Best known for her iconic portrayal of Samantha Jones in the Sex and the City franchise, Anglo-Canadian actress Kim Cattrall has built a multifaceted career on screen and stage, marked by a magnetic presence and penchant for embracing challenging roles. Born in Liverpool in 1956, she grew up in Canada before moving to New York City for her first acting role at 16.

Following notable film credits in Mannequin, Porky’s, and Big Trouble in Little China, Cattrall rocketed to stardom for her role as a saucy, sex-positive PR pro in HBO’s hit show Sex and the City. She’s also appeared on West End and Broadway stages, earning acclaim for versatile performances in plays like Private Lives and Antony and Cleopatra.

An avid reader, Cattrall shared 5 books by women that have most influenced her life and work in a 2020 episode of the Women’s Prize for Fiction Podcast. On the power of literature, she notes:

“That’s the beauty of fiction, it can rekindle what you know or it can transport you into a world you know nothing about. But you are instantly breathing and living that world.”

From Maya Angelou to Margaret Atwood, find her favorites below, and complement with the recommendations of fellow book lover and SATC star Sarah Jessica Parker.

Kim Cattrall’s Reading List

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (also rec’d by Amanda GormanAngie Thomas, Anya Taylor-Joy, Christiane AmanpourColin KaepernickGlennon DoyleJanet MockRichard Branson & Shonda Rhimes)

“A woman who had found an incredible expression of her human experience, which was filled with pain. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – the poetry of that is inherent in the title. It tells you so much about what to expect in the book, but also about her experience and her being able to channel that through her work, which is what I define as an artist.” -KC

The Way of All Women by M. Esther Harding

“It was published I think in the 30s, and the thing that’s extraordinary about this book – because there’s been other books like this, Passages is probably the most user-friendly of them – I found it a handbook. I look back at the decades as a woman and the decisions that I made and the crossroads that I crossed, and I found it very helpful. It didn’t feel archaic, it still felt fresh and it was useful. Because women and women’s roles have changed so much, we’ve come so far since the 1930s but Esther Harding was in some ways a clairvoyant to the possibilities of that. I found it fascinating.” -KC

Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood

“I’d been to the Natural History Museum there, so I could walk in Margaret’s world. It wasn’t just that, but the reveal of the relationships, and the subtlety of it and the beauty of her writing. I wanted very much to turn it into a film, but like a lot of great novels, they’re very difficult to translate. The action is active but it’s in your head. It’s a beautiful book.” -KC

Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia

“It’s so dense and so brilliant about women, and how women in a men’s world function.” -KC

Beloved by Toni Morrison (also rec’d by Cornel WestElena FerranteEmma WatsonJulianne MooreLiz PhairMargaret Atwood & Ocean Vuong)

“It was such a clear voice that you’re so drawn to, and a world that I didn’t know, that I was so fascinated by. And the element of witchcraft, or perceived witchcraft, based on this horrendous event, and the way this woman was having to live her life with this destructive force everyday.” -KC

(via The Women’s Prize Podcast; photo by Linda Brownlee)

Looking for an Amazon alternative? Support local, independent booksellers by shopping Kim Cattrall’s reading list – and hundreds of other celebrity book recommendations – through Radical Reads’ Bookshop page.

Categories: Actors