We all have our favourite writers – those whose newest work we will rush to buy, those we just can’t put down, those who changed our lives with their words. I always hate the question “who’s your favourite author?” because it isn’t a simple question, or one with a single answer. I love many writers for many different reasons.
Today I thought it might be fun to tell you about three such writers who inspire me – three whose work I return to again and again and again, and find something new to love every time.
In my early 20s, I read every single book Picoult had ever written, one after another. Since then, I’ve eagerly bought all her new books as they come out, often inhaling them in one sitting.
Why? I think there’s three things at play here: her work is compulsively readable, her characters are easy to care about, and she tackles important issues unflinchingly. Picoult has handled issues including school shootings (Nineteen Minutes, 2007), medical abuse (My Sisters Keeper, 2004), the holocaust (The Storyteller, 2013), and abortion rights (A Spark of Light, 2018). Almost every one of her books has stayed with me long after turning the last page.
Not only that, but they’re incredibly rereadable. I’ve probably read Nineteen Minutes about ten times (not to mention adapting it into a short play at university), and I still find something new in it every single time.
I love Waters because she tells the stories that others aren’t telling. She writes primarily historical fiction, but doesn’t focus on the kings and queens and famous figures we’ve all heard of. Instead, Waters’ stories centre on ordinary people, on women and particularly on queer women. We learn about the times and the places through the lens of these stories, which feature hardship and oppression but also tend to be ultimately hopeful.
[Slight spoiler alert] Tipping the Velvet (1998) was the first book I read where a queer woman gets a happy ending. As an eighteen year old bi girl, that was pretty powerful!
The first book of Brownrigg’s I read was the beautifully written but ultimately forgettable Morality Tale (2008) [spoiler: married woman meets man she fancies, considers cheating on husband, decides not to.] Though I didn’t care for the plot, such as it is, I was hooked on Brownrigg’s lyrical prose and gorgeous way of describing even the mundanities of life.
Then I picked up Pages For You (2001), which remains one of my all-time favourite books. Another simple tale (a doomed love affair between a university student and her much older teacher), it captures the obsession and the bliss and the ultimate devastation of first love perfectly. (Incidentally, the sequal Pages for Her (2017) is almost as good.) Brownrigg’s writing style is simply among the most beautiful I have ever read.
Which authors inspire you?
Tell me about your favourites and the writers who inspire you in the comments, or on this piece’s post on Instagram!