American authors


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AGEE, JAMES – American poet, novelist, critic & screenwriter; his novel, A Death in the Family, was published after his death & is autobiographical.

ALBEE, EDWARD – American controversial playwright; a major proponent of the Absurdist theater; plays concentrate on family relationships; wrote The Zoo Story & Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
ALCOTT, LOUISA MAY – American gothic novelist & children’s writer; wrote the autobiographical Little Women; Eight Cousins; Little Men; & A Long Fatal Love Chase.
ALEXANDER, LLOYD – American fantasy writer; best known for the “Chronicles of Prydain” series – The Book of Three; The Black Cauldron; The Castle of Lyr; Taran Wanderer; & The High King.
ALGREN, NELSON – American naturalist novelist; a lifelong critic of American society; his characters were poor materialistically, but had pride, humor & unquenchable yearnings; wrote The Man with the Golden Arm; The Neon Wildness; Never Come Morning; & A Walk on the Wild Side.
ANDERSON, SHERWOOD – American novelist, short-story writer, poet, & journalist; his short stories depict small-town characters that are unfilled in our materialistic society; Winesburg, Ohio & The Egg & Other Stories.
ANGELOU, MAYA – African-American dancer, singer, actress, producer, director, scriptwriter, poet , playwright, historian, & writer whose works are autobiographical & is a major force in African-American poetry; wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water Before I Die; Gather Together in My Name; Even the Stars Look Lonesome; & Phenomenal Women.

ASIMOV, ISSAC – Russian-born American science fiction writer; his knowledge of science makes his stories seem realistic & possible; coined the term “robotics” & invented the discipline it names; wrote I, Robot; Foundation; Foundation & Empire; Second Foundation; Robots of Dawn; & Robots & Empire.


BALDWIN, JAMES – African-American novelist, playwright, poet, short-story writer essayist, & civil rights activist; his controversial novels explored prejudice; wrote Go Tell It on The Mountains; Giovanni’s Room; Another Country; Fire Next Time; No Name in the Streets; & Notes of a Native Son.

BEATTIE, ANN – American novelist & short-story writer; called the voice of the “Woodstock generation”; her characters represent “numbed” characters trying to find happiness; wrote Picturing Will; Another You, & Park City; & New & Selected Stories.
BELLOW, SAUL – Canadian-born American novelist & short-story writer; characters often felt like ‘outsiders’; wrote Herzog; Humboldt’s Gift; & The Bellarosa Connection; The Adventures of Augie March; & Ravelstein.
BIERCE, AMBROSE – American horror short-story writer; wrote stories of time travel with an absurd sense of humor; An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge & Chickamauga.
BISHOP, ELIZABETH – American modern poet; known for carefully crafted poems concerning our relationships with nature; wrote The Bishop Ballad of the Burglar of Babylon & Brazil.
BOYLE, KAY – American novelist, children’s book writer, & short-story writer; known for her elegant stream-of-consciousness style; wrote 50 Stories.
BRADBURY, RAY – American science fiction writer; wrote stories about the fear of state control & modern technology; wroteThe Martian Chronicles; Fahrenheit 451; Dandelion Wine; Something Wicked This Way Comes; The Illustrated Man; & I Sing the Body Electric.
BRADSTREET, ANNE – English-born American poet; was America’s first authentic poet; some of her poetry was autobiographical.

BROOKS, GWENDOLYN – African-American poet, essayist, & novelist; realistically portrayed African-American life; published poetry collections.

BROWN, CHARLES BROCKDEN – American gothic novelist; known as the “father of the American novel”; wrote Wieland, or, The Transformation; Arthur Mervyn, or Memoirs of the year 1793; & Edgar Huntly, or, Memoirs of a Sleep Walker.
BROWN, DAN – American novelist, song-writer, & teacher; best-selling novelist uses symbols, codes & bizarre facts in his books; wrote Digital Fortress; Angels & Demons; The Da Vinci Code; Deception Point; & The Lost Symbol.
BRYANT, WILLIAM CULLEN – American poet & journalist & longtime editor of the New York Evening Post.
BUCK, PEARL – American novelist; noted for her novels of life in China, The Good Earth; House of Earth; Sons; House Divided; Peony; Pavilion of Women; Letter from Peking.
BURROUGHS, EDGAR RICE – American fantasy & science fiction writer; created the popular Tarzan novels.


CALDWELL, (JANET) TAYLOR – American novelist; known for family sagas & historical fiction; wrote Testimony of Two Men; The Captains & the Kings; Ceremony of the Innocent; Pillar of Iron; & Bright Flows the River.

CANFIELD, DOROTHY (DOROTHY CANFIELD FISHER) – American novelist, short-story writer, & children’s books writer; known for her short stories.
CAPOTE, TRUMAN – American novelist, short-story writer, & playwright; known for merging his dramatic narrative techniques of fiction with objective journalistic reporting to create “the nonfiction novel”; wrote In Cold Blood; A Christmas Memory; The Thanksgiving Visitor; Breakfast at Tiffany’s; The Grass Harp; Music for Chameleons; & Other Voices, Other Rooms.
CARD, ORSON SCOTT – American science fiction & fantasy writer; wrote Ender’s Game; Ender’s Shadow; Ender in Exile; Wyrms; Xenocide; & Children of the Wind.

CARSON, RACHAEL – American biologist, environmentalist, & author; known for her natural history of the sea & her book Silent Spring; The Edge of the Sea; & The Sea Around Us.

CATHER, WILLA- American modernist novelist, poet, essayist, & short-story writer; wrote about frontier life in Nebraska with an emphasis on women; wrote O Pioneers!; The Song of the Lark; My Antonia; & Death Comes for the Archbishop.
CHANDLER, RAYMOND – American crime writer; helped to shape the American detective novels; known for the creation of detective “Philip Marlowe”; wrote Farewell, My Lovely; The Big Sleep; & Little Sister.
CHEEVER, JOHN – American novelist & short-story writer; explored the isolation of modern American life; & writes with ironic comedy & satire.
CHESTNUTT, C. W. (CHARLES WADELL) – African-American novelist & short-story writer; wrote about Southern folklore & civil rights; wrote The Conjure Woman & The Color Line.
CHILDRESS, ALICE – African- American novelist, actress, & playwright; known for her realistic stories about the enduring optimism of African-Americans.
CHOPIN, KATE – American feminist novelist & short-story writer; renowned for her literary naturalism & feminism; wrote The Awakening.
CISNEROS, SANDRA – American Latino novelist & poet; her fiction & poetry take the general form of dramatic monologue; wrote The House on Mango Street; Women Hollering Creek; & Little Miracles, Kept Promises.
CLANCY, TOM – American modern novelist; credited for creating the “techno-thriller”; in his novels, he combines military technology & superpower confrontation; the family is the central theme in his works; wrote The Hunt for Red October; Patriot Games; The Sum of All Fears; Rainbow 6; The Cardinal of the Kremlin; & Without Remorse.

COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE – American novelist; wrote historic romance, sea adventures & frontier life novels; America’s “national novelist”; wrote novels that provided an important account of the time period in American history; wrote The Last of the Mohicans; The Spy; The Deerslayer; & The Pioneers.

COTTON, JOHN – English-born American Puritan leader & writer; wrote religious instruction for the New England Congregationalism Churches.
CRANE, STEPHEN – Major American novelist, short-story writer, & poet; father of the development of the psychological realist novel; wrote about the social ills of society; wrote The Red Badge of Courage; Maggie: A Girl of the Streets; The Open Boat; The Blue Hotel; & The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky.
cummings, e. e. ( edward estlin) – American poet, writer, dramatist, & painter; expressed individuality in poetry; due to his idiosyncratic punctuation & typography of his works he was labeled an experimentalist; wrote The Enormous Room & Complete Poems1913-1962.


DeLILLO, DON – American postmodernist novelist, short-story writer, & playwright;

his novels have surrealistic & paranoid elements; wrote Underworld; White Noise; Libra; Cosmopolis; & Pafko at the Wall.
DeMILLE, NELSON – American suspense novelist & short-story writer; first series of novels were about the NYPD; wrote Wild Fire; Plum Island; The General’s Daughter; Charm School; Gold Coast; Spencerville; & MayDay.
DICKEY, JAMES – American poet, novelist, & critic; one of the best post-World War II American poets; poetry deals with nature & its relationship to man; best known for the book on survival – Deliverance; also wrote To the White Sea, A Novel.
DICKINSON, EMILY - American poet; her poetry is distinctive, lyrical & timeless in verse formulations; her emotional themes were death, love, religion, nature & eternity; she did not name or date her poems; & Thomas H. Johnson numbered the poems in a compilation; Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson; Final Harvest; I’m Nobody! Who Are You?; Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson; Selected Poetry of Emily Dickinson; & The Poems of Emily Dickinson.

DIDION, JOAN – American novelist, journalist, screenwriter, & essayist; writes in precise prose of the decline of the American values self-reliance & respect for others; wrote The Year of Magical Thinking; Miami; Political Fictions; Play It As It Lays;Miami; & with her husband wrote the screenplays for A Star Is Born & True Confessions.

DILLARD, ANNIE – American essayist; wrote about the natural world; wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ; The Annie Dillard Reader; & Mornings Like This: Found Poems.

DOCTOROW, E. L. – American contemporary novelist & playwright; writes historical & political fiction; wrote The Book of Daniel; Ragtime; World’s Fair; Billy Bathgate; Loon Lake; The March; & Sweet Land Stories.

DOS PASSOS, JOHN – American modernist novelist, playwright , & poet; was a pioneer in experimenting with forms of fiction; combined fiction with biography in his writings; was part of the “lost generation” of writers; wrote U.S.A.; The Shackles of Power; The Men Who Made the Nation; & Mr. Wilson’s War.
DOUGLAS, LLOYD C. – American clergyman & novelist; his novels conveyed optimistic religious messages; wrote The Robe &The Big Fisherman.
DOUGLASS, FREDERICK – African-American writer, orator, & abolitionist; son of a slave mother & white father he never knew; wrote anti-slavery newspaper articles & books; was a consultant to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War; wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass & Frederick Douglass in His Own Words.
DREISER, THEODORE – American novelist, playwright, & short-story writer; novelist of American naturalism & the first major American author of the 20th century; his characters weighed moral issues while making conscious decisions; wrote Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy, & Short Stories.
DUBOIS, W. E. B. – African-American novelist, essayist, sociologist, & African-American rights leader; Influential in African-American literature; wrote The Souls of Black Folks; The Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois; & Emerging Thoughts of W.E.B. DuBois.

DUNBAR, PAUL LAURENCE – African-American poet, short-story writer, & novelist; wrote about prejudice & social injustice; his poetry was written in the Negro dialect & in the standard English dialect; wrote “When Malindy Sings”, a poem & “We Wear the Mask”, a poem; also, The Collected Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.


ELLISON, RALPH – African-American novelist, essayist, & teacher; his only novel, The Invisible Man, is one of the finest achievements in American fiction & one of the most complete statements of African-American experiences; his characters search for their identity. Also, he wrote Juneteenth, a novel which was left unfinished & edited posthumously from his manuscripts & published; also wrote Flying Home & Other Stories; & Shadow & Act.

EMERSON,RALPH WALDO – American poet, essayist, & lecturer; he was the leading figure of New England Transcendentalism; wrote his poetry in the art of prosaic discourse; advocated self-reliance in his poetry; poetry found in Essays & English Traits; Journals; & Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson in one volume.
ERDRICH, LOUISE - American novelist, poet, & short story writer; books are primarily about the Chippewa Indians in the northern Midwest; wrote Love Medicine; The Beet Queen; The Bingo Place; Original Fire; The Blue Jay’s Dance; The Master Butchers Singing Club; The Last Report on The Miracles at Little No Horse; & Tracks.


FAULKNER, WILLIAM – American modern southern novelist & short-story writer; wrote about the post-bellum American South; best known for his epic Yoknapatawpha cycle of writings; wrote The Sound & The Fury; As I Lay Dying; Sanctuary; Light in August; Absalom, Absalom; Flags in the Dust; Intruder in the Dust; A Fable; & The Reivers.

FERBER, EDNA – American novelist, short-story writer, & playwright; wrote with compassion & curiosity about middle-class Midwestern life; wrote Cimarron; Giant; Ice Palace; Showboat; & So Big.

FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT – American novelist & short-story writer; known for his characterizations of the Jazz Age; was known as an acute stylist & social observer with all of his heroes carrying a sense of a lost past; wrote This Side of Paradise; The Beautiful & the Damned; The Great Gatsby; Tender Is the Night; & The Last Tycoon.

FORD, JESSE HILL - American novelist & short-story writer; his writings examined the destructive relations between races in the South; wrote The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones & The Feast of Saint Barnabas.
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN – American author, publisher, printer, scientist, inventor, & diplomat; a writer of the “Age of Reason” who took philosophical ideas and formulated them, through his prose, into practical everyday style; wrote Poor Richard’s Almanack & Autobiography.
FROST, ROBERT – American pastoral poet; his poems reveal a mystical attachment to the natural land in New England; some of his best known poems were The Home Burial; The Road Not Taken; The Oven Bird; Birches; & Dust of Snow.
FULLER, MARGARET – American woman of letters, teacher, & critic; a close friend of Emerson & the Transcendentalists; wrote Women in the 19th Century, a tract on feminism.


GAINES, ERNEST J. – African-American novelist & short-story writer; themes in his writings have reflected his own experiences in the South; wrote The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; A Gathering of Old Men; A Lesson Before Dying; & Mozart & Leadbelly.

GALBRAITH, JOHN KENNETH – Canadian-American economist & writer; served as a key advisor to President John F. Kennedy; wrote The Affluent Society; Economic Development; The Great Crash, 1929; & The Triumph, a Novel.

GIBBONS, KAYE – American southern novelist; writes about Southern women & families; wrote Charms for the Easy Life; A Virtuous Woman; Ellen Foster; Sightings Unseen; On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon; & A Cure for Dreams.

GIBSON, WILLIAM – Canadian-American writer; wrote in the science fiction genre; leader of the cyberpunk movement in literature; wrote All Tomorrow’s Parties; Virtual Light; & The Miracle Worker (Helen Keller).

GILMAN, CHARLOTTE PERKINS (STETSON) – American poet, short-story writer & novelist; leading theorist of the women’s movement in the U.S.; wrote The Yellow Wallpaper; Herland; & Unpunished.
GINSBERG, ALLEN – American Beat poet & counter-cultural activist; leader of the Beat movement; wrote Selected Poems, 1947-1955 & The Beat Book Poems & Fiction of the Beat Generation.
GIOVANNI, NIKKI – African-American poet; was one of the 1960’s black revolutionary poets; write poetry in free verse with strong rhythms; wrote Gemini; Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day; My House; & The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni.
GIPSON, FRED – American novelist, journalist, & short-story writer; writings reflect life in the Texas Hill-Country during the Civil War & later; wrote Old Yeller; Son of Old Yeller; Savage Sam; & Hound-Dog Man.
GORDON, MARY – American novelist & short-story writer; writings reflect growing up Roman Catholic in the sixties; wrote The Company of Women; Final Payments; & The Other Side.
GRAU, SHIRLEY ANN – American writer; writes with traditional style but uses symbolic realism; wrote The Condor Passes & The Keepers of the House.
GREENBERG, JOANNE – American naturalist novelist & short-story writer; writes about mental & handicap problems; also wrote under the name Hannah Green; I Never Promised You a Rose Garden & In This Sign.
GREENE, BETTE – American writer; her writings examine the moral courage & emotional tolerance young people face in difficult situations; wrote Summer of My German Soldier; Morning Is a Long Time Coming; Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon; & The Drowning of Stephan Jones.

GREY, ZANE – American writer; wrote & created the western novel; wrote Riders of the Purple Sage; Blue Feathers & Other Stories; The Westerners: Frontier Stories; & Last of the Duanes.

GRISHAM, JOHN – American contemporary novelist; writes legal fiction; writings makes heroes out of ordinary people; wrote The Firm; The Pelican Brief; The Client; The Partner; The Brethren; The Appeal; The Associate; Bleachers; & Skipping Christmas.


HALEY, ALEX – African-American writer; wrote historical fiction; his writings depicted the struggles of African-Americans; wrote Roots; Mama Flora’s Family; & Queen.

HAMILTON, VIRGINIA – African-American novelist & short-story writer; writes about the folklore & culture of African-Americans; wrote A White Romance; Arilla Sundown; Dustland; Justice & Her Brothers; The Planet of Junior Brown; & The Gathering.
HAMMETT, DASHIELL – American crime writer; father of the hard-boiled detective novel; creator of one of fiction’s most famous sleuths Sam Spade; wrote The Maltese Falcon; The Thin Man; Red Harvest; The Dain Curse; & The Glass Key.
HANSBERRY, LORRAINE – African American playwright; writes about the daily stresses in the lives of African-American families; wrote A Raisin in the Sun & The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window.
HARRIS, JOEL CHANDLER - African-American children’s & folklore writer; created the folklore character Uncle Remus; was a brilliant humorist & a writer of dialects; wrote The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus.
HARTE, BRET – American romantic short-story writer; poet & critic; helped create the local-color school in American fiction; wrote western novels & stories including The Luck of Roaring Camp; The Outcasts of Poker Flat; & Stories of the Early West.

HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL – American novelist & short-story writer; a master of allegorical & symbolic stories; one of the greatest fiction writers in American literature;

the last Puritan novelist; wrote The Scarlet Letter; The House of the Seven Gables; The Blithedale Romance; The Marble Faun; Tanglewood Tales for Boys & Girls; Mosses From an Old Manse; Young Goodman Brown & Other Stories; & Twice-Told Tales.

HEINLEIN, ROBERT – American science fiction writer; one of the most influential American Science fiction writers; wrote A Stranger in a Strange Land; Friday; Starman Jones; The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress; & Have Space Suit Will Travel.
HELLER, JOSEPH – American satirical novelist & playwright; used ‘black humor’ in his writings; wrote Catch-22; Something Happened; Good as Gold; God Knows; Closing Time; & the play, We Bombed in New Haven.
HELLMAN, LILLIAN – American playwright & screenwriter; her dramas bitterly attacked injustice & exploitation; wrote The Collected Plays & Scoundrel Time.
HEMINGWAY, ERNEST – American novelist & short-story writer; one of the principal figures of 20th century American fiction; writer of the “Lost Generation”; considered a master of terse, direct expression; wrote The Sun Also Rises; A Farewell to Arms; For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Old Man & The Sea; Islands in the Stream; A Moveable Feast; & Nick Adams Stories.
HENRY, O. – American short-story writer; pseudonym of William Sydney Porter; his stories romanticized the characters of ordinary people in New York City with surprise endings; wrote The Four Million; Heart of the West; & The Collected Stories.

HERBERT, FRANK - American science fiction writer; known for the Dune series; was one of the most popular & influential science fiction authors of all time; wrote Dune; Dune Messiah; Children of Dune; God-Emperor of Dune; Chapterhouse: Dune; & the Dosadi Experiment.

HERSEY, JOHN – American novelist & journalist; wrote about freedom, racism; greed & political corruption; noted for his documentary fiction about catastrophic events of World War II; wrote The Child Buyer; A Bell for Adano; Hiroshima; The Wall; White Lotus; & The Conspiracy.

HOFFMAN, ALICE – American novelist; writes about women in search of their identities with mixed realism & the supernatural; wrote Fortune’s Daughter; Turtle Moon; Here on Earth; Practical Magic; The River King; Local Girls; Seventh Heaven; White Horses; & The Probable Future.
HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL – American poet, humorist, & physician; remembered for his few poems & for his “Breakfast-Table” series of essays.
HOWELLS, WILLIAM DEAN – American novelist & critic; known as the “Dean of American Letters”; responsible for the dominance of the realistic school of writing in modern American literature; wrote A Modern Instance; The Rise of Silas Lapham; Indian Summer; & A Foregone Conclusion.
HUGHES, LANGSTON – African-American poet, short-story writer, novelist, & playwright; a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s & 1930’s; influential member of the Black Arts movement; used an integration of his writing with jazz & blues; wrote A Fight for Freedom; Not Without Laughter; The Panther & The Lash; & various short stories.
HURSTON, ZORA NEALE – African-American novelist & short-story writer; created a body of literature that celebrated & preserved the sound & spirit of African-American voices as she knew them; wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God; Go Gator & Muddy the Water; Tell My Horse; & The Complete Stories.


IRVING, JOHN – American novelist; his writings embrace individuality & courage with philosophical ideas, strange characterizations & unique plots; wrote The World According to Garp; The Hotel New Hampshire; The Cider House Rules; A Prayer for Owen Meany; A Widow for One Year; Son of the Circus; & Until I Find You.

IRVING, WASHINGTON – American humorist short-story writer; called the “first American man of letters”; known for his prose style, native humor, & creation of many memorable characters; wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Rip Van Winkle; The Sketchbook; & The Complete Tales.


JAMES, HENRY – American/English novelist; wrote novels about detailed & complex characters; wrote psychologically complex novels contrasting American values with their European heritage; wrote The Bostonians; The Wings of the Dove; Daisy Miller; Washington Square; The Portrait of a Lady; What Maisie Knew; The Ambassadors; The Aspern Papers; & The Turn of the Screw.

JEWETT, SARAH ORNE – American regional novelist & short-story writer; wrote about rural women & girls in the 19th century; wrote A White Heron; & The Country of Pointed Firs.
JOHNSON, JAMES WELDON – African-American poet, diplomat, & anthologist of African-American culture; wrote hymns & sermons in dialect; best known for The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man & poetry anthologies.
JONG, ERICA - American novelist & poet; feminist writer; wrote Fear of Flying; Any Women’s Blues; Inventing Memory; & Parachutes & Kisses.

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