March 8 is International Women’s Day, which means we’re celebrating all those women from around the globe who inspire and entertain us. It’s easy to keep yourself in an Americanized bubble, only reading stories from the familiar authors we know and love. But the international book community is vast and vibrant, filled with writers from all different cultures and nationalities. In honor of all the talented women across the world, here are six international female authors (and their most recent books!) that you should be reading immediately:
Lone Star, Paullina Simons (William Morrow, November 2015)
I fell hard for Simons’ Bronze Horseman series, about an epic romance that starts in communist Russia during World War II and spans decades and continents. Since then I’ve considered this Russian-born author one of my favorite writers of all time. Her books have been published all around the world, most successfully in Australia, with some only recently coming to the U.S. Her latest, Lone Star, is set in a post-Communism Eastern Europe and delivers quite the adventure.
The Kindness of Enemies, Leila Aboulela (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, January 6)
Aboulela was born in Sudan and now lives in Doha, Qatar. Her latest novel dives into what it means to be a modern Muslim, connecting 200 years of Islamic history to present-day struggles. Aboulela’s writing is lush, complicated and never afraid to tackle the challenges of migration and spirituality that are facing Muslims today, which is only part of why she’s the first ever winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing.
The Best Place on Earth, Ayelet Tsabari (Random House, March 8)
In her debut story collection, Israeli born Tsabari (who now resides in Canada) tackles issues of love, family and faith. Her characters vary from Orthodox Jews to soldiers, daughters and sisters, but are always complicated and rich. Her collection won the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and will be released for the first time in the U.S. in March.
We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Vintage Books, February 2015)
Nigeria-born author Adichie is one of the most celebrated African writers of our generation, and for good reason. Her books, including 2014’s Americanah, are honest, powerful and impossible to put down. Last year her Ted Talk was turned into a must-read short essay, relevant to women across ever culture and nation.
The Expatriates, Janice Y. K. Lee (Viking Books, January 12)
The daughter of Korean immigrants, Lee grew up in Hong Kong before moving to the U.S. Her first novel, The Piano Teacher was an international best seller and translated into 26 different languages. In her latest novel, she calls upon her childhood roots to tell the story of three different women living in an expat community in Hong Kong.
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende (Atria Books, November 2015)
Allende is one of the most popular living writers and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages, making her a best-selling author in at least four countries. The iconic author was born in Peru and raised in Chile and her varied cultural background is an underlying theme in almost all of her novels. Her latest tells a sweeping story that travels from WWII Poland to a modern nursing home in San Francisco.