This article accompanies the fable
Austen struggled to get published (as "A Lady") and it might be easy to assume that she was the only notable woman writer of the time. Ann Radcliffe’s novels of the 1790’s, especially The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), which Austen satirizes in Northanger Abbey, and Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), were very well known, but there were many others.
A quick look at the Wikipedia reference for just one year, 1802, the year Austen and Bigg-Wither failed to click, reveals women writers such as Maria Edgeworth, Rachel Hunter, Isabella Kelly, Mary Meeke and Mary Pilkington, who mostly wrote novels under their own names. Then there were the wealthy socialites, some of them of scandalous reputation, such as Elizabeth Craven, who published novels, plays, travel books and memoirs.