The Top Contemporary and Late-20th-Century Authors You Have to Know

There are many amazing authors in every generation whose work can greatly influence the way an entire group of people perceives the world. However, only a few can truly leave a mark with their words, and these are the ones every literature lover must get to know. To their credit, they have produced works that are considered to be historically significant and are certainly worth exploring further. Whether it be in the realm of fiction or non-fiction, here is our list of the most important authors you have to get to know.


1.Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende published her debut novel House of Spirits to much acclaim back in 1982. The novel was initially written as a letter to her grandfather, just as he passed away. Like many of her other works, the book is centered on magical realism that navigates us through the history of Chile. Allende’s books are characterized by strongly written female characters, which makes it a great investment for women looking for representation in modern literature.

2.Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of the most critically acclaimed authors on our list. She has numerous novels to her name, including her best-sellers, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, and The Handmaid’s Tale, which was recently adapted into a TV series by Netflix. Atwood is also one of the most prolific contemporary writers and her work encompasses different formats, such as short stories, essays, and even poetry. The feminist themes and often dystopian settings in her work have won her plenty of credit, as well as the admiration of a younger generation of readers.

3.Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is strongly associated with his novel Atonement, which was later adapted into a highly successful film. Whilst Joe Wright’s interpretation of the timeless story was gorgeous, to say the least, it is best to read the source material as it contains many other details that the film was not able to fully express.

Aside from Atonement, he has also written a number of other influential works, including his very first book First Love, Last Rites, which was published in 1976. Most of McEwan’s work is distinguished by intimate looks into his character’s personal lives and is often set in a politically unstable world. His prose can easily make something as mundane as the flooring seem romantic.

4.Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese author whose works often have a thread of magical realism running through them. Over the course of his career, he has managed to create a very distinct writing style for himself, one that leaves a lingering melancholy long after the reader has turned to the final page of the book. In the West, his most popular books are Kafka on the Shore, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and 1Q84. Like others on this list, some of his work has also been adapted into films, including the novel Norwegian Wood.

5.Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, which was published in 1987, is a visceral portrait of the enslavement of her people and its aftermath. In a 2006 New York Times Book Review survey, it was given credit as the best novel for the past 25 years, and rightfully so. It offers people a look into what true horror is from the perspective of someone who has had to live through it. For her work, Morrison also won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize, which was later followed by the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

Did you find your favorites on our list or, perhaps, discovered a new author who has piqued your curiosity? While they may not be as recognizable as other mainstream authors, their works are just as significant and should be a must-read for any book lover. Include them in your investment planning if you’re looking to expand your reading.