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In The Media - Hatshepsut

Seated Statue of Hatshepsut

To follow up my post about Maatkare Hatshepsut, I thought I'd take a quick look at some of the media (books, podcasts, etc.) related to the female pharaoh and her reign. Today I've picked out a handful of sources that I think are worth your time!


For this category, my recommendations are The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney and Hatchepsut (alternative spelling) by Joyce Tyldesley. If you're going to read anything about Maatkare Hatshepsut, it should be these two biographies. I may be a bit biased...I've got a special place in my heart for these two books, as I discussed each of them during my Egyptology interviews at the University of Oxford! Both The Woman Who Would Be King and Hatchepsut are highly informative and engaging, providing information on the pharaoh's life, accomplishments, and the ways in which she subverted and rose above many of the expectations for a royal woman in ancient Egyptian society. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be The Woman Who Would Be King: it's the most recent of the two publications, and in my opinion does the best job of bringing the story of Egypt's most successful female king to life. There's great merit in both of these books, however, and they're an absolute must-read if you're interested in exploring the facts of Hatshepsut's incredible story further.


Before I even list my recommendations for this section, let me say this: it's totally possible to enjoy a piece of historical fiction/literature even if that work isn't 100% factually-accurate. This is the case with all three of my recommended fiction selections: Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge, Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton, and The She-King Series (4 Books), by Libbie Hawker. Each of these novels is well-written and entertaining, even though they include some aspects of Hatshepsut's life and reign that have been either fictionalized or sensationalized (A reoccurring plot point? That the pharaoh had a secret relationship with her steward, Senenmut, an assertion almost universally disputed and dismissed by Egyptologists). I immensely enjoyed each of these selections for different reasons, and I would recommend them to those interested in seeing the character of Hatshepsut brought to life and interpreted in creative ways.


If you don't have time to read a 300-page biography, or are simply looking for a fantastic supplement to your research on Hatshepsut, I would highly recommend checking out both the Deviant Women and The History Chicks podcasts. Both shows are hosted by women, and both center around sharing the stories and legacies of famous, overlooked, and/or controversial female historical figures from a variety of different time periods. The History Chicks Episode #45, "Hatshepsut" and Deviant Women #11 "Hatshepsut" rank among my favorite podcast episodes of all time, and each cover a lot more of the finer details of the pharaoh's life than I discussed in my first post about her. If you're intrigued by the story of this female pharaoh and want to learn more about the reign of Maatkare Hatshepsut, I would absolutely give these two episodes a listen!

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