Margaret Atwood is a novelist and poet whose female protagonists have attracted women readers. Atwood considers herself a feminist writer and joins the show to discuss her life, career, and the women's movement. Her latest work is a collection of short stories titled "Dancing Girls."
Sarah Paretsky's novels feature women detectives who are every bit as tough as their hard-boiled male counterparts. Her work subverts classic tropes of vulnerable virgins and femme fatales. Her newest book is called Bitter Medicine.
Francine Du Plessix Gray, journalist and novelist. She has written extensively about women and fashion. Her new book is a collection of essays that cover religion, the idea of home and the current moral climate.
The essayist and novelist's new book, called AIDS and Its Metaphors, examines the discourse surrounding the disease. Sontag is a cancer survivor; a previous book about language and sickness is titled Illness as Metaphor. She joins Fresh Air to talk about how cancer changed her thinking and made her a more compassionate person.
The book Geek Love is about carnival performers who intentionally take drugs during pregnancy in order to give birth to deformed children. Author Katherine Dunn says she used deformity as a metaphor to make a larger point about body image and disability.
Johnson was part of the 1950s Beat community and had a relationship with Jack Kerouac. Her experience in the literary counterculture - and the peripheral place of women within it -- has influenced much of her work, including her memoir Minor Characters and her new novel, In the Night Cafe.
Novelist Sue Miller. She wrote the best-seller, "The Good Mother," which was made into a movie starring Diane Keaton. She has a new novel, called "Family Pictures." It's about a family coping with an autistic child. (It's published by Harper and Row).
Mystery writer Sara Paretsky. Paretsky's just written the seventh in her series of mysteries starring tough-nails female private eye V.I. Warshawski. (Published by Delacorte Press). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Grace Paley was New Yorks's first official woman state writer. Known for writing about neighborhoods including the Bronx and Greenwich Village, Paley now lives in Vermont. Paley is known for her collections of short stories, but is also a poet. Her new book is "New and Collected Poems."