As it is International Women's Day today (have a good one!)
I am going to rectify my euro-centricity by celebrating an international woman of note:
Murasaki Shikibu (973-1014) was a highly educated woman of the Japanese court, she is considered to be the worlds first novelist. Despite this we don’t even know her real name as it was not recorded (which was normal for daughters at this time). She married and had a daughter Kenshi, who grew up to be a poet herself. After her husband died she was called to be a lady at the court of Empress Akiko, more than likely because of her story writing skills. It was there Murasaki wrote her novel the The Tale of Genji. It is an invaluable source for historians as it gives a unique insight into the lives of the wealthy in medieval Japan.
Tyler, Royall (ed.), The Tale of Genji, (Penguin: London, 2003)
Bowring, John (ed.), The diary of Lady Murasaki, (Penguin: London, 1996)
Copyright © 2010 Elaine Hunter