5 Books About Women in History

While Womens History Month celebrations are happening in other parts of the world, we couldn’t resist adding Canadian stories with a roundup of books about women making waves in history and today. Scroll on for our picks! 


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Taken by the Muse: On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker 
by Anne Wheeler (NeWest Press)

The first woman director to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Director’s Guild of Canada, Anne Wheeler is a celebrated Canadian screenwriter and director. In her first book—Taken by the Muse—she shares stories of her journey to becoming a filmmaker and her attempts to gain acceptance in a male-dominated industry. In creative non-fiction stories, Wheeler captures a crucial time in the lives of women driven to create and fascinating adventures in filmmaking.  

Available on All Lit Up.

Controlled Damage by Andrea Scott
(J. Gordon Shillingford/Scirocco Drama)

In her newest play Controlled Damage, Andrea Scott explores the life of Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond whose act of bravery in a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946 bolstered the fight for Black civil rights and social justice in Canada. While Desmond’s unshakeable belief in equality has left an indelible impact on our culture, it has also highlighted the slow progress of the fight for civil rights. 

Available on All Lit Up.

The Girls with Stone Faces by Arleen Paré (Brick Books)

In her 2018 Goldie Award-winning book of poetry, The Girls with Stone Faces, Arleen Paré memorializes the lives and art of prolific Canadian artists Florence Wyle and Frances Loring who, though known in their day, are now almost forgotten. In a long poem, Paré comes face to face with their sculptures at the National Gallery of Canada and takes readers on a tour through the rooms where their work is displayed before travelling to Chicago—where Wyle and Loring met at art school and fell in love—and later to Toronto where they lived and worked for decades. 

Available on All Lit Up.

Anna, Like Thunder by Peggy Herring (Brindle & Glass)

In 1808, eighteen-year-old Anna Petrovna Bulygina was aboard the Russian ship St. Nikolai when it ran aground off on the west coast of Washington State on the Olympic Peninsula. Surviving, Anna comes to meet a local Indigenous group, the Quileute, and chooses to stay with them rather than be rescued. A historical story of feminism, Anna, Like Thunder blends fact and fiction to explore the early days of contact between Indigenous peoples and Europeans in North AmericaRead about the fascinating research behind Peggy Herring’s novel here.

Available on All Lit Up.

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle by Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy (ECW Press)

Our roundup wouldn’t be complete without a nod to women in sports. In Sisterhood of the Squared Circle, veteran wrestling journalists Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy present a compelling history of women’s wrestling—from the carnival circuit of the late 1800s to the present. With more than 100 wrestler profiles, the careers of some of wrestling’s trailblazers, including Mildred Burke, the Fabulous Moolah, Trish Stratus, Chyna, and Lita, are celebrated alongside today’s stars. 

Available on All Lit Up

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For even more books about women in history, check out our list here