A monthly roundup of writers past and present that we just can’t read enough of.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Welcome to our monthly blog series in which we share some of our favorite writers, past and present. The Writers of the Month we feature are those writers who we always return to and no matter how many times we read them they make us feel something new. The ones who, when they announce a new book or film or television series, we go straight to the preorder page or queue it up. The writers whose Instagram stories we always watch and whose tweets we always retweet. The writers who feel almost like a real friend.
This series is not meant to determine the Best Writer, but rather to highlight the writers each of us at the American Writers Museum are particularly fond of in a given month, a day, a moment. We hope to introduce you to writers you’re unfamiliar with or inspire you to revisit a writer you haven’t read in a while. Perhaps you’ll see your favorite writer on one of our lists!
Edited by Nate King
I have long admired Maya Angelou for her work and her legacy as a poet, writer, activist, and icon, but I must admit I have not read her work a great deal. I have read a good amount of her poems, like “Phenomenal Woman,” which is honored in the AWM’s Surprise Bookshelf exhibit, but for some reason I have never read her autobiographical work. I can’t believe I’ve missed out this long! I am currently reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and it is stunning. The language, the flow, the imagery. It’s she is sitting across the table from me, sharing stories and life advice. I also recently had the honor of interviewing Nikki Giovanni and Glory Edim about Angelou for this month’s episode of the Nation of Writers podcast. The episode airs April 28, so be sure to subscribe to get notified when it’s available!
—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator
Ray Bradbury is a science fiction icon. As a huge fan of the genre since I was a kid, I’ve been reading Bradbury stories a long time. What I have been surprised about is how many genres and mediums he wrote in. There’s a Bradbury story for everyone, and each one has a little nugget of truth about humanity. I’d particularly recommend Dandelion Wine this spring, it’s the perfect way to remember to enjoy the little things on long walks as it warms up. I also highly recommend you check out our newest virtual exhibit Ray Bradbury: Inextinguishable, launching April 14. Jam-packed with 3D images of Bradbury artifacts and stories about the literary icon, this exhibit explores his enduring legacy and continued relevance today.
—Ari, Data Operations Coordinator
As I’m sure many of you were as well, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Beverly Cleary last month. The librarian and iconic children’s book author was 104 years old. Since she began writing in 1950, her books have sold more than 91 million copies worldwide and she gave us some of the most authentic characters in children’s literature like Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse and more. I happened to be with my parents when we heard she had passed away, and I was impressed by her impact on even them. My mom is an early elementary special education teacher, so she is very familiar with Cleary. I was surprised to hear my dad’s take though, as he remembers reading Henry Huggins as a kid and falling in love with stories then. It’s amazing how one writer like Cleary has been able to introduce generations of kids to literature and make them avid readers for life, and whose work will continue to do that and live on even though she has passed.
—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator
Frank Stanford is a tragic figure, even for a poet. An incredibly gifted Southern writer that used images from nature to color his poems. Frank struggled in his short time on earth and ultimately took his own life with three self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the chest. His poetry lives on and he has, in my opinion, one of the greatest short poems ever written, up there with William Carlos Williams’ “This Is Just to Say,” and it is called “The Minnow.”
—Christopher, Director of Operations
There was only one time I discovered a new favorite author in an airport bookstore. I bought The Financial Lives of the Poets (on my husband’s recommendation but still, the airport bookstore). It’s funny. I finished it on the trip, when we used to fly to places, then read Beautiful Ruins and his most recent novel, The Cold Millions. All different, all good. His books provide lots to discuss with my book club, which consists of my husband and me. Jess Walter is a talented writer who is deeply devoted to his characters, his research, his words.
—Linda, Director of Development