Khansa (Al-Khansa, Tumadir bint 'Amr)about 575 - about 644
A convert to Islam during the life of the Prophet Muhammed, her poems are mainly about the deaths of her brothers in battles before Islam's arrival. She's thus known both as an Islamic woman poet and as an example of pre-Islamic Arabian literature.
Rabiah al-Adawiyah713 - 801
Rabi'ah al-'Adawiyyah of Basrah was a Sufi saint, an ascetic who was also a teacher. Those who wrote about her in the first few hundred years after her death portrayed her as a model of Islamic knowledge and mystical practice or critic of humanity. Of her poems and writings that survive, some may be of Maryam of Bashrah (her student) or Rabi'ah bint Isma'il of Damascas.
Dhuodaabout 803 - about 843
Wife of Bernard of Septimania who was godson of Louis I (King of France, Holy Roman Emperor) and who became embroiled in a civil war against Louis, Dhuoda was left alone when her husband had her two children taken from her. She sent her sons a written collection of advice plus quotations from other writings.
First known woman dramatist, Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim also wrote poems and chronicles.
She wrote a diary about court life and is known as a poet.
Murasaki Shikibu is credited with writing the first novel in the world, based on her years as an attendant in the Japanese imperial court.
Trotula was the name given to a medieval medical compilation of texts, and the authorship of at least some of the texts is attributed to a female physician, Trota, sometimes called Trotula. The texts were standards for guiding gynecological and obstetrical practice for centuries.
Her mother was Irene Ducas, and her father was the Emperor Alexius I Comnenus of Byzantium. After her father's death, she documented his life and reign in a 15-volume history written in Greek, which also included information on medicine, astronomy, and accomplished women of Byzantium.
Li Qingzhao (Li Ch'ing-Chao)1084 - about 1155
A Buddhist of northern China (now Shandong) with literary parents, she wrote lyric poetry and, with her husband, collected antiquities, during the Song dynasty. During the Jin (Tartar) invasion, she and her husband lost most of their possessions. A few years later, her husband died. She finished a manual of antiquities which her husband had begun, adding a memoir of her life and poetry to it. Most of her poems -- 13 volumes during her lifetime -- were destroyed or lost.
Frau Ava? - 1127
A German nun who wrote poems about 1120-1125, Frau Ava's writings are the first in German by a womanwoman whose name is known. Little is known about her life, except that she seems to have had sons and she may have lived as a recluse within a church or monastery.