New York’s Greatest Living Writers

NYC is called home by some of the most important and influential writers of our time – see our Top Ten picks.

New York City has long been at the center of the American literary universe, providing a workspace and place to live for some of the greats in American literary history. Although it has lost some of its grit since the likes of Henry Miller lived there, it is still called home by countless contemporary writers. Flavorwire posted a great article highlighting New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers, below are 10 interesting picks from that list:

Patti Smith

Few writers capture the nostalgic spirit of New York City like Patti Smith. With her National Book Award-winning 2010 memoir, Just Kids, as well as her poetry, Smith has made an everlasting mark on our cultural history.

Edward Albee

One of America’s greatest living playwrights, the eminent Edward Albee has received three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama — and was robbed of a fourth, for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, when the prize jury was overruled by the advisory committee. Known for his narrative power and biting, perfectly crafted dialogue, Albee has been influencing the stage, and our culture at large, for more than 50 years — and counting.

Paul Auster

Not only is Paul Auster an important writer who happens to live in New York, he is an important writer to New York, setting several (and arguably the best) of his works there: The New York TrilogyThe Brooklyn Follies, and Moon Palace. 

Janet Malcolm

Malcolm has pushed some buttons over the course of her career, including the time she was publicly raked over the coals in a 1984 lawsuit, when the subject of The Freud Archives claimed she had fabricated quotes. But she has also written some of the most brilliant, insightful, take-no-prisoners non-fiction of our age, laying brutally bare everyone and everything in her path — Sylvia Plath, Freud, Journalism, the list goes on.

Tom Wolfe

Wolfe is one of the figureheads of the New Journalism movement, a “man from mars,” a sixties cultural icon, a pugnacious modern literary giant, and, of course, a celebrated novelist whose debut novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, is an essential New York City book if ever there was one. In 2010, Wolfe was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Zadie Smith

Smith took the literary world by storm in 2000 with her debut novel White Teeth, and again with On Beauty in 2005, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and won the Orange Prize for fiction.

Thomas Pynchon

A recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, almost every one of the notoriously private author’s novels have been received as classics, from his debut V., which was a finalist for the National Book Award, to 1974′s Gravity’s Rainbow, which won that prize, to the insanely good Mason & Dixon.

Salman Rushdie

The author of several novels, collections, and two very charming children’s books, Rushdie is well-loved by many for his deft combinations of historical fiction and magical realism, as well as his incisive post-colonial view and the flat-out ambition of his literary works. His fourth novel,The Satanic Verses, garnered a different kind of attention, causing high controversy in the Muslim world and resulting in a fatwa requiring Rushdie’s execution on sight — a terrible thing, to be sure, but also indelible proof of the power of Rushdie’s prose. This year, he published Joseph Anton: A Memoir, which recounts his time in hiding.

Joan Didion

What to say about the incredible, essential, incomparable Joan Didion? Her prose is ruthless and pristine, each essay an open-heart surgery on the state of American culture, each sentence elegant and true. Known for her investigative literary journalism, her fiction, and, most recently, her heartbreaking memoirs about the loss of her husband and daughter, Didion has shaped the way thousands see their country — and, of course, themselves.

Philip Roth

Roth’s works are highly lauded, both for their literary merit and their iconic investigations of Jewish, American, and Jewish-American identity. The author has been showered with almost every award — the Pulitzer, two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards — except, famously and tragically, the Nobel. In 2002, he was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, in 2007 he was bestowed with the first ever PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and in 2011, he was awarded the biennial Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement.

You continue reading at Flavorwire and check out the entire list of 100 great New York authors.

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