Writers of the Month

Writers of the Month — November 2021

A monthly roundup of writers past and present that we just can’t get enough of.

Estimated reading time: 6 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


Photo of Gertrude Beasley

Gertrude Beasley

I must admit I had never heard of Gertrude Beasley until about a week ago, but her story is heartbreaking and incredible. Her long-forgotten memoir My First Thirty Years is now in print again and we’re hosting the editors who rediscovered and reprinted it in an upcoming program in December. Originally published in France in 1925, it is a coming-of-age story of a young woman raised in rural Texas poverty, yet it was banned in the United States. Beasley’s memoir is brutally honest and she wrote about things that women of her era weren’t supposed to talk about: socialism, women’s reproductive rights, the struggles of the working class, abuse, sexuality, poverty. Beasley was far ahead of her time and wrote a memoir that the U.S. wasn’t ready for. What’s worse is that not only was her book suppressed, but so was Beasley herself. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1927 after living abroad for some years, she was committed to a mental hospital where she would remain for the rest of her life, passing away in 1955. Beasley’s writing scared the powers that be, showing the power of the written word and I am looking forward to learning more about her at our upcoming program, which you can register for here.

—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator


Photo of Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

He is a stand-up comedian, as well as an actor, director, and other slashes. Mike has written a New York Times bestseller and was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, but what I want to mention is his great podcast called Mike Birbiglia’s Working It Out where he discusses the comedy writing craft with many very famous and very funny comedians. Mike and his guests talk about all aspects of comedy writing and they even work on a few jokes together so listeners can really get a sense of how jokes get made.

—Christopher, Director of Operations


Photo of Todrick Hall

Todrick Hall

I have been in a funk recently, but Todrick Hall’s music has been helping me cheer up at least a little bit. Hall is a Renaissance Man in that he does a little bit of everything. A multi-talented rapper, singer-songwriter, YouTube star, choreographer, Broadway actor, and director, he’s got the creative arts pretty much covered. Supposedly he was on American Idol, but I did not find his music until he started doing original songs. His music is poppy, upbeat, delightfully risqué, and just fun. He also made a quarantine parody version of his own song, called “Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs” and it gives me the giggles every time. You can see the official lyric video here.

—Ari, Data Operations Coordinator


Photo of Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones

This is another upcoming program that I am very much looking forward to. We’ve partnered with Chicago Humanities Festival to present journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning force behind The 1619 Project. Now in book form, The 1619 Project challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation’s foundational date. This, naturally, upset a lot of people but the truth often does that. Hannah-Jones’ writing and this project illustrate the ability and necessity of words to inform us and present a different way at looking at our shared history. And when we look at things differently, we can notice their flaws and begin to correct them. Not everyone will like this but, once again, when the powers that be are all riled up, you know your work is doing its job.

—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator


Photo of Zitkála-Šá

Zitkála-Šá

I’ve been reading Zitkála-Šá’s work and researching her life this past month in preparation for an upcoming episode of our podcast Nation of Writers and, like all the writers on this list, she is impressive. Šá was a multi-talented writer who excelled in many different genres. She wrote autobiographical and cultural essays advocating for Native American rights. She rewrote folk tales from various tribes and cultures to present them to young readers and preserve them for history. She even wrote the first Native American opera, The Sun Dance Opera, which brought indigenous stories to new forms and audiences. I will let Ben Railton, who wrote about Šá for our blog, finish here: “Reading Zitkala-Ša provides a vital historical and literary context for bestselling contemporary authors…Ša stands as one of the truly unique and pioneering American writers.”

—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator

2 thoughts on “Writers of the Month — November 2021

  1. Sonia Adams says:

    Nikole Hannah-Jones has made a lot of strides since the inception of The 1619 Project. I look forward to reading the anthology as well as the companion picture book for young readers. Zitkala-Sa is another important activist writer whose folklore and nonfiction writings attest to the wisdom and resilence of Native people.

  2. Otithi says:

    Reading books is a very good habit or hobby. I also like to read books. Nice books are making a deep impact on our life. American writers museum is a nice opportunity to collect the best books online.

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