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A Visual Ode to Visionary Women

From Sappho’s ancient call-to-action, "become a voice," to Virginia Woolf’s call for intellectual freedom in A Room of One's Own, these foundational writers had a remarkable impact on future generations.

Our women writers collection is a visual ode to visionary women, and our way of drawing attention to the immense contribution women writers have made. 


Women Writers

An elegant, illustrated book of poetry, excerpts, and musings from pioneering women writers. From Charlotte Bronte's "I am no bird," to Emily Dickinson's universally edifying "hope is the thing with feathers," this exquisite collection celebrates foundational women writers who had a remarkable impact on future generations. 

Evan Robertson's bold illustrations are a visual ode to visionary women including: Jane Austen, Ida B Wells, Virginia Woolf, Edna St Vincent Millay, Charlotte Bronte, Zora Neale Hurston, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Kate Chopin, Harriet Jacobs, Willa Cather, Mary Shelley, Murasaki Shikibu, Frances Harper, Zitkala-Sa and more. 

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Charlotte Bronte

To capture this sense of sisterhood, we drew inspiration from the Three Graces (Charites) of Greek mythology. Portrayed many times by painters and sculptors alike, they have come to represent many things, ranging from the feminine (charm, beauty, creativity) to the moral (faith, hope, love) to the agonistic (Hera, Aphrodite and Athena), to the creative (experience, inspiration, craft) to the unbreakable bond of kinship (Foedus Inviolabile).

The desolate and beautiful landscape surrounding their Yorkshire town of Howarth served as the setting for their most famous stories, and was the inspiration for our illustration. Like their characters, the landscape was untamed and as romantic as it was unforgiving.The fierce independence expressed in the quote is paired with the solidarity of the three graces. Instead of birds in a tree, delicate and fearful, the sisters form the unshakeable base of the tree itself. The central figure's dress becomes the trunk, utilizing the same pattern as the branches. The side figures' floral dresses mirror the foliage in the tree.


Kate Chopin

This poignant quotation is from Chopin's beloved novel, "The Awakening,” and in our illustration, a woman slips off the words that once defined her. Kate Chopin was a feminist before her time. “The Awakening," which was published in 1899, was controversial and considered a failure. It wasn’t until the 1970s feminist movement that it became more widely read and recognized as a pioneering work in women’s literature. 

This line comes at a point in the story where the protagonist is at her most triumphant. If the garment in the illustration represents the expectations and conventions she is compelled to assume, this is her most authentic, naked self. I love that she’s engaged in making art as she discovers herself. 

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Edna St. Vincent Millay

Millay was every bit the rebel that you’ve heard. After winning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry (first lady to do so, btw), she ventured into a life of Bohemian abandan that would have made Kerouac blush, a generation before he stepped on the road.

She scandalized finger-wags everywhere with her cigarettes and affairs and crowds of poetry fans (remember those!?). She made Greenwich Village cool, then made moving upstate cool, then made gardening cool for pete’s sake. And all the time she wrote gorgeous poetry. Yeah, I’d say she burned at least twice as bright, wouldn’t you?

In our illustration, the twin flames of a candle merge into the billowing dress of an intrepid dreamer. 

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Emily Dickinson

For this illustration, we used Emily Dickinson's own words as line elements to create the "thing with feathers" she describes in this extraordinary poem. The source of hope she depicts is a bottomless well of creative inspiration and strength, which for her manifested in poetry. Visually, her handwriting is a remarkable combination of beautiful flourishes and swooshes combined with an almost frantic energy - a pen racing to keep up with a quicksilver mind. 

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Ida B Wells

Trailblazing journalist Ida B. Wells knew what she stood for and unwaveringly stood for it: Truth. Despite the impediments as both a former slave and a black woman living in the post Civil War south, she relentlessly pursued stories that exposed horrific injustices, often jeopardizing her own safety.

She viewed truth—no matter how hard it was to tell—as the ultimate means of confronting corruption, injustice, and hatred. She didn’t embellish, or write to fit her agenda or feelings. She didn’t allow herself to be defined by ideologies or interest groups. She told the truth. Our illustration is a nod to her remarkable strength, and the idea that the act of writing as a form of truth telling shines a light on the world. 

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Jane Austen

Pray, coffee drinkers, do not trifle with a connoisseur of the finer beverage, lest you find yourself forevermore excluded from respectable society.

In our illustration, we humbly present a woman with tea on her mind - literally. The crown of her hat is composed of an upside-down teacup, the brim a fetching saucer. Five more tea accoutrements complete the drawing, including a string of cups, fashionable tea leaf dress, chandelier steeper ball earrings, stirring spoon sunglasses and a bergamot flower brooch. 

Yes, we have a penchant for Earl Grey tea (especially that which uses real bergamot oil and not "natural flavors" but we digress). And no, Earl Grey wasn’t yet a thing in Jane Austen’s day. Neither were Jackie O. sunglasses. But like Earl Grey, they are fabulous nonetheless.

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Virginia Woolf

Sometimes we can all use a little perspective, and Virginia Woolf captures the sentiment perfectly in this quotation from her novel Night and Day.

You would think that with our modern technology and scientific advances we would grasp this humbling reality better than ever. But whether you consider it metaphorically (life is miraculous and precious) or literally (we’re specks on a dot drifting in an incomprehensibly vast void), it can feel like humans can’t see the forest for the affairs.

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Phyllis Wheatley

From her lyrical poem, On Imagination

Phyllis Wheatley’s story is exceptional. As a young slave in colonial America, she defied every expectation by becoming a celebrated, published poet—the first African American!—and public intellectual.

Despite countless impediments, she mastered English, Greek, and Latin, and penned elegant, classical style poems. Her poem “On Imagination” which demonstrates her knowledge of Greek mythology and the invocation of muses, is in some ways an ode to the very faculties and sheer intellectual force that led to her emancipation. Her extraordinary achievements defied all expectations and provided a refutation of slavery era prejudices.

In our illustration, the shadow of the book gives wings to the young woman depicted, allowing her to soar.

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The Women Writer's Print Collection

There are currently over 50 prints in our Women Writer's Collection. We invite you to browse them all.

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Women Writer's Postcards

Twenty-four modern interpretations of classic lines celebrate the formidable creativity and tenacious spirit of these remarkable literary pioneers. Authors include: Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë, Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, Ida B Wells and more.

Size: 4¼ x 6 inches
Paper: Heavy, premium 270 gsm archival paper
Finish: Matte, eggshell finish

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Women Writer's Bookmarks

Six of our most popular women writers illustrations as unique bookmarks.

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