5 Books for International Women’s Day

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Inspire Inclusion,” which our five choice picks do in spades. From a groundbreaking memoir about trans identity, to a propulsive novel about the treatment of lesbian women over decades; to a novel about famed poet Emily Dickinson; to poetic reimaginings of historical women; to a personal story about mental illness, these books highlight the strength and diversity of women’s experiences.

Five books for International Women's Day


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Dandelion Daughter by Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay,

translated by Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch (Véhicule Press)

Cover of Dandelion Daughter

Longlisted for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award and bestseller in Quebec, Dandelion Daughter is a groundbreaking memoir about trans-identity. Set in the picturesque Charlevoix region, Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay’s narrative bravely recounts her journey from being assigned the wrong sex at birth to embracing her true self. This is a touching exploration of resilience, love, and self-discovery that has resonated deeply with readers and educators.

Find Dandelion Daughter here on All Lit Up.

Semi-Detached by Elizabeth Ruth (Cormorant Books)

The cover of Semi-Detached by Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth Ruth’s recently published novel Semi-Detached examines the treatment of lesbian women over decades in a story that spans 70 years. Gripping and propulsive, this is a novel that flips between two timelines connected by a house and a mysterious murder: in one a star-crossed sapphic couple in the 1940s struggles with their forbidden romance; in the other a young real estate agent in 2013 navigates a troubled marriage with her partner and infertility challenges. 

Find Semi-Detached here on All Lit Up.

Pale Shadows by Dominique Fortier,

translated by Rhonda Mullins (Coach House Books)

Pale Shadows by Dominique Fortier

Famed poet Emily Dickinson was brought into the literary canon by the collective efforts of three remarkable women: her devoted sister Lavinia, her brother’s determined mistress Mabel Loomis Todd, and his grieving wife Susan Gilbert Dickinson. In the absence of clear instructions from Emily herself, these women navigated a male-dominated industry to get Emily’s poetry published in a book.

In Pale Shadows, Dominique Fortier explores, through Dickinson’s poetry, the mysterious power that books have over our lives.

Medium by Johanna Skibsrud (Book*hug Press)

The cover of Medium by Johanna Skibsrud

From Giller Prize-winning author of The Sentimentalists, Johanna Skibsrud interprets in a series of performative poems the often-silenced voices of vilified women in history: Helen of Troy, Anne Boleyn, Shakuntala Devi, to name a few. Skibsrud confronts and reflects on the prevailing historical stories of the time period each of these women lived in and how they were often discarded by society. With gorgeous cover art from Nikki Berger Martinez’s Ghost Walk series, Medium emphasizes how poetry has the ability to create new ways of thinking about and interpreting the connections between past and present.

Find Medium here on All Lit Up.

Lifeline by Stephanie Kain (ECW Press)

The cover of Lifeline by Stephanie Kain

What unfolds when a loved one plunges into mental illness? In her memoir, Lambda Literary Award-shortlisted author Stephanie Kain delves into the author’s complex relationship with a woman battling suicidal depression, navigating the chaotic world of locked wards, medications, and therapy. Through personal essays, prose, poetry, and text exchanges, the book sheds light on the challenges of caring for someone with a fatal mental illness. At its core is the bond between two people whose love both binds them and threatens to drown them. Lifeline explores the importance of tough conversations, humour, and dignity in the face of mental health battles, while also critiquing flaws in the medical system and pondering the meaning of love.

Find Lifeline here on All Lit Up.

Find more books by and about women with our list of books for Women’s History Month.