In honour of International Women’s Day, the female staff at Christian publisher, SPCK, share their favourite books by women authors


As women working for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), it is our joy and privilege to carry out Christ’s commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), by - literally - sharing the word of God through the content we publish. 

Jesus’ radical treatment of women changed history. As Christ followers, we are honoured to use our God-given gifts in publishing as we lead departments, write, edit, run marketing campaigns and collaborate on books that share the glorious, life-changing truth of the gospel. Along the way, we have been helped and inspired in our work - as well as through the ups and downs of life, by some amazing female authors and their books.

Ann Voskamp and Leanne Payne


My favourite female authors are Ann Voskamp, who wrote One Thousand Gifts (Thomas Nelson), for her honest, raw surrender to God and her discovery of joy in that.

And Leanne Payne, author of Restoring The Christian Soul (Baker Books) for her pioneering of the Christian healing movement, well before ‘well-being’ and ‘trauma’ were normal terms.

Vanessa Norman, head of rights

Jane Austen and Sarah Bessey


Did you know that Jane Austen was actually a patron of SPCK? I love Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics). Getting lost in Austen’s story-telling is something of an escapism for me. Her novels invite us to journey along the intricate and weaving paths of self-discovery for her characters, but also for the reader.

Ahead of her time in many ways, Austen’s relatable heroines grapple with themes of identity, class and inner convictions. Even in our post-modern world, these are questions we still must all make sense of today. She was something of a misfit within her context, being a single, female author, and I wonder if this informed her choice of heroines; paying close attention to the ‘underdog’ or the slightly ‘uncouth’ heroine makes space for all who read her novels (like me) to find the richness of our own character in spite of our weaknesses, successes or beauty.

I’ve also recently discovered the incredibly personable and transcending writing style of Sarah Bessey. Warm and approachable, Bessey really draws you in like a friend, revealing her most honest thoughts, and vulnerably describes her own experiences and journey of deconstructing and reconstructing her Christian faith. Reading Field Notes for the Wilderness (SPCK) really drew me closer to God and gave me the space to dig into some of the deeper questions, and navigate those back to Jesus.

Rio Summers, marketing campaign manager

Christy Angelle Bauman


One of my favourite female authors is Christy Angelle Bauman, who wrote Theology of the Womb. My initial reaction to this book was: “No way, no thank you, too far.” But I read it anyway. Christy pushed me well out of my comfort zone (so far that I needed GPS to get back). Her frank conversation around women’s bodies, menstruation and sex are fearless. I would recommend the book because, if you’re anything like me, the idea of exploring the way God designed a woman’s body is ‘a bit too hippie’ but by ignoring something so beautiful and personal, we’re missing something of God’s heart for us. Allow yourself to be challenged and give it a read!

Lauren Windle, commissioning editor, and author of Notes on Feminism (SPCK)

Marilynne Robinson


My favourite author of all time is Marilynne Robinson, a Christian essayist and novelist who won the  Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005 for her beautiful book Gilead (Virago), which is framed as a letter to the young son of the main character Reverend John Ames, an elderly pastor in the small, rural fictional American town of Gilead, Iowa, who knows that he is dying of a heart condition. It reflects on the highs and lows of life and faith with depth and breadth, as well ample humour, grace and gravity. Alongside her brilliant fiction, Robinson also has published collections of essays such as What Are We Doing Here?, in which she combines her theology with cultural commentary to explore what her vision of a Christian humanism might contribute to a politically polarised, divided, 21st-century West. And, coming this month, Reading Genesis, in which she dives into the first book of the Bible with her distinct pathos and insight.

Charisa Gunasekera, marketing campaign manager 

Sharon Hastings and Laurie Krieg


Sharon Hastings, who wrote Wrestling with My Thoughts and Tending To My Thoughts (IVP), about her journey as a medical doctor with severe mental illness, has been a blessed companion to me through some of the darkest days. Even when we feel God is absent in our suffering, Sharon’s writing reminds me that he is closer than the swell of unshed tears, and as certain as rock beneath a changing tide. 

I also adore author Laurie Krieg who co-wrote An Impossible Marriage (IVP) with her husband, Matt. This book revealed so much to me about how our desires point ultimately to the God who made us, and can only be satisfied in him. When we look to other human beings, success, acceptance or material security to define us, they will crumple under the weight of our eternal longing.

Emily Beater, publicity manager

Robyn Wrigley-Carr and Catherine Fox


For me, it’s Music of Eternity: Meditations for Advent with Evelyn Underhill by Robyn Wrigley-Carr (SPCK). Profoundly deep and joyful, this book simply re-enchants me, and I go back to it again and again.

The Lindchester Chronicles by Catherine Fox (SPCK) because they’re great fun, yet so real and loving in the way they portray their very human characters.

Alison Barr, publisher