For Books’ Sake Heroes of 2013

Some absolutely wonderful stuff has gone on this year, because of some absolutely wonderful people. Here are our top ten heroes of 2013 - and here's to their continuing brilliance in 2014.

Kathryn Heyman

For so eloquently, fiercely and brilliantly bringing the London Review of Books to task for choosing to play their ridiculous game of “spot the lady” all over the pages of their magazine. Her public posting of the testy, ridiculous email exchange she had with them woke many people up to the plight of women writers and critics in literary circles, and made the LRB look completely daft. A true For Books’ Sake icon.

Malorie Blackman

Just for being, you know, Malorie Blackman. But also for becoming the Children’s Laureate and for using her position to so eloquently and furiously draw attention to the importance of libraries, at a time when so many of them are facing closure. She’s an all round good egg, brilliant writer and inspiration, and we love her to bits.

Jack Monroe

For everything she’s done this year: the brilliant blog, the yummy budget recipes and brilliant political posts, the fab slapdown of Richard Littlejohn, the angry speech to the Conservative Conference and for her petition calling for a parliamentary debate on UK hunger – which not only met it’s 100,000 mark within days, but surpassed it within a matter of weeks. Her first book is due out in 2014 and we can’t wait to read it, and see what she does next.

Maureen Johnson

For her hugely impacting coverflip contest, her Twitter discussions about gender in YA fiction and her commitment to, as our Cariad Martin puts it, speaking up about the “gender bullshit of the YA genre”. Maureen Johnson, we think you’re wicked.

Malala Yousafzai

For absolutely incredible bravery and determination: for her public speaking, for her ability to shut up Jon Stewart, and for her wonderfully inspiring autobiography. Her commitment to promoting girls education can’t be stopped by bullets, or the threat of more: at sixteen she’s shown more courage and strength than most of us will ever need to during our entire lives. Malala, we salute you!

Alice Munro

For playing a defining role in establishing the short story genre as a rightful and serious alternative to novels and plays, resulting, finally, in her becoming the thirteenth woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature this Autumn. Empress of the shorts since 1968, this woman is a maverick and a true hero.

Warsan Shire

Born in Kenya, raised in London, Warsan Shire‘s poetry speaks to an international audience – her work has already been translated into Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. This was reflected in October, in her selection as London’s first Young Poet Laureate. She’s 24 by the way. Yeah, it makes us feel useless too!

Eleanor Catton

This needs little explanation; the lady broke two records in one fell swoop – becoming the youngest recipient of the Man Booker Prize, for the longest novel to date. The Luminaries tackles murder, gold and the stars and wowed critics and readers across the board.

Keris Stainton

For exemplifying and harnessing the power and heart of the literary world through her Authors of the Philippines campaign, which auctioned literary lunches, signed books and writing courses to raise money for the Red Cross appeal following Typhoon Haiyan. Keris Stainton and her team of authors raised £55,000.

All the women trailblazers

You’d be reading this article well into 2014 if we gave an individual mention to all the women writers who have made this year a truly progressive year in literary recognition. Obvious examples include, Kate Atkinson, Eimeer McBride and Mari Hannah, but some new gems have been sighted recently – watch out for Tanya Wright and Chloe Goodwin.

So there you have ten of our heroes of 2013. Which other literary lovelies do you reckon deserve extra goodies from Santa this year?

(Image via Snap)