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
I always find myself coming back to Isaac Asimov. While some of the ‘science’ in his science fiction may seem a bit dated, there’s still something gripping about his work. He covered a lot of theoretical ground in his life, whether it be a child and her robot best friend in “Robbie”, to the ramifications of nightfall in a world where the sun never sets in “Nightfall”, to a thousand-year long space epic in his Foundation series. He even branched out into non-fiction pop science works as well. Even as they approach complex theoretical questions, there’s an unquestionable humanity to his books; even in a world of spaceships and robots, people are still confused, gleeful, petty, and everything else.
I recently read, for the first time, Bourdain’s iconic book Kitchen Confidential and I always knew he was a good writer but I never knew to what extent. Of course, we know him as a great chef, a television superstar, and so much more and I was still stunned by his writing. He has a distinct voice and writes in the direct manner of speech that all the cooks and back-of-house restaurant workers I’ve worked with have talked. It was fascinating and impressive to me that he would write in the early morning before his kitchen shifts, work hard all day, party even harder all night, then write again in the morning. That’s a writer’s writer. I am excited to speak with Laurie Woolever about Bourdain for the next episode of the Nation of Writers podcast. For nearly a decade, Woolever “worked as the lieutenant” to Bourdain and her forthcoming book Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography is a deep and intimate portrait of the late Bourdain. I am very much looking forward to talking with Woolever about the book, hers and Bourdain’s writing processes, and Anthony Bourdain the writer. Subscribe so you know when the episode airs!
—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator
A writer, best known as a poet, but a talented writer that is not to be tied to a specific genre. Her poetry often combines historical with the personal and is noted for its lycirism. Rita has won a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry and is a former United States Poet Laureate. In addition to poetry, Rita has published fiction and is an acclaimed lyricist. For me the poet in Rita shines in everything that she writes.
—Christopher, Director of Operations
Marguerite Henry was a children’s book author who primarily wrote about horses and other animals. As a kid who was obsessed with horses and reading, her books felt like they were written just for me. As back-to-school season hits, I sometimes get nostalgic for the books I read when I was younger. Henry’s books are fun and full of heart, always a sure way to cheer me up when I’m feeling in a slump. She won the Newbery Medal in 1949 for The King of the Wind, so that’s a great place to start if you’ve never read her books (or know a horse-obsessed child who needs more reading material), but I also have a soft spot for the Misty of Chincoteague series.
—Ari, Data Operations Coordinator
Colson Whitehead has won two Pulitzer Prizes, one National Book Award, many fellowships, and my respect. The awards alone are enough to warrant a space for him here, but for me personally Whitehead’s 2016 novel The Underground Railroad reminded me of the beauty of language and the power of stories. In short, he reminded me of the joy of reading. I had lost it over the course of the pandemic, but his prose and ideas reinvigorated me. We just recently hosted him on the AWM Stage to close out Printers Row Lit Fest and gave away copies of his new novel Harlem Shuffle. He spoke to a packed, vaccinated crowd and reinvigorated me further. There is a lot more I could say, but I am going to stop writing this so I can go back to reading Harlem Shuffle.
—Nate, Content & Communications Coordinator