The Power of the Pen

By Susan Hallatt, ’13, ’18

Did you know that writing is a versatile career path? While it’s a no-brainer for those who dream of penning the next great American novel, writers can also find work in film, marketing, journalism, law and many other fields. Check out a few women below who found their niche as wordsmiths and made a difference in the process!

(1) Amanda Gorman: The Hill We Climb and Other Poems

National Youth Poet Laureate, Harvard-educated and inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman has taken the US by storm. Her works and readings transcend culture, literature, establishment. The Hill We Climb and Other Poems is her current best-selling collection.

Photo Credit:

(2) Aphra Behn: Oroonoko

Aphra Behn worked as a spy for Charles II of England, and was one of the first women writers to earn a living by her writing. Oroonoko: or, The Royal Slave (1688) tells the story of the enslaved prince Oroonoko and his love Imoinda, and has sometimes been hailed as the first anti-slavery novel.

Photo Credit: Humanities LibreTexts (TM)

(3) Frances Harper: Iola Leroy

Frances Harper was one of the first African American women to be published in the US. Iola Leroy or Shadows Uplifted, deals with social issues including education for women, miscegenation, abolition, temperance and social responsibility.

Photo Credit: Literary Ladies Guide

(4) Isabel Allende: The House of the Spirits

A native of Chile, Isabel Allende was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014 to add to her long list of honors. The House of Spirits (La Casa de los Espiritus) follows four generations of the Trueba family and incorporates elements of a literary genre of fiction called magical realism that “paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements” (MasterClass).

Photo Credit: California Museum

Susan Hallatt ’13, ’18 (MA) is the Director of Graduate Admissions for the University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston

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