Twenty Contemporary Authors

Several months back I realized that there are quite a few relatively contemporary authors that are not on everyone’s reading list. One clue to this phenomenon was that the best-seller and must read lists being published around the internet and even on ink & paper publications seemed to contain the same dozen or so authors month after month with only a few new authors touted, often because their first novels either came out of some prestigious creative writing school or because they followed the rules of popular fiction espoused by the more established and possibly less imaginative best-selling authors.

What do writers write for nowadays? Is today’s writing more internal or external? Does it attempt to understand and explain human existence or is it a fast buck and a movie contract? Is this quotation an accurate representation of publishing and reading in today’s world?

"Literature was formerly an art and finance a trade;
today it is the reverse." -- Joseph Roux

So I started a little list of authors I suspected were not being universally read but who had a good chance of breaking through the proverbial Jacqueline Susann syndrome and consigning all of Stephen King’s books to the recycle bin. Here is that list of authors, limited to only twenty names even though it could have been much longer:

Twenty Authors to Consider

  1. Kobo Abe
  2. Kathy Acker
  3. António Lobo Antunes
  4. Angela Carter
  5. Julio Cortázar
  6. Robert Coover
  7. J. P. Donleavy
  8. Rikki Doucornet
  9. Marguerite Duras
  10. Raymond Federman
  11. Juan Goytisolo
  12. Alain Robbe-Grillet
  13. Peter Handke
  14. Michel Houellebecq
  15. Bohumil Hrabal
  16. Clarice Lispector
  17. Naguib Mahfouz
  18. Javier Marías
  19. Hanan al-Shaykh
  20. Robert Walser

How many of these famous authors do you recognize? How many have you read? Do you have any authors of a lesser known fame that you would recommend?


2 thoughts on “Twenty Contemporary Authors

    1. Sjon was definitely on my working list which I pared down to only twenty authors. I should check for new titles, although I have read most of Sjon. Other readers have also highly recommended Halldór Laxness although I have yet to read this Nobel laureate.


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