Writers 2 Remember: ENHEDUANNA

The World’s “First Author

History has been bias. That is a fact everyone knows and understands, so it comes as no surprise when I say the accomplishment of women / women writers have often been erased or diminished. However, facts still remain, and the truth here is that the first author in known history was a woman, named Enheduanna.

“By first author, we mean that she is the first author whom we know by name whom we can connect with an existing text,” Benjamin Foster(opens in new tab), an Assyriologist at Yale University, told Live Science. “For much of Mesopotamian literature, we do not know who wrote it, but she is the exception.”


As a Mesopotamian princess in the ancient city-state of Ur, her father, Sargon of Akkad, made her a priestess of the Sumerian moon god, Nanna-Suen. This historic and ground-breaking poet wrote in cuneiform in 23rd century BCE, penning “The Exaltation of Inanna” and “Inanna and Ebih” as well as other Hymns. Also, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enheduanna, “the works attributed to her have also been studied as an early progenitor of classical rhetoric. English translations of her works have also inspired a number of literary adaptations and representations.”

Enheduanna is the first author we know of who incorporated autobiographical details into her narrative,” Tamur said. “In addition, she is the first author who tells us something about how she created these poems. She likens the act of literary creation to childbirth, the first known use of this metaphor, which will remain in use for millennia in world literature.”


A first in autobiographical writing. A first in true rhetoric. “Further, she is credited with creating the paradigms of poetry, psalms, and prayers used throughout the ancient world which led to the development of the genres recognized in the present day.” In truth, I cannot express why I feel Enheduanna is a writer to be remembers as well as the following quote, so I leave you with this as the final thought:

“To put her precedence in perspective, she lived fifteen hundred years before Homer, seventeen hundred years before Sappho, and two thousand years before Aristotle, who is traditionally credited as the father of the rhetorical tradition.”

Lecture: She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia ca. 3400-2000 BC
The Morgan Library & Museum: She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia, ca. 3400–2000 B.C.
Who was the world’s first author? – Soraya Field Fiorio

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