles…

        • Bonjour Calmgrove, vos citations sont vraiment éclairantes, merci. Ces femmes sont toutes tellement intéressantes. J’ai découvert Edith Warton seulement l’ an dernier et ensuite souhaité tout lire !
          La biographie de Margaret Mitchell est d’ Anne Edwards. Elle était une personne si modeste pour un si grand livre. Published in France after 2d World War, one could recognize in her brave attitude. Hello to Pays de Galles ! What about recent novel by Margaret Drabble ? Justement translated into french.

  43. I love Doris Lessing’s idea.

  44. I love the Sylvia Plath quote the best :-)

  45. Anatomía de la Intimidad

    Aloneness and selfness are too important to betray for company. (Sylvia Plath)

  46. The Anaïs Nin quote is my favourite.

  47. Your articles are great. I just wanted to say I am a fan and will continue to visit.

    I would love for you to keep up on my material as well. I tend to be controversial

  48. Some of my favorite quotes here. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Reblogged this on Gently Read Literature.

  50. Reblogged this on Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings and commented:
    Another excellent piece from Interesting Literature – Happy International Women’s Day for the 8th!

  51. My favorite from the list: ‘I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.’ – Edith Sitwell
    It’s good to know I’m in great company!