Top 10 Greatest American Writers of All Time

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The United States of America is a home of number incredible writers who have inspired literature and art all across the world in just two centuries. Great ... read more...

  1. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) also known as Mark Twain, was an American writer under the pen name Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He has been called "the father of American writing" due to his influence in his homeland.


    The short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was Mark Twain's first major literary achievement, bringing him national attention. After that, he authored The Innocents Abroad, which is one of the best-selling travel novels of all time, and Roughing It, a nonfiction masterpiece. Before authoring The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which is considered one of the best-known works in children's literature, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which is regarded by many as the Great American Novel, he co-authored the novel The Gilded Age. Mark Twain is widely regarded as one of the English language's most significant writers.


    Famous Novels: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1881),...

    Mark Twain
    Mark Twain
    Mark Twain
    Mark Twain

  2. Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was born in Oak Park, Illinois. Before becoming a writer, Hemingway worked as a journalist for several years. His debut novel, The Sun Also Rises, garnered mixed reviews when it was initially released, but it has now become a classic modernist masterpiece.


    The Old Man and the Sea, his final major work of fiction, earned the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and is widely recognized as a twentieth-century masterpiece. Ernest Hemingway was given the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 for "his mastery of the art of narration, most recently exhibited in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the impact that he has exercised on current style," according to the Nobel Committee. Hemingway's contemporary writing style had a tremendous effect on twentieth-century literature. He is largely considered to be one of America's greatest writers of all time.


    Famous Novels: The Old Man and the Sea (1952), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), A Farewell to Arms (1929),...

    Ernest Hemingway
    Ernest Hemingway
    Ernest Hemingway
    Ernest Hemingway
  3. William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was an American novelist and short-story writer most known for his works set in the fictitious Yoknapatawpha County, where Faulkner lived for the majority of his life. Faulkner is widely regarded as one of the greatest authors of Southern literature and one of the most acclaimed writers of American literature.


    His work A Fable, published in 1954, received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In addition, William Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949 for "his profound and aesthetically original contribution to the contemporary American novel.". The Modern Library named three of his works to list the 100 greatest English-language novels of the twentieth century in 1998: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Light in August. Especially, he used a portion of his Nobel prize money to "create a fund to promote and encourage budding fiction authors," which led to the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.


    Famous Novels: The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Absalom, Absalom! (1936)

    William Faulkner
    William Faulkner
    William Faulkner
    William Faulkner
  4. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American novelist, essayist, short story writer, and screenwriter. He was most known for his books that depicted the luxury and extravagance of the Jazz Age, a word he created. He wrote four novels, four story collections, and 164 short stories throughout his lifetime.


    Fitzgerald relocated to Hollywood and worked as a scriptwriter by the end of the 1920s, due to financial difficulties. In 1940, at the age of 44, he died of a heart attack. He thought himself to be a failure at the time of his death, and his work had been forgotten. The Great Gatsby, his third novel, on the other hand, grew in popularity after WWII. It is now considered a literary masterpiece and a contender for the title of Great American Novel. Furthermore, F. Scott Fitzgerald is largely regarded as one of the best American writers of the twentieth century.


    Famous Novels: The Great Gatsby (1925), Tender Is the Night (1934), This Side of Paradise (1920),...

    Scott Fitzgerald
    Scott Fitzgerald
    Scott Fitzgerald
    Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Toni Morrison was the pen name of Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison (February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019), an American author. The Bluest Eye, her first novel, was released in 1970. Song of Solomon (1977), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, brought her critical acclaim.


    Morrison's most famous novel, Beloved, was released in 1987 and was a critical hit as well as a bestseller for 25 weeks. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988, and it was turned into a film of the same name in 1998. In 1993, Morrison received the Nobel Prize in Literature for her works, which were "marked by visionary intensity and lyrical import, gives life to an important component of American reality." Toni Morrison was the first black woman to win the prize, regardless of nationality.


    Famous Novels: Beloved (1987), Song of Solomon (1977), The Bluest Eye (1970),...

    Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison
  6. By the time Henry James (April 15, 1843 – February 28, 1916) was in his mid-twenties, he had established himself as one of America's most accomplished short story writers. James was an incredibly popular writer. During his fifty-year creative career, he wrote thirty-six volumes of stories and novels, as well as a nearly equal number of volumes of non-fiction work.


    The latter part of his literary career is recognized as his greatest work. Three of his most celebrated works were written during this time: The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903), and The Golden Bowl (1904). James has also been recognized for his novella The Turn of the Screw, which is generally considered to be one of the most analyzed and ambiguous ghost stories ever written in English. James is recognized as a key character in the shift from literary realism to literary modernism. In 1911, 1912, and 1916, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Many people believe him to be one of the greatest writers of all time.


    Famous Novels: The Turn of the Screw (1898), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Ambassadors (1903),...

    Henry James
    Henry James
    Henry James
    Henry James
  7. John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and inventive novels, which combine compassionate humor with acute social awareness." John Steinbeck is widely recognized as one of America's best writers of the twentieth century, he is also called "A titan of American letters".


    Cup of Gold, Steinbeck's first novel, was published in 1929. In 1935, he had his first critical triumph with Tortilla Flat. It was later adapted into a film of the same name, released in 1942. In his career, Steinbeck published 33 works, including 16 novels, 6 nonfiction volumes, and two collections of short tales. In 1939, he released The Grapes of Wrath, which went on to win the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Several of his works are regarded as Western literary classics and are mandatory reading in high schools in the United States.


    Famous Novels: The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Of Mice and Men (1937), East of Eden (1952)

    John Steinbeck
    John Steinbeck
    John Steinbeck
    John Steinbeck
  8. Jerome David Salinger (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American writer best known for The Catcher in the Rye, which he published in 1951. Before the book's release, Salinger wrote many short stories in Story magazine and served in WWII. His critically lauded tale "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" first appeared in The New Yorker in 1948, and from that, the magazine go on to print most of his subsequent work.


    The Catcher in the Rye, his most renowned work, was published in 1945–1946 and then released as a novel in 1951. It was an immediate hit with the public, and it has since been ranked as one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. Following the novel, he published Nine Stories (1953), a collection of short stories that was highly acclaimed and influenced writers such as Philip Roth, John Updike, and Harold Brodkey. Salinger's final published work was a novella named Hapworth 16, 1924, which was published in The New Yorker in 1965.


    Famous Novels: The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters (1955), Seymour: An Introduction (1955),...

    J.D Salinger
    J.D Salinger
    J.D Salinger
    J.D Salinger
  9. Joseph Heller (May 1, 1923 – December 12, 1999) was an American writer, short story writer, dramatist, and screenwriter. Heller began famous for writing Catch-22 in 1953, a masterpiece that would permanently solidify his place in American literature. The novel is widely recognized as one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century, set during World War II.


    Heller went on to write six more books, all of which were well-received. However, the popularity of Catch-22 unavoidably eclipsed them. Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here (1998) was Heller's autobiography, and his dramatic work includes the play We Bombed in New Haven (1968).


    Famous Novels: Catch-22 (1961), Something Happened (1974), Closing Time (1994),...

    Joseph Heller
    Joseph Heller
    Joseph Heller
    Joseph Heller
  10. John Griffith London (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American writer, journalist, and social activist. He was one of the first American writers to achieve international fame and earn a substantial fortune from writing. He was a pioneer of commercial fiction and American magazines. He was also a pioneer in the science fiction genre that would eventually be named after him.


    London was a member of San Francisco's radical literary group "The Crowd" and a strong defender of unionization, workers' rights, socialism, and eugenics. The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set during the Klondike Gold Rush, are among his best-known works, as are the short pieces "To Build a Fire," "An Odyssey of the North," and "Love of Life".


    Famous Novels: The Call of the Wild (1903), White Fang (1906), Martin Eden (1909),...

    Jack London
    Jack London
    Jack London
    Jack London



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