Famous Current Authors
On Monday, Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Goldfinch. It was no surprise, really, since the much-anticipated novel made the New York Times best-seller list during its first week on the shelves. The book was so popular that people flocked to the Frick Collection in record numbers to see the titular painting that features heavily in the Dickensian plot.
Tartt takes a notoriously long time to write her novels: The Goldfinch took 11 years, and she says that we may have to wait just as long for her next book. So now that you’ve finished The Goldfinch — and her other two books, The Secret History and The Little Friend — what to read next to tide you over? At the beginning of 2014, writer and illustrator Joanna Walsh began the Twitter hashtag #readwomen2014 in an effort to encourage readers to pick up more books by women this year. That task is only getting easier: 2014 will feature dozens of terrific books by women. But here are some current female authors who you may have missed and want to add to your reading list.Eamonn McCormack—WireImage/Getty ImagesChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Beyoncé loves her and so should you. Adichie, who is from Nigeria, is credited with heralding a new generation of African authors with her bestselling Half of a Yellow Sun. Her latest novel, Americanah, was named one of the 10 best books of 2013 by the New York Times. Oh, and she’s also a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant recipient.
Catton was only 22 years old when she wrote her first novel, The Rehearsal (what have you done today?). And her second and most recent novel, The Luminaries, was the winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize — making her the youngest ever recipient. The adventure-mystery novel is set in New Zealand, where the author currently resides.
Danticat published her debut novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, when she was only 25 and was heralded as a young author to watch. She did not disappoint. Breath, Eyes, Memory became an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 1998. The Haitian-born novelist continues to tell stories of her home country’s history through documentary film, fiction and nonfiction, including her 2004 novel, The Dew Breaker, which was well received by critics.
Though Irish-born Donoghue has written many novels (and plays and literary histories), none have had quite the impact as her international bestseller Room, a story narrated by a five-year-old who has been imprisoned in a single room with his mother for his entire life. Donoghue’s newest novel, a murder mystery called Frog Music that’s set in San Francisco in 1876, hit shelves on April 1.
Erdrich, who has written 13 novels, taps into her Native-American heritage to dig deep into questions about identity and race in her stories. An unsolved, race-fueled murder is at the center of her most recent work, The Plague of Doves, a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.
Gilbert has a reputation as the patron saint of any woman undergoing a well-funded mid-life crisis thanks to her bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. But she’s also an accomplished novelist who published 2013’s well-reviewed The Signature of All Things, a charming bildungsroman about a spirited botanist who uses science to organize her heart and world. Gilbert will also appear on Oprah’s upcoming The Life You Want Weekend tour.
If you haven’t read Heti’s 2010 novel-from-life How Should a Person Be, you’re missing out on something important. The Canadian writer is also a performance artist, a philosopher, a playwright and the interviews editor of The Believer magazine. She tends to write about her brilliant and eccentric friends, who are never boring.
Homes is known for having a taste for controversial topics in her writing, and her satirical novel May We Be Forgiven won her the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction. When asked about her writing, she once said she is “saying the things we don’t want to say out loud.”Lloyd Bishop—NBC/Getty ImagesGillian Flynn
Flynn began as an Entertainment Weekly reporter and TV critic before making the foray into mystery novels that continue to be page-turners after her signature big twist. Read her New York Times best-selling mystery about a missing wife, Gone Girl, before the David Fincher-directed movie adaptation hits the big screen in October starring Ben Affleck.
Holt’s debut novel, You Are One of Them, is about two Cold War-era American schoolgirls who write to the premier of the Soviet Union, but only one of them gets a response and an invitation to visit Moscow. Critics raved about her first effort. Keep an eye on her.
If you’re looking for girls who kick ass, you’ve come to the right place. Kushner’s second novel, The Flamethrowers, focuses on a woman who arrives in New York from Reno in 1975 determined to turn her obsession with motorcycles and speed into art. The 2013 book was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and a critical darling.
In The Woman Upstairs, Messud flips the archetype of the friendly, unassuming spinster on its head, creating an angry woman who’s simply tired of being ignored. The author previously won accolades for The Emperor’s Children, her best-selling novel about three college friends in pre-9/11 Manhattan.