A monthly roundup of writers past and present that we just can’t get 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. In Writers of the Month we feature 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
Robert Hunter was the lyricist for the Grateful Dead. Summer is about having fun! Hearing a Dead song on the radio while I’m driving always causes some tapping on the steering wheel and, if no one else is with me, some singing in the car. Robert Hunter’s lyrics are what gets the stadiums full of Dead Heads singing along. Can’t you smell the… patchouli, and hear the bells on the shoes of the twirling girls? Believe it if you need it, if you don’t just pass it on. Gotta make it somehow on the dreams you still believe in. Have a great summer!
—Christopher, Director of Operations
Terry Matalas is a screenwriter best known for 12 Monkeys. He is also the showrunner for season two of Star Trek: Picard. But 12 Monkeys is a time travel show, inspired by the very weird Brad Pitt-Bruce Willis movie, so if that sort of thing makes you itch, you should know right up front that it’s not about time travel. It’s about time, and love, and consequences. A group of misfits tries to stop a plague, each for their own reasons, and eventually they meet themselves, going forward or back, and have to figure out if they can forgive themselves and each other for the things they do to stay alive. As we all do, sooner or later. Also, at one point, the best character ever to appear on television sings P!nk’s song “U + Ur Hand” to Hitler.
—Allison, Program Director
I first heard of Okorafor when she visited the American Writers Museum in 2018, and quickly became a big fan. She creates science fiction worlds that feel real, diverse, and simultaneously magical. It is easy to see the ways that she is commenting on current situations in her writing without being overbearing. She also writes across multiple mediums–including novels, novellas, and comic books–so is easily accessible in that sense. I’d recommend starting to explore her work through the Binti novellas, or her run on Black Panther or Shuri.
—Ari, Data Operations Coordinator
July 14 marks the birthdate of Peggy Parish who created the famous character Amelia Bedelia, who always made me laugh as a kid. The loveable housekeeper is always mixing instructions up because she takes everything literally, from dressing the chicken to drawing the drapes. Parish was an educator who created stories for her students before publishing her first book in 1961 and she wrote nearly a dozen Amelia Bedelia books during her lifetime. While perusing books in the children’s section recently at our local library with my six-year-old, I came across Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia where she had the students plant light bulbs instead of flower bulbs in a pot, but what I noticed more this time around was the book’s dedication “For Miss Rose, my first-grade teacher, who introduced me to the magic of words, with love.”
—Karie, Director of Marketing & Private Events
I obsessively recommend The Name of the Wind to basically everyone I know who likes to read. Even people who don’t like fantasy have loved this book, but I will caution that it is the first in an unfinished trilogy. However, he also has several short stories, a novella that makes me cry every single time I read it, and a charming children’s book. His incredibly beautiful prose and dedication to worldbuilding is some of the most engaging writing I’ve come across in the fantasy genre. If you like The Name of the Wind, or are intrigued by his short stories but not quite ready to get into another book series that isn’t finished (looking at you Martin), Brandon Sanderson is another of my favorites, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is also great.
—Ari, Data Operations Coordinator