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13 Must-Read Books & Collections by Indigenous Writers

book writer famous

November is Native American Heritage Month and numerous states are participating in this observance. The National Congress of American Indians describes Heritage Month as “an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes” as well as an occasion to acknowledge past and present challenges that Indigenous people face. Moreover, Heritage Month highlights how “tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges” over the years.

President Joe Biden previously issued a proclamation ahead of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and he did the same at the cusp of Native American Heritage Month. President Biden officially declared “November 2021 as National Native American Heritage Month.”  Federal support for America’s Indigenous population is certainly appreciated, but there are also numerous other ways to show support.

Attending rallies for Indigenous-led climate justice efforts, supporting the Land Back movement, and providing mutual aid funds to Indigenous-led organizations are also great ways to honor Heritage Month. You can also educate yourself by reading the works of Indigenous authors and poets. Here, we’ve compiled a list of must-read works by incredible writers. Of course, self-education isn’t all about learning history; while understanding history from other perspectives is essential, these works, which range from coming-of-age memoirs to renowned poetry collections, capture the varied, nuanced experiences of Indigenous folks living in the present-day United States.

“Crazy Brave,” “How We Became Human” & More by Joy Harjo

Most likely, you’re familiar with Joy Harjo because of her award-winning poetry. In fact, Harjo is serving her second term as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States — and for good reason. From her acclaimed collection An American Sunrise to How We Became Human , Harjo’s poetry is essential reading.

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But the talented artist and performer has also penned two incredible memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior. “I think the story is the story of a lot of Native people and the story of a lot of women, she says, noting  that Crazy Brave, in all its raw, dauntless beauty, was difficult to write. Informed by tribal myth and ancestry, Harjo’s memoir illustrates her journey of becoming a young artist, of reclaiming a lost spirituality and the “intricate and metaphorical language of my ancestors.”

“Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s” by Tiffany Midge

You may recall Tiffany Midge’s “ An Open Letter to White Girls Regarding Pumpkin Spice and Cultural Appropriation ,” a passage from her memoir, Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s . As the title of this excerpted work suggests, Midge is an incredible humorist — but she doesn’t shy away from critique or commentary, either.

book writer famous

Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s is composed of standalone musings, but all of the passages add up to a unified whole, all while “driv[ing] a spear into the stereotype of Native American stoicism,” as David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, puts it . Honest, moving, and rife with satire, this book gives David Sedaris’ best a run for its money.

“There There” by Tommy Orange

Heralded as one of the best novels of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review , NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle and others, Tommy Orange’s There There is a “brilliant, propulsive” ( People Magazine ) bestseller. The book centers on 12 characters, all of whom Orange calls “Urban Indians,” living in Oakland, California.

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These characters’ distinct stories (and lives) end up colliding on one fateful day. Despite grappling with several centuries’ worth of pain, Orange also infuses the text with humor and beauty. Without a doubt, There There is a modern classic — and near-impossible to put down once you start reading it.

“Abandon Me” by Melissa Febos

Winner of the Lambda Literary Jeanne Cordova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, Abandon Me centers on author’s need for connection. This incredibly vulnerable collection of memoirs sees Melissa Febos examining her own journey of self-discovery, which is marked by both passion and obsession.

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In reference to the titular story, The Chicago Review of Books  notes that the “memoir is the map” — one that helps us understand Febos, even if the on-page version of her is lost. In fact, Febos is particularly deft at exploring the simultaneous thrill and fear that come along with losing yourself in another person — or people.

“Black Indian” by Shonda Buchanan

For as long as Shonda Buchanan can remember, she has cherished her multi-racial heritage. At the same time, Buchanan and her family suffered — not just because of America’s ongoing racism and ostracizing attitudes, but because there was so much they didn’t know about their past.

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In this searing memoir, Buchanan digs into her family’s past, exploring what it means to be an African American person, an Indigenous person — and a Black Indigenous person. While her search for truth may not encapsulate the experiences of all biracial folks, Buchanan’s story deeply resonates due, in part, to its specificity and the way the author openly shares her lived experiences.

“We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom

“Water is the first medicine,” reads We Are Water Protectors . “It affects and connects us all.” Inspired by the myriad Indigenous-led movements happening across North America, this breathtaking picture book is a sort of call to action, wrapped in lyrical prose and watercolor illustrations crafted by #OwnVoices writer Carole Lindstrom and artist Michaela Goade.

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Booklist notes that the book was “written in response to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline [and] famously protested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe” and that “these pages carry grief, but it is overshadowed by hope in what is an unapologetic call to action.” No matter one’s age, We Are Water Protectors is a must-read, one that gets to the heart of the things that matter and puts Indigenous ideas, groups, creators and leaders rightfully at the center of the movement to safeguard our planet from human-caused climate change and destruction.

“As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, From Colonization to Standing Rock” by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

While Indigenous activists have always led the fight for climate and environmental justice, their efforts have become more widely acknowledged by media, the federal government and allies. From the Standing Rock protest to #StopLine3, these fights are far from over — and they’re happening all across the country.

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Inspired by these fights, Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker authored As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice in 2019. In the text, Gilio-Whitaker explores the ways the federal government has violated tribal treaties, destroyed the land it stole, and made food and water inaccessible to many native peoples. Additionally, the book highlights the leadership of Indigenous women in these fights for environmental justice.

“Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers” by Jake Skeets

Selected as the Best Poetry Book of 2019 by the likes of Electric Literature , Entropy Mag , Auburn Avenue and others, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a masterful collection. The publisher calls Jake Skeets a “dazzling geologist of queer eros” — and that certainly feels like an apt description.

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In the book, “Drunktown, New Mexico” has been shaped by violence — not just the violence that occurs there, but the violence done to it. Skeet writes that “the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all” in this town. This committed portrait of a place that’s been ravaged and forgotten also highlights the resilience of the people who live there — and the desire to reclaim what’s been taken.

“The Beadworkers: Stories” by Beth Piatote

Called a “poignant and challenging look at the way the past and present collide” by Kirkus Reviews , Beth Piatote’s debut story collection, The Beadworkers , is set in the Native Northwest. From the Battle of Wounded Knee to the Fish Wars of the 1960s, many of the stories in the collection stem from, or meditate on, events from the past.

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One of Piatote’s narrators notes that, “it’s surprising how much material can be mined from making Indian versions of things” and, in other stories, Piatote does just that, retelling classical stories, like Sophocles’ Antigone, from an Indigenous perspective. With vibrant characters and a beautiful mix of both verse and prose, Piatote’s debut is a must-read collection — and we can’t wait to read more of her stories in the future.

“The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones ( Ledfeather ) wrote one of the 2020’s most highly anticipated horror novels — and all that anticipation certainly paid off. The Only Good Indians centers on the tale of four childhood friends who grow up, move away from home and then, a decade later, discover that a vengeful entity is hunting them for an act of violence they committed long ago.

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The novel combines horror, drama and social commentary quite flawlessly, proving NPR’s statement that “Jones is one of the best writers working today regardless of genre.” Rebecca Roanhorse, the bestselling author of Trail of Lightning, wrote that “Jones boldly and bravely incorporates both the difficult and the beautiful parts of contemporary Indian life into his story, never once falling into stereotypes or easy answers but also not shying away from the horrors caused by cycles of violence.”

“An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Undoubtedly, understanding our collective history is essential to understanding our present. For example, the movements to abolish Columbus Day or stop Line 3 stem from how the first colonizers treated Native people and the land we all live on today. Today, there are more than 500 federally recognized Indigenous nations; roughly 3 million people comprise these nations, but, before the centuries-long genocide by white colonizers, 15 million Indigenous people lived on land that’s the present-day U.S.

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In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, historian and Indigenous rights activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz tells the story of the U.S. empire’s rise from an Indigenous perspective — a landmark first. Dunbar-Ortiz’s 2015 bestseller was later adapted, with the help of Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese, into a book aimed at middle-grade and young-adult readers.

Whether you’re reading one of these books yourself or looking to start a discussion with younger students, these texts allow readers to think critically and examine the way we learn about our history. Filled with archival images and maps, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People  does an exceptionally good job of highlighting 400 years of Indigenous peoples’ resistance and resilience in the fight against colonialism.

“Streaming” by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Award-winning poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke explores loss, memory and the future of our planet in this multi-award-winning collection. Joy Harjo, the U.S. National Poet Laureate, noted that the poems in Streaming are “the songs of righteous anger and utter beauty.”

book writer famous

Lauded for her musicality, Hedge Coke uses structure and imagery to great effect, crafting poems that are singular. “Hedge Coke uproots the order of poetry and song,” Jennifer Martelli writes in Green Mountain Review  “— or, she finds its massive roots deep beneath the soil of America.”

“Feed” by Tommy Pico

Tommy Pico has won the Whiting Award, an American Book Award, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Now, Feed completes his Teebs Cycle, a series of four books. This riveting collection is ambitious, to say the least, and tackles everything from pop culture to food to being friends with your ex.

book writer famous

Shelf Awareness  called it “a dazzling fusion of culture,” noting that “Feed is as much about what we consume as how we consume. Pico’s lines are ever-growing, ever-expanding. And while we might seem lost in the abundance, the sheer variety, Pico is a skilled enough poet to ground us.”


book writer famous

No Sweat Shakespeare

Famous Authors: The 30 Greatest Writers Of All Time

Who are the most  most famous authors the world has ever known ? Perhaps that’s not the real question: we should instead be asking, ‘how can we judge’? With that in mind one can begin to talk about criteria. One can think about which famous writers had the most influence on the world as a result of what they wrote, or how their writings changed the world.

We don’t necessarily have to talk about their writing style or how good their prose is, as that is, in any case, far too subjective: their greatness could simply be about their ideas – ideas that grab the attention of the world and change the world’s perceptions forever. In that case the writing would only be a vehicle for the transmission of the idea they wish to convey. That idea or theory or research is the reason for writing the book.

And then, particularly if we are including Shakespeare as one of the influential writers, we need to look at what kind of writing we are talking about. Shakespeare falls into the fiction writer category and so, perhaps, to find our best writers we should look at other fiction writers whose work had something like the influence of William Shakespeare’s. It should therefore be clear that our list of the thirty greatest writers are all fiction writers. Our criterion will be that they should be poets, dramatists and prose fiction writers who have had a significant influence on the writers who came after them or on the direction of society.

But who, apart from Shakespeare, are the greatest writers of all time? Without further ado, here is a list of thirty of the greatest writers of all time offered by NoSweatShakespeare. It would be impossible to rank them so they are listed in order of their birth dates:

Homer ~850 BCE


Sophocles 496-406 BCE


Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) 70 BCE – 19 BCE


The Evangelist, Mark (Author of the Gospel of St Mark) 1st Century CE


Dante (Durante degli Alighieri) 1265-1321


Geoffrey Chaucer 1343-1400

Famous Authors: The 30 Greatest Writers Of All Time 1

Francois Rabelais 1498-1553


Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Cortinas) 1547-1616


John Donne 1572-1631

John Donne

John Milton 1608-1674

John Milton portrait

John Bunyan (1628-1688)


Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) 1694-1778


William Blake 1757-1827

William Blake portrait Blake portrait

Jane Austen 1775 – 1817

Jane Austin

Hans Christian Andersen 1805-1875


Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish playwright, travel writer, poet, novelist and story writer. His fairy tales place him as one of the world’s greatest writers ever. Written basically for children they transcend age barriers because of their universal nature: they reach the deepest levels of the human condition, each story demonstrating something profound about what it means to be a human being… Read more on Hans Christian Anderson >>

Charles Dickens 1812-1870

Charles Dickens photograph

Herman Melville 1819-1891


Gustave Flaubert 1821-1880


Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky 1821-1881


Jules Verne 1828-1905


Leo Tolstoy (Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy) 1828-1910


Emily Dickinson 1830-1886


Unknown as a poet during her lifetime, Emily Dickinson is now regarded by many as one of the most powerful voices of American culture. Her poetry has inspired many other writers, including the Brontes. In 1994 the critic, Harold Bloom, listed her among the twenty-six central writers of Western civilization.  After she died her sister found the almost two thousand poems the poet had written… Read Emily Dickinson quotes . Read more on Emily Dickinson >>

Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) 1832-1898


James Joyce 1882-1941


Franz Kafka 1883-1924


T.S. Eliot 1888-1965

F scott fitzgerald 1896-1940.


Jorge Luis Borges 1899-1986


George Orwell 1903-1950

George Orwell photo

Gabriel Garcia Marques 1927-2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Like our list of the thirty greatest writers of all time? Any we’re missing? Check out our list of famous English writers , and most famous American authors .

Fiction writers do not write to transmit an idea or report on research they have done. They use language to make us think that their inventions are real, that the places they create actually exist and that their characters are real people, like us, who love and hate and suffer and strive. They invite us to enter into the world of their text and although they usually write only to entertain, there is a sense in that they point to truths just as real as those reached by Darwin and Einstein. If they do that at the highest level, in creating a world that we both recognise and can be inspired by, they reveal themselves as great writers and influence the world in that way. Like Shakespeare.

So who are these writers who can be placed in the same category as Shakespeare for doing that? Shakespeare is, of course, foremost among the great writers. Apart from writing plays that can be held up like mirrors in which we can see ourselves as human beings clearly, and come to an understanding of many of the things that make us human, Shakespeare’s poetry has had a profound effect on the English language: the way we use it today has been shaped by his words and phrases. It can be difficult at times to utter a sentence in English without using a construction first used by Shakespeare. And whenever we need to find a phrase that will sum something we want to say up perfectly and beautifully, we will find a phrase somewhere in Shakespeare’s works .


No Shakespeare, no list.

Mark Wiebe

Regarding the writer of the Gospel of Mark, your claim that Jesus was a fictional character is preposterous and outrageous. Even secular scholars overwhelmingly affirm that Jesus was a historical person—the evidence is undeniable. By claiming (without a hint of embarrassment) that Jesus was fictional, you entirely discredit yourself. You yourself become a laughing stock, and subject to scorn and ridicule from both ‘believers’ and seculars. Deservedly so.


Quite right. Jesus is not only not fictional, he is in fact alive.

Einnif Namelock

You really should read more…. This should be titled the greatest white writers – There is no contest between Fitzgerald and Twain – Austen may be a token here… George Eliot makes just as much sense… Morrison?

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The Greatest Books of All Time, as Voted by 125 Famous Authors

Tolstoy holds an 11-point lead over Shakespeare in these literary opinion polls.


“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said . This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bidirectional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries . The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity’s greatest British and American writers—including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates—“to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time—novels, story collections, plays, or poems.”

Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list—so, a book that tops a list at No. 1 receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at No. 10, receives one point.

In introducing the lists, David Orr offers a litmus test for greatness:

If you’re putting together a list of “the greatest books,” you’ll want to do two things: (1) out of kindness, avoid anyone working on a novel; and (2) decide what the word “great” means. The first part is easy, but how about the second? A short list of possible definitions of “greatness” might look like this: 1. “Great” means “books that have been greatest for me.” 2. “Great” means “books that would be considered great by the most people over time.” 3. “Great” has nothing to do with you or me—or people at all. It involves transcendental concepts like God or the Sublime. 4. “Great”? I like Tom Clancy.

From David Foster Wallace (No. 1: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis) to Stephen King (No. 1: The Golden Argosy , a 1955 anthology of the best short stories in the English language), the collection offers a rare glimpse of the building blocks of great creators’ combinatorial creativity —because, as Austin Kleon put it, “ you are a mashup of what you let into your life. ”

The book concludes with an appendix of “literary number games” summing up some patterns and constructing several overall rankings based on the totality of the different authors’ picks. Among them (*with links to free public domain works where available):

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

4. Ulysses * by James Joyce

5. Dubliners * by James Joyce

6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

8. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

9. The complete stories of Flannery O'Connor

10. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

1. Anna Karenina * by Leo Tolstoy

2. Madame Bovary * by Gustave Flaubert

3. War and Peace * by Leo Tolstoy

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn * by Mark Twain

5. The stories of Anton Chekhov

6. Middlemarch * by George Eliot

7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

8. Great Expectations * by Charles Dickens

9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

10. Emma * by Jane Austen

1. William Shakespeare – 11

2. William Faulkner – 6

3. Henry James – 6

4. Jane Austen – 5

5. Charles Dickens – 5

6. Fyodor Dostoevsky – 5

7. Ernest Hemingway – 5

8. Franz Kafka – 5

9. Tied: James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf – 4

1. Leo Tolstoy – 327

2. William Shakespeare – 293

3. James Joyce – 194

4. Vladimir Nabokov – 190

5. Fyodor Dostoevsky – 177

6. William Faulkner – 173

7. Charles Dickens – 168

8. Anton Chekhov – 165

9. Gustave Flaubert – 163

10. Jane Austen – 161

As a nonfiction loyalist, I'd love a similar anthology of nonfiction favorites—then again, famous writers might wave a knowing finger and point me to the complex relationship between truth and fiction .


This post appears courtesy of Brain Pickings , an Atlantic partner site .

Image credits: AP Images / Wikimedia Commons

The Marginalian

The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors

Why tolstoy is 11.6% better than shakespeare., by maria popova.

book writer famous

Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list — so, a book that tops a list at number one receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at number ten, receives 1 point.

In introducing the lists, David Orr offers a litmus test for greatness:

If you’re putting together a list of ‘the greatest books,’ you’ll want to do two things: (1) out of kindness, avoid anyone working on a novel; and (2) decide what the word ‘great’ means. The first part is easy, but how about the second? A short list of possible definitions of ‘greatness’ might look like this: 1. ‘Great’ means ‘books that have been greatest for me.’ 2. ‘Great’ means ‘books that would be considered great by the most people over time.’ 3. ‘Great’ has nothing to do with you or me — or people at all. It involves transcendental concepts like God or the Sublime. 4. ‘Great’? I like Tom Clancy.

From David Foster Wallace (#1: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis) to Stephen King (#1: The Golden Argosy , a 1955 anthology of the best short stories in the English language), the collection offers a rare glimpse of the building blocks of great creators’ combinatorial creativity — because, as Austin Kleon put it, “you are a mashup of what you let into your life.”

book writer famous

The book concludes with an appendix of “literary number games” summing up some patterns and constructing several overall rankings based on the totality of the different authors’ picks. Among them (*with links to free public domain works where available):





As a nonfiction loyalist, I’d love a similar anthology of nonfiction favorites — then again, famous writers might wave a knowing finger and point me to the complex relationship between truth and fiction .

— Published January 30, 2012 — https://www.themarginalian.org/2012/01/30/writers-top-ten-favorite-books/ —





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Authors throughout history have helped capture something about their lives, their era, and the society around them. From Homer in the 8th century BC all the way until now, there is something in the works of these authors that can capture our imagination and help us expand our knowledge. Here are some of the greatest authors in history and a little something about the works that they created.

Famous Authors of Antiquity

Famous Authors of the 1500s to 1700s

Famous Authors of the 1800s

Famous Authors of the 1900s

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book writer famous

The Best Writers of All Time

Ranker Books

The pen is truly mightier than the sword, and if you’re a book enthusiast you know that to be true. Some of history’s most influential people were authors, writing the most important literature and political works of all time. Writers have shaped human history, capturing some of the most important historical events and reflecting the culture of a changing world around us in a profound way. Who are the best writers of all time? Vote up the authors you think are the best and see how they rank! 

The famous writers on this list are the best in history, writing books, plays, essays, and poetry that has stood the test of time and make up the world's canon of literature and written work. No matter what type of writing you like to read, you can't go wrong with a book by one of these best writers of all time. Simply put, they're easily some of the most famous authors of all time.

This list of authors features the best writers ever, including, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Geoffrey Chaucer, Homer, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Herman Melleville, William Faulkner, and Edgar Allan Poe. Vote up the best authors of all time below or add the writer you think is the best who isn't already on the list.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy


Charles Dickens

J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien

book writer famous


20 Popular Book Authors and Their Favorite Books

Iyke Legend

The key to good writing, they say is to always keep reading other people’s works. However, that doesn’t stop even after you must have published a book because the more you read, the more your writing skills get better. There are many popular book authors who have led interesting lifestyles, giving room for adventure and exploring new things and their books have become fans favorite. These authors, particularly novelists, are inspired in so many ways on the subject that interests them. Hence, what better books to read than the ones that have inspired our favorite authors? That being said, here is a list of 20 popular book authors and their favorite books.

Popular Book Authors and Their Favorite Books

1. stephen king.

Popular authors and their favorite books

During the Goodreads 10th anniversary, The King of Horror, Stephen King unveiled some of his favorite books. Quite an interesting list, the beloved horror and supernatural fiction writer’s picks include “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding; “Ship of Fools” by Katherine Anne Porter; “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson; “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison; “1984” by George Orwell; “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R Tolkien, and “American Pastoral” (The American Trilogy) by Phillip Roth.

2. J.K. Rowling

book writer famous

Although the Harry Potter series has become favorite books to millions of readers out there, J.K. Rowling also has some books she’d like to read. The British author draws her inspiration from books by other authors like Jane Austen and many others. She has also unveiled some of her favorite books which most of her fans would be happy to read. They include “Emma” by Jane Austen; Roddy Doyle’s “The Woman Who Walked Into Doors”; Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”; Auberon Waugh’s “The Diaries of Auberon Waugh”, and Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty”, among others.

book writer famous

The American author of Chinese descent, Amy Tan has made giant strides exploring intergenerational familial relationships and the Chinese-American experience, which can be seen in most of her works today. She has authored several books including The Joy Luck Club which sold over 6 million copies in the US and also topped the bestseller lists. Amazingly, the acclaimed author has listed some of her favorite books and they contain quite an interesting read. They include “Love Medicine” by Louise Erdrich; Bernd Heinrich’s “Mind of the Raven”; Mary Karr’s “The Liars’ Club”; Rabih Alameddine’s “An Unnecessary Woman”; “The Woman Warrior” by MaxineHong Kingston, and Mary Oliver’s “Devotions”.

4. Khaled Hosseini

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Khaled Hosseini (@khosseini)

The Afghan-American novelist and physician, Khaled Hosseini is known for his three bestseller novels including The Kite Runner (2003), A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), as well as And the Mountains Echoed (2013). The author has listed quite a good number of authors and books that inspires him and if you are a fan, we know you’d find them interesting too. They include Ian McEwan’s Nutshell; Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli; Family Life by Akhil Sharma; Rachel Cusk’s Outline and Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers, among others.

5. Tana French

book writer famous

The American-Irish writer known for her crime fiction novel In The Woods (2007), identified her favorite book of all-time as Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. She also shared some of her other favorite books including Richard Adams’ Watership Down; National Velvet by Enid Bagnold; Thomas Keneally’s Playmaker; Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, and Mary Renault’s The King Must Die. Tana French has also released other thrillers such as The Likeness (2008), The Secret Place (2014), and The Trespasser (2016).

6. George R.R Martin

book writer famous

While there are lots of fans out there who could be wondering what books their favorite author George R.R. Martin is currently reading, it comes as no surprise that the writer also has a few interesting reads of his own. However, the Game of Thrones author revealed some of his favorite books to include J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny; Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination; The Fireman by Joe Hill; Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and Have a Space Suit-Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, among others.

7. Danzy Senna

book writer famous

Yet another renowned American writer, Danzy Senna has won several awards since the inception of her writing career. She has won a good number of awards including a Whiting Award, among many others. With over five books under her belt and several essays, Senna has drawn influences from so many books. Some of which include Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled; Nella Larsen’s Quicksand; The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith; Bell Hooks’ Black Looks: Race and Representation, and The Easter Parade by Richards Yates.

8. Atul Gawande

book writer famous

Known for being an American surgeon and public health researcher, Atul Gawande is also an acclaimed author. He has authored several bestselling books on medicine and public health, including The Checklist Manifesto, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, and Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science. When asked about his favorite books, Atul listed Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”; Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”; “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino; Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking”, and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” and “Confession”, etc.

9. Brit Bennett

So it’s been a wild month 😅 https://t.co/H6Ab5u29NW — Brit Bennett (@britrbennett) June 29, 2020

Although she might be a newbie in the literary world; nevertheless, Brit Bennett has become a reckoning force with her debut novel The Mothers released in 2016. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, the book was picked up by Warner Bros for a film adaption with Kerry Washington tapped to be the producer. Interestingly, Bennett has listed some of her favorite books which you’d also find very thrilling. They include Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon; The Color Purple by Alice Walker; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain, and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, among others.

10. Brian K. Vaughan

book writer famous

This American writer has made giant strides in the literary world, thanks to his expertise in writing Superhero, Space Opera/Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. Known for his works such as Ex Machina, Paper Girls, Saga, Pride of Baghdad, Runaways, and Y: The Last Man, etc, Brian is no doubt among the most popular book authors out there. While he is known for writing comic books, it might interest you to know some of his favorite books and writers. They include Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Catch – 22 by Joseph Heller; The Fermata by Nicholson Baker; Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; Eric Bogosian’s Perforated Heart, Misery by Stephen King, and many others.

11. Gillian Flynn

Popular Book Authors

Gillian Flynn is not one to be forgotten in a hurry, the American author has become a force to reckon with in the literary world, thanks to her outstanding penning skills. Known for her works including Sharp Objects, Gone Girl, and Dark Places, Flynn’s works has become incredibly successful and has been adapted into successful movies. When asked about her favorite books, the author listed several books including Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls; And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, among others.

12. Ken Follett

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ken Follett (@kenfollettauthor)

The Welsh author Ken Follett is no doubt one of the most popular and bestselling authors of all time. He has written several Historical and Spy thrillers including Edge of Eternity, A Dangerous Fortune, Fall of Giants, World Without End, Winter of the World, Lie Down with Lions, and The Key Rebecca. When it comes to Follett’s favorite books, you’d expect nothing less than interesting reads such as George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss; The Lady in Car with Glasses and a Gun by Sebastien Japrisot; Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming; Jean Gimpel’s The Cathedral Builders, Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, etc.

13. George Saunders

book writer famous

Best known for his novellas and children’s books, George Saunders isn’t just among the most popular writers but one of the greatest book authors of our time. The American author has released several commercially successful books and has raked in several awards. However, during an interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Saunders disclosed some of his favorite books to the TV star. They include Tobias Wolff’s In the Garden of the North American Martyrs; Dispatches by Michael Herr; The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek and Isaac Babel’s The Red Calvary, among others.

14. Colleen Hoover

View this post on Instagram (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); A post shared by Colleen Hoover (@colleenhoover)

Colleen Hoover is one of the New York Times bestselling authors and one of the most popular book authors both in American and beyond. With more than 14 books published, the prolific writer has released eleven New York Times bestsellers which made her fans favorite. The New Adult and Young Adult fiction writer also has a lot of interesting reads as her favorites and they include Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein; Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event; The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende; Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility; The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shadow by Andy Cohen and Ever Day by Levithan, among others.

15. Erik Larson

book writer famous

An American journalist and author, Erik Larson is highly acclaimed for his nonfiction and classic narrative like The Devil in the White City (2002) and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (2015). During an interview in 2015, the writer said that his all-time favorite book is The Maltese Falcon. According to him, he likes all parts of the book including the plot, the characters, and the dialogue which inspired John Houston’s film of the same name. Some of his other picks include The Shipping News by Annie Proulx; The Final Silence by Stuart Neville, and Jo Nesbo’s Police, etc.

16. Sarah J. Maas

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sarah J. Maas (@therealsjmaas)

With her debut novel Throne of Glass launched in 2012, Sarah J. Maas has gone on to release over 30 novels some of which rank high on the best sellers list. They include House of Earth and Blood (2017), The Court of Thorns and Roses series, and The Assassin’s Blade series, among others. During the Goodreads 10th anniversary, Sarah revealed her favorite books to include Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, Sabriel by Garth Nix, The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen, and many others.

17. Joyce Carol Oates

book writer famous

While in an interview in 2013, the published author Joyce Carol Oats revealed writer Dostoevsky to be among her most favorite authors. And when asked about her favorite book of all time, she listed Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. That’s not all; the American writer also has a reading list which includes Anthony Marra’s books A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Tsar of Love and Techno; The Good Lieutenant by Atticus Lish and Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson.

See Also:  25 Best True Crime Books of All Time According To AbeBooks

18. Karan Mahajan

book writer famous

The Indian-American author, known for his book, The Association of Small Bombs which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, was also named as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists in 2017. Since then, he has become one of the most popular book authors in the United States. More so, he has cited books from other authors including The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, Half a Life by V.S. Naipaul, Cynthia Ozick’s The Puttermesser Papers, J.G. Ballard’s Crash, Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence, and Saul Bellow’s Herzog, as his favorite books.

19. Lily King

Time is running out to join us for #happyhour with award-winning author, Lily King, on Saturday, February 20 @5pm PST. Make sure you reserve your space soon. https://t.co/GDZ2O9U1Ck pic.twitter.com/mJt577hsp6 — Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy (@NMProLiteracy) February 8, 2021

The author of Euphoria (2014) and Father of the Rain (2010), Lily King is among the most prolific and most popular book authors in America. Since releasing her first novel, The Pleasing Hour in 1999, the writer has gone on to pen other notable books and has also received several awards. The writer shares some of her most beloved books and they include Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse; The Evening of the Holiday by Shirley Hazzard; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Alice Munro’s Friend of My Youth, among others.

20. Maya Angelou

Popular book authors

Our list of popular book authors and their favorite books wouldn’t be complete without mentioning beloved Maya Angelou. Although the renowned American poet, novelist and civil rights activist is no more, Maya had a number of favorite books that inspired her. They include the Bible, Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel; Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities; Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Maya’s death occurred on the 28th day of May 2014 and she was said to be working on another book at the time of her passing.

Recap of Popular Book Authors

Iyke Legend


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Top 15 Best Living Famous Authors Today and Their Books


If you love writing and landed on this article, this will be one of the best decisions, because we will tell you about fifteen famous authors today who are alive. What’s in it for you? Well, we will discuss fifteen famous writers today and the books they’ve written. We will put some light on their lives and their approach to writing. All of this would help you get inspired and motivated to write better. You will study fiction and nonfiction writers, so this article will help you with whatever genre you write about.

Page Contents

You must have this quality in you

However, know that a good writer has a unique identity and something special about his writing. This sets them apart from others and makes their books loved by others. So, you must also have this quality in you if you want to prosper. Reading about popular authors today will act as a catalyst to improve your writing. So, before you move forward reading about popular authors, know that you will need a unique style in your writing. Moreover, if you have already written and published a book, but it is not getting enough sales, you can contact any good book marketing service . They will promote your book to its right audience so that you get maximum sales of your book/eBook.

List of Fifteen Best Living Authors and Their Famous Books in 2023

Below we will tell you about fifteen famous alive authors in 2023, and their best-selling books so that you can take all that information as fuel to boost your writing in every aspect.

1. Stephen King

book writer famous

One of the most popular names that almost everybody knows who reads books. Stephen King is an American fiction writer. His books mostly belong to genres like horror, supernatural, and crime. Stephen King is now in his 70s and has spent his life writing best-selling books that are popular all over the world. People love reading his books. He is one of the top best-selling authors of all time . Not only has he written successful novels but also more than one hundred short stories .

Awards Won by Stephen King

Stephen King has received several awards for his contributions to the writing industry and his books. He presented a unique writing approach and was rewarded in 2004 for his contribution to the literature world. He received the world fantasy life achievement award, which is a huge success for any writer. He also received several huge awards for his contributions to the literature world.

Early Life of Stephen King

Stephen King lost his friend in a train accident when he was a kid. He doesn’t clearly remember that event as a child, although it made him speechless for a long time. Some people say that event made him write intense novels. He also had some more events like this that can be traumatizing for any person.

Stephen King was an avid reader of horror comics in his childhood. He also won an award in his teenage years. He started writing in his childhood. He used to write articles and also sell stories to his friends. So, Stephen King started writing early on and had a keen interest in this field. He graduated in the English language from the University of Maine in 1970 .

There is a significant number of best-selling books Stephen King has written. Below we will discuss two of his most famous works.

Famous Books of Stephen King

Have you seen the movie It? It’s one of the scariest movies ever made. Children especially have watched this film series a lot since it is based on kids who fight with a cannibal joker. It was basically a novel written by Stephen King in 1986 . It is one of his most famous works of all time. If you have seen the movie It, you can imagine how good of a horror genre author Stephen King could be. His novel was so successful that a movie was made on his novel. The movie was released in 1990 .

The Stand is Stephen King’s other all-time famous horror novel based on dark fantasy. It was published in 1978 . You can realize the importance of Stephen King’s novels by the fact that this novel also has a movie made on it.

What is Stephen King Interested in?

Stephen King was interested in music as well. He has collaborated with Michael Jackson and helped him in making his music video. He believed that one has to dedicate 4-6 hours per day to reading and writing. Moreover, he believed that it’s impossible to become a good writer if one couldn’t take time for that.

2. J.K. Rowling

book writer famous

Why doesn’t J.K. Rowling ? Someone who hasn’t heard about Harry Potter would not know who J.K. Rowling is. She’s one of the most famous British novelists who is famous worldwide. She originally wrote the Harry Potter movie series you watch today. Joanne Rowling is her real name. However, she’s famous in the writing industry as J.K. Rowling . Rowling has been loved all over the world since her novel Harry Potter was translated into 70 plus languages and sold more than 500 million book copies.

Awards Won by J.K. Rowling

Let alone her total number of awards, J.K. Rowling receives numerous awards and accolades for Harry Potter only. Her book Prisoner of Azkaban won the Book of the year award in 2000 against someone who had won a Nobel prize. It was quite an achievement for J.K. Rowling . Other than that, J.K. Rowling won several awards for her literary work that also including her children’s literature work. She won the British awards and also from Spain, France, and other countries. She also won the Most Influential Woman in the UK award.

Early Life of J.K. Rowling

When she was little, she used to live near a family named Potters . It was her favourite name since her childhood . Due to her parent’s love for books, her home was filled with books. She grew up in an environment where she saw books around her. J.K. Rowling has a sister. Their parents used to read different books to their daughters. When Rowling was six years old, she wrote her first book. It was actually a horror story named ‘ Rabbit .’ She wrote another short story named ‘The Seven Cursed Diamonds’ when she was 11 years old . 

Rowling became an avid reader in her childhood. Because her mom was diagnosed with a disease, she had to give up on her job. Due to her mother’s illness , her teenage years went into suffering.

Not only was she an avid reader, but also a bright student. She was very good at her academic studies. J.K. Rowling was also interested in learning other languages than English. She went to Paris and earned a bachelor of arts degree in French in 1987 .

Famous Books of J.K. Rowling

She had written numerous books on the Harry Potter series including her first novel. Harry Potter was her most prominent work that is loved worldwide. Her other novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013) , was also a bestseller. It was a crime thriller. The fun fact about her Harry Potter novel is that it was rejected several times before it was published. Rowling didn’t give up and kept improving her work. Eventually, she became the author of one best-selling novel of all time .

What is J.K. Rowling Interested in?

Like Stephen King , Rowling was also interested in music and loved playing heavy electric guitar. However, she didn’t monetize this interest of hers. She also took an active part in politics and donated money for the welfare of her country’s people, especially to the labour party.

3. John Green

book writer famous

If a movie is based on a novel, it’s a good novel. John Green is a young American author, now in his 40s , and has written the novel The Fault in Our Stars . Another bestseller novel. A movie is based on his novel too. Like his novel, the movie was also a hit and a huge box office success. Besides this, his novel Paper Town also got a movie on it .

Awards Won by John Green

John Green has won several awards for his novels and also for his notable other works. He received four awards for his three novels . One of his novels won two different awards, which was quite an achievement. He also received one award for the content he makes online. We’ll talk about it in the upcoming sections.

Early Life of John Green

Like the above two authors we discussed, John Green didn’t start writing when he was a child. He worked as a clerk in a hospital as his first job . In his teen life, when he was studying, he used to get bullied by his fellows. He stated that this made his life miserable at that point. The fun fact is that the above two authors we discussed also got bullied in their school, college, or university lives.

John Green did double graduation, one in English language and another in Religious studies, from Kenyon College in 2000 . He thought about becoming a priest, but as he worked in a hospital and saw children suffering and fighting diseases, he chose to become an author. Eventually, he wrote the novel The Fault in Our Stars , which is based on the same topic—two people afflicted with Cancer.

Famous Books of John Green

The fault in our stars which was published in the year 2012 , was the most successful work of John Green . Another novel he published, Looking for Alaska in 2005 , was also a bestseller. It was his first novel , and he won an award for it. It’s a great accomplishment for a writer to win an award for his debut book . His other novels were also successful and got awards, and one of them was only nominated for the awards.

What is John Green Interested in?

If you get to know about the activities John Green has been involved in, you might think about how he got time to write best-selling novels. But he’s an all-rounder who managed all the things at once and even made them successful. However, once, he had to take a break from social media because he wanted to work on his book. Below is the list of things John Green works on

4. Elif Shafak

book writer famous

Elif Shafak is a Turkish novelist famous for his book Forty Rules of Love . She writes both in Turkish and English. She writes both fiction and nonfiction. Like J.K. Rowling , Elif Shafak’s books have been translated into fifty-plus languages . Because she’s a Turkish writer, her literary work suits both the western and eastern worlds, she’s also an activist and does other things along with writing books. However, her novels are also based on issues that happen in societies. She uses her creativity to address those problems in her novels to bring change. And she also works directly to solve those issues.

Awards Won by Elif Shafak

Since Elif Shafak is not only a writer but is also involved in politics, she has won numerous awards for her social and political work. However, she is recognized for her literary work worldwide. Last year, Elif Shafak was included in the BBC’s list of 100 most inspiring and influential women. She also won more non-literary awards for raising her voice against different societal issues .

For her books, she has won both national and international awards. She won the Rumi award for her first novel in 1998 . Rumi is a Turkish literary award. Two years later , she won another ‘Best Novel’ award for her novel Mahrem (The Gaze) .

Early Life of Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is a Turkish novelist who was born in France . She was raised in Turkey . While she was growing up, she had no male members in her family. Her mother and grandmother took care of her. She later met her half-brothers in her mid-twenties.

Elif Shafak has a Ph.D. in political science and taught at several universities in Turkey.

Famous Books of Elif Shafak

Her two books are quite famous compared to the rest of her literary work. Those two books are Forty Rules of Love and Bastard of Istanbul . However, almost every book had been nominated for awards, and she won awards for some of them. If we count her total number of books , she has written 19 books , including fiction and nonfiction.

What is Elif Shafak Walker Interested in?

It seems like Elif Shafak always had a purpose behind writing a book, including her novels. She chooses storytelling to describe important issues. She had gotten into trouble for that as well as she once spent three years in jail . Besides her literary work, she also actively participates in politics and social activities. She had signed petitions several times for things she thought were not right as she’s taught in Universities and writes essays on several topics.

5. Alice Walker

book writer famous

She’s an African-American novelist, poet, and social activist. She’s currently in her late 70’s . Due to an accident in her childhood, she became blind in one eye . Her family didn’t have enough resources and convenience at that time. Therefore, after some time, she was able to get her eye surgery . However, the scar was still there even after her eye operation.

Awards Won by Alice Walker

Because of her active participation in social activities, she received the Humanist of the year award from the American Humanist Association in 1997 . She received more than one award for her famous novel T he Color Purple . She has also won several honorary awards for her social works.

Early Life of Alice Walker

Alice Walker’s life can pretty much resemble Elif Shafak’s life. Her brought-up was middle class . However, she has always been a bright student. Because of it, she received many scholarships and got the opportunity to study in the USA . Although, prior to that, she had experienced racism when she was not allowed to study with white students in the school. She studied separately, sitting with black students . Later on, she addressed this racism issue in her many literary works. Alice Walker studied at Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 1965 .

Famous Books of Alice Walker

She has written several novels, short stories, nonfiction books, and poetry too. She started her writing career by writing poems. She used to give those writings to her seniors by passing them beneath their office doors. This was her unique trait and helped her poetry collection get published four years later after that. The book was titled Once . While doing her job, she published her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland . Six years later, she published another novel, Meridian . She crafted her life experiences in that novel. Again, six years later, he published her third novel, The Color Purple . She talked about racism and sexism in it. It became her most prominent work and bestselling book. It was good enough that a film was made based on that novel .

What is Alice Walker Interested in?

Alice Walker was a social activist by nature. Most of her literary work discusses issues such as racism, sexism, etc. She has been the victim of all these things and thus channeled her voice through writing and working directly as an activist.

6. Khaled Hosseini

book writer famous

Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-American novelist who is in his late fifties now. He’s also a UN (United Nations) member, where he acts as a UNHCR goodwill ambassador . Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan but has spent a part of his early life in Iran and France. After that, he went to the USA and returned to Afghanistan in 2003 .

Awards Won by Khaled Hosseini

A year later, after his first book was published, he received an award. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns , also received three awards. His third novel received one award too. All of his novels were successful, and he won awards for them.

Early Life of Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini’s childhood was, however, safe from physical threats, but since he left Afghanistan with his daily life before the wars that happened in the late 70s in Afghanistan, he has lost friends and relatives. He once said that his family never actually knew what happened to their relatives as some of them were killed or imprisoned, and some just disappeared. Khaled’s parents were educated as his father was in the Ministry, and his mother was a teacher. He continued his studies in the USA and graduated in Biology in 1988 . After that, he worked as a physician but later on left his job; he was able to make money through his famous novel The Kite Runner . Therefore, he decided to make writing his full-time work. However, before then, he earned a doctorate in medicine and worked for 10+ years in medicine.

Famous Books of Khaled Hosseini

Khaled published his first novel, The Kite Runner , in 2003 . It became his most prominent work because the book was a bestseller. A movie is also based on this novel. It has the same title, The Kite Runner . He also wrote two more novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed .

In his novel-based movie, he also appears in one scene. Khaled Hosseini runs the Khaled Hosseini Foundation . He also works as a Goodwill Envoy for the UNHCR and helps Afghanistan refugees.

7. Brian Evenson

book writer famous

He belongs to the same era as Khaled Hosseini ; he’s also in his mid-fifties . Brain Evenson is an American fiction writer. His fiction work is a little different from other authors as he puts an element of philosophy in them.

Awards Won by Brian Evenson

He has written very good horror novels and got awarded by International Horror Guild for one of his novels. He also received a prize for another horror novel. Brian has received awards for the rest of his literary work and songs too. If you look at his awards, they are enough to tell that he’s a successful fiction author.

Early Life of Brian Evenson

In the early years of his life, Brian worked for two few years in Churches in France and Switzerland. He also faced some trouble there due to the culture he experienced there.

Famous Books of Brian Evenson

The open curtain is one of Brian Evenson’s famous books. He received two awards for this novel.

What is Brian Evenson Interested in?

Brian Evenson is an author but has also taught creative writing in different academic institutes in the USA. He also has translated some French books into English . He graduated from the University of Washington . Brian also holds a Ph.D. degree in literature and critical theory. He has also taught in several academic institutes such as OSU, DU, and Brown University. He visited Japan thirty years after he left.

8. Kazuo Ishiguro

book writer famous

Kazuo is a Japanese-born English novelist, screenwriter and also musician. He didn’t spend much time in Japan as he moved to Britain when he was five years old. Due to that, he never wrote anything in Japanese, and all his literary work was in English. His preferred genre is science , history , and drama . He incorporates the elements of these genres in his fiction writing.

Awards Won by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel prize in literature in 2017 . His novel Klara and the Sun was longlisted for the Booker Prize. He talked about real-world issues in this novel, such as the drawbacks of technology advancement, the life of a human being, and the world’s future.

Early Life of Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy. He also holds a Master’s Degree in creative writing.

Famous Books of Kazuo Ishiguro

One of the most prominent works of Kazuo Ishiguro was his novel The Remains of the Day . A film was also made on this novel. His other novel, Never let me Go , was also a bestseller.

What is Kazuo Ishiguro Interested in?

Kazuo Ishiguro has been interested in music since his childhood. He was obsessed with music and wanted to learn to play musical instruments . He learned how to play the guitar and how to write lyrics as he wanted to become a songwriter. However, later on, he decided to leave this career as he did not fit into it well enough.

9. Marilynne Robinson

book writer famous

Marilynne Robinson is a senior American novelist and essayist. She’s in her late seventies . She has been successful throughout her writing career and in other things as well that she did.

Awards Won by Marilynne Robinson

She has won several awards. She won the Hemingway Foundation award for her first novel Housekeeping . If you look at her accomplishments, you’ll see that she has won awards almost every year since she began. Nearly all the awards she has won are for her literary work. However, she has also been included in the Times Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list .

Early Life of Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne received her BA degree in 1966 from Brown University . Later she did PH.D. from the University of Washington in 1977 . She did PHDin the English language.

Famous Books of Marilynne Robinson

The novel Housekeeping is her most popular and best-selling book. Twenty-four years later, she wrote the novel Housekeeping . She continued it by writing another novel Gilead . It’s a sequel to her first novel Housekeeping . Both of these novels became very popular.

What is Marilynne Robinson Interested in?

She was an active participant in political issues. She got the opportunity to talk with US President Barack Obama on some country issues. Barack Obama also mentioned her in his speeches.

10. Jerry Jenkins

book writer famous

Jerry Bruce Jenkins , also known as Jerry Jenkins , is an American novelist. However, he has also written self-help books, biographies, and fiction books. If we talk about quantity, Jerry Jenkins has written books more than any other author. He has written over 200 books that include both fiction and nonfiction.

Awards Won by Jerry Jenkins

His novel series Left Behind is one of the most extended series of books ever written. However, he hasn’t won any official award for his work. Still, he has been included in many prominent magazines in the USA , such as Reader’s Digest , Time’s Magazine , and more.

Early Life of Jerry Jenkins

Jerry Jenkins’s novels would reflect his interest in talking about religion. He has studied at MBI , which is a private Bible college.

Famous Books of Jerry Jenkins

Left Behind is Jerry Jenkins’s best literary work. It’s a long novel series. There are several movies made based on this novel series. His other novel, Riven, is also a bestseller.

What is Jerry Jenkins Interested in?

Jerry Jenkins has a blog and actively teaches new writers how to write better fiction. He had played sports as well and also worried as a sports reporter.

11. Michael Chabon

book writer famous

Michael Chabon is an American novelist, screenwriter and columnist. He’s almost 60 and is popular for his onscreen work. His literary work is unique in its way since he uses a lot of metaphors in his writing. He has discussed many family issues in his writing.

Awards Won by Michael Chabon

He has a different perspective on awards and relatable things. After his first novel became a bestseller, he was offered to be included in the 50 Most Beautiful People list , but he rejected it. However, he owned the awards that were for his work. He has won the most honorary awards compared to the other authors we discussed.

Early Life of Michael Chabon

He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of California . When he was ten , he wrote a story for his class assignment and got an A . After that, he decided to become a writer. He graduated in 1984 from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts. After that, he did Masters in Creative Writing from the University of California.

Famous Books of Michael Chabon

His first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh , became a huge success. There’s an interesting story behind it. He was writing it for his Master’s thesis. He sent it to the publisher without informing his professors. The publishing house called him and paid him a significant amount for his novel. His novel got published and became a bestseller.

What is Michael Chabon Interested in?

Michael Chabon was somehow active in politics. He once supported Barack Obama during his election campaigns. Because of his interest in politics, he also worked as a columnist. He has also written short stories.

12. Rachel Kushner

book writer famous

Rachel Kushner is an American novelist. Both of her parents were communist scientists.

Awards Won by Rachel Kushner

She had been selected as a finalist for most of her novels. She has won a French Literary award. Besides that, she also won other awards and honours for her literary work.

Early Life of Rachel Kushner

While she was growing up, her mother used to teach her after she came home from school. They used to visit a bookstore, and ever since, she said she knew that she was going to be a writer. She went to study in Italy, and after she graduated in political economy, she moved back to the USA . She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from California University.

Famous Books of Rachel Kushner

She wrote her first novel after getting her Master’s degree in 2000 . She spent six years writing her first novel Telex from Cuba . She visited Cuba several times in her process of writing the book. Her hard work benefited her as her novel became a bestseller after it was published in 2008 . She had been selected as a finalist for many of her novels. She also won several awards and honours for her literary work.

What is Rachel Kushner Interested in?

Apart from writing novels, Rachel has also written about contemporary art , which was recognized and published by the international magazine Artforum . He also writes for different American magazines. Since he’s more prone to writing stories and not novels, he has won awards for his short stories.

13. George Saunders

book writer famous

He’s an American writer but not primarily known for his novels, although he has written them. He’s most famous for his short stories , novellas , children’s books and essays . He also writes for different American magazines. Since he’s more prone to writing stories and not novels, he has won awards for his short stories.

Awards Won by George Saunders

When he was teaching at Syracuse University , he won National Magazine Awards for many years. He wrote a short story, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline , which was animated in 1996 Hemingway Awards . He has won so many awards for his several short stories and other literary work.

Early Life of George Saunders

George Saunders holds a Bachelor of Science degree in geophysical engineering. He didn’t utilize his degree long enough to work in a place where he could practice what he studied. Instead, he chose writing as a career. However, he once talked about how this degree had a good effect on his writing. Later on, he did Masters in Creative Writing from Syracuse University.

Famous Books of George Saunders

His short story The 400-Pound CEO won the National Magazine Award in 1994 . Moreover, his short stories like Bounty , The Barber’s Unhappiness , The Red Bow , and The Falls also won National Magazine Awards . Besides that, he has also won several awards for his performance and literary work.

What is George Saunders Interested in?

Initially, he worked as a geophysical engineer. Then he worked in the same field as a technical writer. However, after that, he switched to creative writing. Some of his fiction writing is based on the stories of corporate culture, consumerism, and related things.

14. Jonathan Franzen

book writer famous

He’s an American novelist who is not only famous for his literary work but also for his opinions on some issues. We’ll talk about that in upcoming sections. Jonathan’s parents have their origin from different countries. His father was Swedish, while his mother was from Eastern Europe.

Awards Won by Jonathan Franzen

He received four awards for his novel Freedom and three awards for his novel The Corrections . He has also won awards for his other novels alongside receiving a significant number of honorary recognition for his contribution to literature.

Early Life of Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan went to Germany for his studies, and because of that, he speaks fluent German. He went there on a scholarship.

Famous Books of Jonathan Franzen

The Corrections and Freedom are the two most famous novels by Jonathan Franzen . Apart from that, he has also written novels such as How to Be Alone and many others.

What is Jonathan Franzen Interested in?

Jonathan loves watching birds flying in the sky. He stated that and talked about his love for birds on the CBS Morning Show in 2018 . He has also worked for the American Bird Conservancy .

15. Mark Manson

book writer famous

The famous author of the modern age who is famous among young people is Mark Manson . He’s the youngest author on our list and is famous for his self-help books. Mark Manson is an American author and blogger and is popular for his unique opinions about the human’s approach to life.

Awards Won by Mark Manson

Mark Manson hasn’t won any awards, but his current books have been bestsellers.

Early Life Mark Manson

The rise of his writing career began after he graduated from Boston University and wrote his first web article about dating advice.

Famous Books of Mark Manson

Mark Manson is famous for his bestselling book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F . His other bestseller is Everything Is Fucked: A Book About Hope . Both of these books have been New York Times bestsellers and have sold millions of copies.

What is Mark Manson Interested in?

Mark Manson has a blog where he talks about dating advice for men. He started blogging years before he began writing books.

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book writer famous


The Top Ten Famous Authors


Authors writer top Ten Authors famous

There are some authors with whom every writer should become acquainted. Many have long-ago shed "this mortal coil" (so sayeth number one, below), while others are still living and producing interesting works that keep bookstores afloat.

Obviously, your tastes will differ from others'; however, in the interest of giving you a starting point, we've arranged a top ten famous author listing. If you're not familiar (or only a tad familiar) with any of the writers below, it's time to head to your nearest library.

Ah, The Bard. This "Renaissance Man" was truly prolific (though if you believe some skeptics, he never existed at all, was the pseudonym for someone else or was perhaps the moniker under which a group of authors published.)

Chances are strong that you've read or seen at least one of his plays, but if it's been a while since you perused a copy of "The Tragedy of Hamlet" or "Macbeth", it's time to reacquaint yourself with this master of language and storytelling.

True, Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair) isn't everyone's taste, especially those who do not share his views on totalitarianism.

But "Animal Farm" and "1984" are exemplary novels that truly get the reader to think more about politics, society and culture.

Like her or not, Ms. Rowling has a style of writing that has launched her into the annals of literary history. Her Harry Potter books have won awards not only for their imagination but also for their strong prose.

Will she secure a spot in a list of famed authors 100 years from now? Only time will tell - but if you haven't yet journeyed into the world she created, it's time.

Kurt Vonnegut, who passed away not long ago, penned both short stories and novels, inviting readers into his sci-fi realms with modern-day undertones.

"Slaughterhouse-Five" is one of his most internationally known books, though Vonnegut has many other works to offer the reader.

Virginia wolf had a unique passion for the written word and enjoyed literary success and accolades for her many works, including "To the Lighthouse", "Mrs. Dalloway" and "A Room of One's Own."

Some have heralded Woolf as a "feminist" before the invention of the word; certainly, her popularity among women and academicians seemed to grow in direct correlation to the feminist movement of the late 1960s.

Like so many of his contemporaries (including the aforementioned Woolf), Hemingway dealt daily with depression. Yet his writings did not suffer as did his body and mind.

Though he's been called somewhat of an acquired taste, if you're just beginning your Hemingway adventure, start with "The Sun Also Rises" or "A Farewell to Arms. You may also be interested in his shorter pieces.

Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" and "As I Lay Dying" are two of the most read of his pieces. But please don't stop there.

Your understanding of this Mississippi, United States born writer can only increase the more you get to know about him as well as his southern-influenced literary style.

Ayn Rand is proof that one person can make an enormous splash through the power of his or her written words. A Russian-born writer who immigrated to America, Rand held back nothing and her writing clearly shows her passion.

Truly, "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" are mainstays of any book collection. The time you devote to reading them will pale in comparison to the education you receive as a result.

Did you read "Ulysses" in school or while at university?

Plenty of students did, but most would do well to revisit Joyce's most renowned work. Time will not have changed the words, but it makes all the difference in the interpretation.

"The Catcher in the Rye" is one of those novels that's unforgettable. For its time, it was a bit racy; however, chances are good that unless you've been living under a rock, you'll find it tamer than those who read it in first-runs.

Salinger manages to capture the essence of an era and weave it into a story that has stood the test of time.

book writer famous

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10 Most Famous Authors of all Time

William Shakespear

William Shakespeare - Wikipedia

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When writing about famous writers, the old saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” can’t help but pop to mind. These authors have had a profound impact on society than any war or battle in life. Words that were written centuries ago in a given city are today being read by different people from all over the world. These books have shaped and defined the lives of so many people.

The interesting thing about books is that each of us has a unique view on what the book is talking about, we might all read a similar book, but our interpretation of the book will vary depending on our experience and other personal factors. With this in mind, here are the 10 most famous authors of all time; 

1. William Shakespeare

book writer famous

The Merchant of Venice poster – Flickr

William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. Shakespeare’s work has made a lasting impression in particular; he expanded the dramatic potential of characterization, plot, language, and genre.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The date of his birth is unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George’s Day. His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays,154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship.

His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. We highly recommend you to read all of his books, but as a personal favorite, we highly recommend The Merchant of Venice.

2. Charles Dickens

book writer famous

Charles Dickens – Wikipedia

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic who created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. Dickens’s approach to the novel is influenced by various things, including the picaresque novel tradition, melodrama and the novel of sensibility.

He was born in Portsmouth, England on 7 th February 1812 and began his literary career as a journalist. Dickens edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, for education, and for other social reforms.

Dickson’s must-read novels include Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol.

3. Agatha Christie

book writer famous

Agatha Christine – Flickr

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Agatha was born on 15 September 1890, into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. She is credited with writting the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap. In 1971, she was made a Dame (DBE) for her contributions to literature. Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling fiction writer of all time, her novels having sold more than two billion copies.

And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel, with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time.

4. Fyodor Dostoevsky

book writer famous

Fyodor Dostoevsky,1876- Wikimedia Commons

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. His literary works explore the human condition in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, and engage with a variety of philosophical and religious themes.

He was born in Moscow in 1821. His 864 novella Notes from Underground is considered to be one of the first works of existentialist literature. Dostoevsky’s body of works consists of 12 novels, four novellas, 16 short stories, and numerous other works.

His books have been translated into more than 170 languages, and served as the basis for many films. A must-read is his novel Crime and Punishment that describes the fictional Rodion Raskolnikov’s life, from the murder of a pawnbroker and her sister, through spiritual regeneration with the help and love of Sonya

5. William Faulkner

book writer famous

William Faulkner – Wikipedia

William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi. He was known for his experimental style, with meticulous attention to diction and cadence. Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers of American literature, and is widely considered one of the best writers of Southern literature.

He was born in New Albany, Mississippi on September 25, 1897. In 1949, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”. William Faulkner wrote numerous novels, screenplays, poems, and short stories. Today he is best remembered for his novels The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936).

6. Toni Morris

book writer famous

Toni Morrison – Wikimedia

Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison, popularly known as Toni Morrison, was an American novelist whose works are praised for addressing the harsh consequences of racism in the United States. She was born February 18, 1931, Lorain, Ohio, U.S.

The critically acclaimed Song of Solomon (1977) brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1988, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her novels, characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.

We highly recommend reading one of her books because her use of fantasy, her sinuous poetic style, and her rich interweaving of the mythic gave her stories great strength and texture.

7. Leo Tolstoy

book writer famous

Leo Tolstoy – Wikipedia

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. His fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Family Happiness (1859), “After the Ball” (1911), and Hadji Murad (1912). He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

He received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909. That he never won is a major controversy.

Today Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace (1865–69) and Anna Karenina (1875–77), which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics.

8. James Joyce

book writer famous

James Joyce – Wikipedia

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet and literary critic who contributed to the modernist avant-garde movement and is regarded as one of the most influential and important writers of the 20th century.

Joyce’s novel Ulysses (1922) is a landmark in which the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness.

9. Chinua Achebe

book writer famous

Chinua Achebe – Flickr

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic who is regarded as the dominant figure of modern African literature. He is often referred to as the “father of African literature”, although he vigorously rejected the characterization.

Achebe’s books sought to escape the colonial perspective that framed African literature at the time, and drew from the traditions of the Igbo people, Christian influences, and the clash of Western and African values to create a uniquely African voice.

We highly recommend reading Things Fall Apart, which depicts pre-colonial life in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the invasion by Europeans during the late 19th century.

10. Adeline Virginia Woolf

book writer famous

Virginia Woolf – Flickr

 Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.

She became one of the central subjects of the 1970s movement of feminist criticism because Woolf argued that women’s experience, particularly in the women’s movement, could be the basis for transformative social change.

Her best-known works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928).

Discover Walks contributors speak from all corners of the world - from Prague to Bangkok, Barcelona to Nairobi. We may all come from different walks of life but we have one common passion - learning through travel.

Whether you want to learn the history of a city, or you simply need a recommendation for your next meal, Discover Walks Team offers an ever-growing travel encyclopaedia.

For local insights and insider’s travel tips that you won’t find anywhere else, search any keywords in the top right-hand toolbar on this page. Happy travels!

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book writer famous

The Writing Cooperative

Jared A. Brock

Jan 8, 2018


100+ Famous Authors and Their Writing Spaces

Inspiration for your most important work.

Hi everybody! Just a quick note that I’ve just published a new post containing more than fifty additional writers… enjoy!

150+ Famous Authors In Their Writing Spaces

Inspirational quotes and photos hemingway to dickens to orwell to shakespeare..


I often wish I had a special space in which to write my books. Sadly, the writing life doesn’t always come equipped with an idyllic woodland cabin in which to pen profound prose. For all the authors profiled below, they figured out how to be effective no matter the setting. They did the work .

Needless to say, this photo essay took a very long time to put together, but I hope it’s worth it. Now, for the first time, you can enjoy 100+ authors and their writing spaces, arranged alphabetically in one place. I hope you like the author photos and are inspired by all their incredible writing (and life) advice.

Recommended: Cosy up with a tea or coffee and a journal!

Agatha Christie

“ You start into it, inflamed by an idea, full of hope, full indeed of confidence. If you are properly modest, you will never write at all, so there has to be one delicious moment when you have thought of something, know just how you are going to write it, rush for a pencil, and start in exercise book buoyed up with exaltation. You then get into difficulties, don’t see your way out, and finally manage to accomplish more or less what you first meant to accomplish, though losing confidence all the time. Having finished it, you know it is absolutely rotten. A couple of months later you wonder if it may not be all right after all .”

Albert Camus

“ In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ”

Albert Einstein

“ Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better .”

Alfred Hitchcock

“ Drama is life with the dull bits cut out .”

Allen Ginsberg

“ The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does .”

André Gide

“ Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore .”

Andrew Carnegie

“ People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents .”

“ How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world .”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“ Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after .”

Feeling inspired ? Enter my free giveaway for a chance to win 5 of the best books on writing.

Anne Sexton

“ Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard .”

Anthony Burgess

“ Readers are plentiful: thinkers are rare .”

Arthur C. Clarke

“ If the artist did not know his goal, even the most miraculous of tools could not find it for him .”

Arthur Conan Doyle

“ There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact .”

Arthur Miller

“ The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost .”

“ Get outside. Get out into the world, man! You wanna read poetry, look at the stars. Light a candle and write under the new moon. That’s when The Operator comes to whisper the Secret Words to you .”

“ Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves .”

Carl Sandburg

“ Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent .”

Charles Bukowski

“ What matters most is how well you walk through the fire .”

Charles Dickens

“ Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts .”

Want more writing tips? These 7 Pieces of Writing Advice Helped Create 494 New York Times Bestsellers

Charles M. Schulz

“ Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon .”

C. S. Lewis

“ You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream .”

Dalton Trumbo

“ When one many says, “No, I won’t,” Rome begins to fear .”

Damon Runyon

“ A person who asks questions can get a reputation such as a person who wishes to find things out .”

Daphne Du Maurier

“ Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard .”

Dylan Thomas

“ A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him .”

E. B. White

“ Advice to young writers who want to get ahead without any annoying delays: don’t write about Man, write about a man .”

Edith Wharton

“ There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it .”

Edward Albee

“ Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer turns fact into truth; a bad writer will, more often than not, accomplish the opposite .”

Edward Gorey

“ If a story is only what it seems to be about, then somehow the author has failed .”

Elmore Leonard

“ 1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely. 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.” 7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. 9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things. 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it .”

Emil Cioran

“ I dream of a language whose words, like fists, would fracture jaws .”

Émile Zola

“ The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work .”

“ Let’s put it this way: if you are a novelist, I think you start out with a 20 word idea, and you work at it and you wind up with a 200,000 word novel. We, picture-book people, or at least I, start out with 200,000 words and I reduce it to 20 .”

Ready to dive in ? Enter to win 5 great books on writing.

Ernest Hemingway

“ Never compete with living writers. You don’t know whether they’re good or not. Compete with the dead ones you know are good. Then when you can pass them up you know you’re going good. You should have read all the good stuff so that you know what has been done, because if you have a story like one somebody else has written, yours isn’t any good unless you can write a better one. In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better, but the tendency should always be upward instead of down. And don’t ever imitate anybody .”

“ Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree .”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

“ The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function .”

Frederick Douglass

“ It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake .”

G. K. Chesterton

“ Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed .”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“ Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood .”

George Bernard Shaw

“ My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity .”

George Orwell

“ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear .”

George Plimpton

“ As anyone who listens to speeches knows, brevity is an asset .”

Georges Simenon

“ The fact that we are I don’t know how many millions of people, yet communication, complete communication, is completely impossible between two of those people, is to me one of the biggest tragic themes in the world .”

Read more great writing advice from Georges Simenon .

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

“ It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing .”

“ Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn .”

Hans Christian Andersen

“ Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead .”

Harlan Ellison

“ If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you .”

Harper Lee (with Truman Capote)

“ You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view .”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

“ Since I began this note I have been called off at least a dozen times — once for the fish-man, to buy a codfish — once to see a man who had brought me some baskets of apples — once to see a book man…then to nurse the baby — then into the kitchen to make chowder for dinner and now I am at it again for nothing but deadly determination enables me to ever write — it is rowing against wind and tide .”

Heinrich Böll

“ It’s true and it’s easily said that language is material, and something does materialize as one writes .”

Henry Miller

“ All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience .”

H. L. Mencken

“ For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong .”

Hunter S. Thompson

“ When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro .”

Ian Fleming

“ Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life .”

J. D. Salinger

“ The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one .”

Jack Kerouac

“ Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion .”

Jack London

“ You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club .”

Jackie Kennedy

“ The deep desire to inspire people, to take an active part in the life of the country… We should all do something to right the wrongs that we see and not just complain about them .”

James Baldwin

“ Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced .”

James Patterson

“ In my office in Florida I have, I think, 30 manuscript piles around the room. Some are screenplays or comic books or graphic novels. Some are almost done. Some I’m rewriting. If I’m working with a co-writer, they’ll usually write the first draft. And then I write subsequent drafts .”

Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne

“ I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear… We tell ourselves stories in order to live .”

John Cheever

“ The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one’s life and discover one’s usefulness .”

John F. Kennedy

“ As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them .”

“ For your information, a good novel can change the world. Keep that in mind before you attempt to sit down at a typewriter. Never waste time on something you don’t believe in yourself .”

John Steinbeck

“ And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed .”

John Updike

“ You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it .”

Joseph Brodsky

“ It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything .”

J. R. R. Tolkien

“ All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us .”

Karen Blixen

“The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.”

Want to be an author someday ? Click for a chance to win 5 books on writing that will level up your game.

Katherine Anne Porter

“ I shall try to tell the truth, but the result will be fiction .”

Kurt Vonnegut

“ The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake .”

Want more? These 6 Pieces of Writing Advice Helped Sell More Than 6 Billion Books

Leo Tolstoy

“ Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself .”

Louisa May Alcott

“ Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable .”

Margaret Mitchell

“ The world can forgive practically anything except people who mind their own business .”

“ Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very.’ Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be .”

Marlon Brando

“ Regret is useless in life. It’s in the past. All we have is now .”

“ It’s precisely the disappointing stories, which have no proper ending and therefore no proper meaning, that sound true to life .”

Michel Foucault

“ My job is making windows where there were once walls .”

Mickey Spillane

“ If you’re a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older he gets, the better he writes .”

Neil Gaiman

“ A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back .”

Nigella Lawson

“ It’s true that I wouldn’t have written the first book had my sister and mother been alive. It was my way of continuing our conversation .”

Oliver Sacks

“ Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination .”

Orson Welles

“ If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out .”

Patricia Highsmith

“ Obsessions are the only things that matter .”

P. G. Wodehouse

“ Unseen in the background, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing-glove .”

Philip Pullman

“ We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever .”

Philip Roth

“ The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress .”

Pier Paolo Pasolini

“ An artist, if he’s unselfish and passionate, is always a living protest. Just to open his mouth is to protest: against conformism, against what is official, public, or national, what everyone else feels comfortable with, so the moment he opens his mouth, an artist is engaged, because opening his mouth is always scandalous .”

Ramón Gómez de la Serna

“ Writing is that they let you cry and laugh alone .”

Ray Bradbury

“ Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things…. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you .”

Raymond Carver

“ You’ve got to work with your mistakes until they look intended. Understand ?”

“ A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it .”

Robert Frost

“ No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader .”

Roberto Calasso

“ Stories never live alone; They are the branches of a family that we have to trace back, and forward .”

Rudyard Kipling

“ Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears .”

Saul Bellow

“ A writer is a reader moved to emulation .”

Shuzo Takiguchi

“ Now the globe suffers from severe nostalgia …”

Want to radically improve your writing ? Enter my free giveaway for a chance to win some of the best books on writing.

Simone de Beauvoir

“ Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay .”

Somerset Maugham

“ There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are .”

Stephen King

“ Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings .”

Read more great writing advice from Stephen King .

Susan Sontag

“ My library is an archive of longings .”

Sylvia Plath

“ Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences .”

“ Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there’s a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you’re writing your poem, there’s one less scoundrel in the world. And I’d like a world, wouldn’t you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I’m certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don’t think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say ‘We loved the earth but could not stay .”

Tennessee Williams

“ When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I’m only really alive when I’m writing .”

Theodore Roosevelt

“ I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being .”

Truman Capote

“ Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor .”

“ There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands, That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea .”

Vera and Vladimir Nabokov

“ A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist .”

Virginia Woolf

“ A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction .”

W. Somerset Maugham

(I know I already shared a WSM pic, but I couldn’t resist the dog!)

“ I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp .”

Wallace Stegner

“ Hard writing makes easy reading .”

Walt Whitman

“ The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment — to put things down without deliberation — without worrying about their style — without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote — wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught .”

William F. Buckley Jr.

“ I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven’t just been sitting on my ass all afternoon .”

William Faulkner

“ Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself .”

William S. Burroughs

“ Yes, for all of us in the Shakespeare Squadron, writing is just that: not an escape from reality, but an attempt to change reality .”

Winston Churchill

“ Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public .”

Bravery bonus: “ History will be kind to me for I intend to write it .”

New stories from Jared you might like:

How to read 50 books per year without really trying (even if you’re a super slow reader), a straight-forward plan for automatically boosting your book count, want to be happier repeat this ancient four-word phrase every single day, a centuries-old monastic practice could be the key to happiness, the monk who saved a river, a story about why “changing the world” is wildly overrated., how to take back control of your life from addictive internet algorithms, practices and apps you can use to reclaim your attention and privacy — from simple to radical, and everything in…, facebook is dead (it just doesn’t know it yet), the $750+ billion company still has options, but none end well., level up 50 rules and tools for a healthier, wealthier, wiser life, my new ebook is available now for free., more from the writing cooperative.

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Jared A. Brock

Helping you navigate life in an age of democratic destruction, ecological collapse, and economic irrelevance. Free newsletter: www.surviving-tomorrow.com

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