5 Women Who Left a Mark in Literature, Dance and Music

In commemoration of International Women's Day, we wish to pay tribute to five iconic women who have left a significant mark through their literary and musical contributions. 

Toni Morrison  

Chloe Ardelia Wofford, known worldwide under her pen name Toni Morrison, was a prominent American novelist, editor, and professor. In 1970, at the age of thirty-nine, she debuted her first novel, “The Bluest Eye.” Although this work and hernextone, “Sula” (1973), did not have the desired attention, it was in 1977 with The Song of Solomon” that her writing shocked the literary world. 

The peak came in 1987 with the publication ofBeloved”, a work that was the beginning of a trilogy which included “Jazz” and “Paradise”. Toni Morrison achieved a truly amazing milestone by becoming the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in LiteratureAdditionally, she advocated for the inclusion of African American perspectives in education and literatureinfluencing generationof readers and writers.

Miriam Makeba 

Miriam Makeba was born in Johannesburg, South Africa where she stood out as an important figure in music and the fight against apartheidShe began her musical career in the group Manhattan Brothers in the 1950s and quickly became famous for her vocal talents.

Her single “Pata Pata” catapulted her to international fame in 1967; However, her impact transcended the music industry when she became a tireless anti-apartheid activist, using her music to highlight injustices in South Africa. Her courageous voice echoes in the corridors of global politics, and her legacy lives on through her music and contributions to the movement for equality in South Africa, demonstrating that art can be a powerful tool for social activism. 

Nina Simone 

Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known as Nina Simone, was a prominent American singer, pianist, and activist. At age ten, she gave her first recital at a local bookstore; However, her parents were evicted from the front row to make room for white people. This moment resonated with her deeply and later motivated her to become involved in the civil rights movement. Her musical career took off in the 1950s with hits like “I Loves You, Porgy”; Throughout her career, she released iconic albums like “Little Girl Blue” and “I Put a Spell on You.”  

In the 1960s she became actively involved in the civil rights movement in the United States, and songs like “Mississipi Goodman” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” became anthems of the fight for racial equality. 

Isadora Duncan 

Isadora Duncan, more than a dancer, was a dream who revolutionized dance at the beginning of the 20th century. Her unique style, inspired by Ancient Greece and freedom of movement, challenged the rigid norms of classical ballet and paved the way for modern dance. Her defense of free love and her rejection of the status quo made her an icon to some and problematic to others. 

Marguerite Duras 

Marguerite Duras was a French novelist, screenwriter and filmmaker. A key figure of the "Nouvelle Vague" movement, her work is characterized by her experimental style, her exploration of memory and desire. Among her best-known works are "Hiroshima mon amour", "The Lover" and "India Song". Duras was a fierce critic of French society in her time, denouncing hypocrisy, inequality and oppression. Her work reflected a lucid and committed view of the social and political problems of her time. 

Your next literary adventure awaits you!

Were you already familiar with the legacies of these incredible women? We invite you to come and enjoy reading your favorite author in our café-bookstore. Remember that we have hundreds of books that you can browse for free while you enjoy a delicious beverage.