Recs + links

Reading Recs: Contemporary Writers

Contemporary means essentially major works ~1980 to now. This obviously leaves out some big names and classics, but this timeframe is where I do most of my reading. These lists are far from exhaustive; I’ll update it as I can, hopefully soon with links. All alpha by first name.

Note for 2020: I’ve updated this list to emphasize first Black contemporary writers.

Contemporary Black fiction + creative nonfiction writers

Alice Walker

Angela Flournoy

Angie Thomas

Anthony Grooms

Audre Lorde

Ayana Mathis

Brit Bennett

Bryan Washington

Charles Blow

Chimimanda Ngoze Adiche

Colson Whitehead

Danielle Evans

Edward P. Jones

Edwidge Danticat

Elizabeth Acevedo

Heidi Durrow

Helen Oyeyemi

Hilton Als

Imbolo Mbue

Jamaica Kincaid

Jamel Brinkley

James McBride

James Alan McPherson

Jacquelyn Woodson

Jeffrey Renard Allen

Jesmyn Ward

John Edgar Wideman

Kaitlyn Greenidge

Kiese Laymon

Marlon James

Mat Johnson

Maxine Clair

Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Nicole Dennis-Benn

Octavia Butler

Patrice Gopo

Paul Beatty

Pearle Cleage

Percival Everett

Randall Kenan

Ravi Howard

Rivers Solomon

Roxane Gay

Samantha Irby

Samuel Delaney

Stephanie Powell Watts

Ta-Nehesi Coates

Taiye Selasi

Tayari Jones

Teju Cole

Terry McMillan

Toni Morrison

Victor LaValle

Yaa Gyasi

Zadie Smith

Zinzi Clemmons

ZZ Packer

Contemporary Black poets

Allison Joseph

A. Van Jordan

Carl Phillips

Camille Dungy

Cave Canem: showcases Black poets (founded by Cornelius Eady and Toi Dellacotte)

Claudia Rankine

Danez Smith

Erica Dawson

Eve Ewing

Evie Shockley

Hanif Abdurraquib

Gary Jackson

Grace Ocasio

Jamaal May

Jericho Brown

Honoree Jeffers

Kevin Young

Kiki Petrosino

Kwame Dawes

Major Jackson

Marilyn Nelson

Mitchell L.H. Douglas

Natasha Tretheway

Nikki Finney

Nikki Giovanni

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Rickey Laurentiis

Rita Dove

Ross Gay

Ruth Ellen Kocher

Saeed Jones

Safiya Sinclair

Sonia Sanchez

Stephanie Pruitt Gaines

Terrance Hayes

Tiana Clark

Tracy K. Smith

Tyehimba Jess

Yusef Komunyakaa

More fiction + nonfiction writers + graphic novelists

Aimee Bender

A.M. Homes

Aleksander Hemon

Alex Espinoza

Alexander Chee

Alice Munro

Alison Bechdel

Andrea Barrett

Ann Cummins

Annie Proulx

Antonya Nelson

Amy Benson

Amy Bloom

Amy Hempel

Ann Beattie

Annie Dillard

Art Spiegelman

Arundahti Roy

Bret Lott

Brian Doyle

Carol Anshaw

Carmen Maria Machado

Celeste Ng

Charles Baxter

Chantel Acevedo

Chitra Divakaruni

Cheryl Strayed

Claire Vaye Watkins

Colm Toibin

Colum McCann

Cormac McCarthy

Cristina Garcia

Dan Chaon

David Means

David Sedaris

Deborah Eisenberg

Denis Johnson

Derek Palacio

Dinty W. Moore

Don Delillo

Dorothy Allison

Dustin M. Hoffman

Elizabeth McCracken

Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Wetmore

Etaf Rum

Eula Biss

Eugene Cross

Francine Prose

George Saunders

Grace Paley

Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams

Harrison Candelaria Fletcher

Hernan Diaz

Jayne Anne Phillips

Jeffrey Eugenides

Jennifer Egan

Jennifer S. Davis

Jennine Capó Crucet

Jill McCorkle

Jim Braziel

Jim Grimsley

J.M. Coetzee

Joan Didion

John Rowell

Joy Castro

Julia Alvarez

Julia Glass

Julie Otsuka

Jhumpa Lahiri

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Junot Diaz

Justin Quarry

Kathryn Davis

Kazuo Ishigiro

Kent Haruf

Kerry Madden

Kevin Wilson

Lee Connell

Leslie Jamison

Leslie Marmon Silko

Liam Callanan

Lia Purpura

Lisa Ko

Lorraine López

Lorrie Moore

Louise Erdrich

Lucia Berlin

Luis Alberto Urrea

Lydia Davis

Maggie Nelson

Marilynne Robinson

Marjorie Gellhorn Sa’adah

Margaret Atwood

Margot Livesey

Marjane Satrapi

Mary Gaitskill

Mary Hood

Mary Karr

Mary Laura Philpott

Matthew Baker

Megan Stielstra

Megan Mayhew Bergman

Min Jin Lee

Mohsin Hamid

Mona Simpson

Nancy Reisman

Nina McConigley

Oscar Casares

Pam Houston

Pat Barker

Patti Smith

Paul Auster

Paula Martinac

Peter Guralnick

Peter Ho Davies

Pico Iyer

Rachel Khong

Raymond Carver

Rebecca Makkai

Richard Russo

Rick Moody

Rivka Galchen

Rohinton Mistry

Russell Banks

Richard Bausch

Sandra Cisneros

Sigrid Nunez

Sherman Alexie

Stephanie Soileau

Stuart Dybek

Ted Chiang

Tommy Orange

Tobias Wolff

Toni Jensen

Tim O’Brien

T.C. Boyle

Tony Earley

Ursula K. LeGuin

Valeria Luiselli

Viet Thanh Nguyen

William Gay

More poets (more tk)

Ada Limón

Adam Vines

Allison Hutchcraft

Beth Ann Fennelly

Blas Falconer

Brian Turner

Carolyn Forche

Christopher Davis

Eduardo C. Corral

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gary Soto

Jessica Jacobs

Joy Harjo

Kate Daniels

Li-Young Lee

Mark Jarman

Megan Levad

Maurice Manning

Natalie Diaz

Nickole Brown

Rick Hilles

Craft Texts

Alice LaPlante, Method and Madness: The Making of a Story

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

Aristotle, The Poetics

The Art of series at Graywolf Press

Brevity: Craft essays

Brenda Miller and Suzanna Paola, Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction

Bret Anthony Johnston, Naming the World

Dinty W. Moore, Crafting the Personal Essay

Edwidge Danticat, Create Dangerously

E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

Eudora Welty, The Eye of the Story: Selected Essays and Reviews

Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer

Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing

Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft and Imaginative Writing

Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction

John Dufresne, The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction

John Steinbeck, (Ed. Robert Demott.) Working Days

John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

Lee Gutkind, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction

Michael Kardos, The Art and Craft of Fiction

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Renni Browne and Dave King, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Sherry Ellis, Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writing & Teachers

Writing Resources

Poets & Writers

AWP

PEN America

Charlotte Center for Literary Arts

North Carolina Writers Network

North Carolina Arts Council

New Pages

LitHub

Electric Literature

Bookslut

The Rumpus

The Poetry Foundation

American Academy of Poets

The Paris Review Interviews

Book Riot