Ranking the most important authors in contemporary literature is an almost impossible task as there are so many talented, thought-provoking authors to consider, but here we’ve collected the 10 of the most important writers of contemporary times.
Released to great acclaim in 1982 by Chilean-American author Isabel Allende, House of Spirits began as a letter to her dying grandfather and evolved into a spectacular work of magical realism outlining the history of Chile.
With numerous critically-acclaimed novels to her name, some of the best-selling of which are Oryx and Crake, The Handmaid’s Tale; which was recently turned into an award-winning drama series by Netflix, and The Blind Assassin, Canadian author Margaret Atwood is known for her feminist themes.
Besides being a frequent contributor to The New Yorker Magazine, Jonathan Franzen won the National Book Award for his 2001 novel, The Corrections, making him one of the most celebrated authors of our time.
He also penned a book of essays entitled How to Be Alone and The Discomfort Zone, a memoir.
British author Ian McEwan released his first novel in 1976 entitle First Love, Last Rites and became an award-winning, overnight success. Atonement, released in 2001, won numerous awards and was made into a film directed by Joe Wright in 2007.
Known for his use of experimental structure, David Mitchell used 9 narrators to tell the story in his debut novel, Ghostwritten – which unfortunately contained no mention of online bingo.
Cloud Atlas consists of 6 interconnected stories and was turned into a film starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in 2012.
Beloved (1987) was named best novel of the past 25 years in a 2006 New York Times Book Review survey and we couldn’t think of an author more deserving.
After the novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, Toni Morrison became synonymous with African American literature and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
Steeped in magical realism, Haruki Murakami first made an impression with Wild Sheep Chase in 1982 and he made the genre his own over the decades following.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore are two of his most celebrated English works translated from the original Japanese.
Philip Roth has won numerous awards for his prolific body of work – The Plot Against America earned him the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and Roth won the PEN/Nabokov Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006.
The term ‘hysterical realism’ was coined by literary critic James Wood to describe Zadie Smith’s –highly-acclaimed debut novel, White Teeth, which Smith agreed was a “painfully accurate term for the sort of overblown, manic prose” found in her novels.
As one of only 3 authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, John Updike’s career spans several decades and his 4 Rabbit Angstrom novels were named in 2006 amongst the best novels of the past 25 years in a New York Times Book Review survey.