Now that the summer movie season is officially over, it’s time to take stock. Overall, it hasn’t been the strongest year, with reboots bombing left and right, and even well-established franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean failing to find an audience. But not every movie tanked. There were a few standouts, and many of them happened to be directed or written by women.
Two of the biggest record smashers of the summer were the Patty Jenkins directed Wonder Woman, and Girls Trip, which was written by two women, Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver. Girls Trip recently made headlines for breaking the $100 million mark, making it the first film to make over $100 million that was written, directed, and produced by African-Americans. It’s a huge milestone, especially in an industry where marginalized groups are still so underrepresented.
That kind of inspiring success is why we’re celebrating female directors here at Booktrib, and not just for the movies they make. It turns out a lot of women who direct films happen to be authors as well. So here are 7 books by – and about! – female directors that prove that women really can do it all.
Wallflower at the Orgy, Nora Ephron (Bantam, June 26, 2007)
With mega hits like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, producer, screenwriter, and director Ephron was the queen of the romantic comedy. She was also an author, publishing over half a dozen books before her death in 2012. Wallflower at the Orgy was originally published in 1970, but still holds up today. The collection of magazine articles is classic Ephron – funny, witty and sharply observant.
In Her Voice, Melissa Silverstein (Women & Hollywood, January 14, 2013)
In Her Voice may not be written by a female director, but it does include a lot of their voices. Author Silverstein compiles over 40 different interviews from women directors all over the world. Read about their experiences working in the movie industry, their successes and their struggles. There’s no way this collection won’t captivate and inspire you.
The German Doctor, Lucía Puenzo (Hesperus Press, May 15, 2014)
Puenzo is an Argentinian director, probably most well known for her 2013 film, The German Doctor. She’s also the author of the historical novel the movie is based on, about the post-war years of the infamous Nazi physician Josef Mengele. But that’s not all – she also wrote The Fish Child, which she made into a film in 2009.
Kiss Carlo, Adriana Trigiani (Harper, June 20, 2017)
Trigiani is a powerhouse. Not only is she the author of the beloved Big Stone Gap series, but she’s also a TV writer, a playwright, a producer, and a filmmaker. Oh, and she’s written 16 books so far. She even directed both the Big Stone Gap movie adaptation and a 1996 documentary called Queen of the Big Time. Her latest novel, Kiss Carlo, is about an Italian-American family in the late 1940s.
The Lover, Marguerite Duras (Pantheon, September 8, 1998)
French filmmaker, author, and screenwriter Duras directed almost 20 movies between the late ‘60s and early ‘80s. She also wrote a long list of books, plays, screenplays, essays, and more. She’s probably most famous for The Lover, a bestselling memoir about her affair with a Chinese man while living as a teen in Saigon.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (Random House, April 15, 2009)
Maya Angelou is one of the most famous authors of the twentieth century, and her memoir about her childhood, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, has become a modern classic. But not many people know that she was also a director, a producer, and an actress. In addition to working as a theater director in the ‘80s, she directed the film Down in the Delta in 1998.