During the Renaissance, many people—men and women alike—did not know how to read and write. However, some women did learn how to read, and a number of women wrote books, plays, and poetry that we still learning about today.
- Elizabeth I, who later became queen of England, translated a French book into English when she was only 11 years old! She gave her translation to her stepmother, Katherine Parr.
- Marquerite de Navarre, a French queen, wrote poetry and a collection of short stories. She ruled France with her brother, King Francois. When Francois was captured, Marguerite rode directly to the people who had taken him prisoner and helped to set him free.
- Margaret Cavendish was one of the first women to write science fiction. Her book, The Blazing World, imagines a planet in outer space with talking animals.
- Aphra Behn was among the first woman in England to write plays professionally. Actors performed her first play, The Forced Marriage, in 1670 — over 50 years after the famous playwright William Shakespeare died.
Princess Marguerite of Angouleme, c.1530.
Marguerite de Navarre. Heptaméron. Paris, 1740