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Top 10 Famous Living Writers of the World

Kumar Paral is a writer, a culture enthusiast, and a bibliophile.

This article lists the most famous living writers based on their contribution to world literature. Creativity, saturated imagination, universality, characterisation, and sense of ironic humour are main criteria used to prepare this list. Please feel free to share your criticism and opinion by commenting below.

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa

1. Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru (born March 28, 1936) is one of the most popular contemporary Latin American writer, who is also an active political activist. Llosa won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010. The major themes of his novels are centred around human tragedies and loss of identities under dictatorships, and the helplessness of the oppressed in temporalities of totalitarianism.

Mario Vargas Llosa's Famous Works:

  • The Feast of the Goat
  • The War of the End of the World
  • The Way to Paradise
  • In Praise of the Stepmother
  • The Cubs and Other Stories
  • The Discreet Hero
  • The Neighbourhood

2. Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera (born on April 1, 1929) is one of the most celebrated contemporary literary figures of the world. Even though he was born in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), he likes to be called a French writer. As Kundera has been a witness of the catastrophes of the second world war, the inhuman cruelties of various totalitarian rulers and cold-blooded spatial displacements, his novels express how dictatorships, wars and spatial rootlessness affect the people.

Milan Kundera's Famous Works:

  • The Joke
  • The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • The Festival of Insignificance

3. Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie (born June 19, 1947) is a prominent British contemporary writer renowned for his writing as well as for his scathing criticism on orthodox religions and totalitarian states. His masterpiece, Midnight's Children, is trying to mediate over the creation of India and Pakistan by the partition of an undivided India and their post-partition woes. It won the Booker Prize in 1981 and The Booker of Booker in 1993. The Satanic Verses, Rushdie's most controversial novel, which has been banned in many countries, put his life seriously at risk due to death threats from orthodox Muslim sects.

Salman Rushdie's Famous Works:

  • The Moor’s Last Sigh
  • The Ground Beneath Her Feet
  • Fury
  • Shalimar the Clown
  • The Enchantress of Florence
  • The Golden House and Quichotte

4. Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian writer who has attempted to reclaim the Canadian identity through her fiction and criticism. Atwood's novels and poems have always expressed the deep sorrows and intense pain of persons with fragmented conscience. The writer has won Booker Price twice: in 2000 for The Blind Assassin and in 2019 for The Testaments.

Margaret Atwood's Famous Works:

  • Scribbler Moon
  • The Heart Goes Last
  • Hag-Seed
  • The Surfacing
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Robber Bride
  • The Blind Assassin
  • The Testaments

5. Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro (born November 8, 1954) is a great Japanese writer who attempts to unravel intricate relationships of people with strata of temporal displacements, by reclaiming the varied experiences in spatial peripheries of lived space. Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2017, always like to meditate on the past which was filled with unimaginable horrors and unthinkable tragedies and observes that all confrontationsare the perpetuation of the what had already occurred.

Kazuo Ishiguro's Famous Works:

  • A Pale View of Hills
  • The Remains of the Day
  • The Unconsoled
  • Never Let Me Go
  • The Buried Giant

6. Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel (born July 6, 1952) is the first woman writer who won Booker Prize twice: in 2012 for Bring Up The Bodies, 2009 for Wolf Hall. These award-winning novels are part of a trilogy on the life and times of Oliver Cromwell, and its last part, The Mirror and the Light, has been published in 2020.

Mantel, who draws inspiration mostly from the annals of history, has fictionalised the past to vivify cataclysmic experiences which are tragic and unavoidable. Mantel's historical novels and memoirs always embed a prophetic note as the author uses history to tell human idiosyncrasies and fallacies.

Hilary Mantel's Famous Works:

  • The Thomas Cromwell Trilogy
  • Vacant Possession
  • Eight Months on Ghazzah Street
  • An Experiment in Love

7. Alice Walker

Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an outstanding writer whose works celebrate Afro-American culture and identity. Walker has written novels, short stories and poems, which attempt to discover coordinates of tangible identities of individual in multi-racial societies. She has used literature for realign the social and cultural structures of the Afro-American community by integrating their fragmented conscience. The Colour Purple, a novel which expresses the trials and tribulations of Afro-American people, is considered as her masterpiece.

Alice Walker's Famous Works:

  • Meridian
  • The Colour Purple
  • To Hell With Dying
  • The Temple of My Familiar
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart

8. Mo Yan

Mo Yan (born February 17, 1955), who won Nobel Prize for literature in 2012, redefined the sensibilities of readers through his novels and short stories. He has created his own narrative style infusing invigorated traditional folk narratives of China with magical realism and temporal imagination which he has used for polysensorial multifocalization. Mo Yan's novels express anguish and anxieties of common man in totalitarian societies without explicitly criticising the state.

Mo Yan's Famous Works:

  • Red Sorghum
  • The Republic of Wine
  • Red Forest
  • Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out
  • Frog

9. Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy (born 24 November 1961) is an Indian Booker-Prize-winning author who got this award for her début novel, The God of Small Things. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Roy's latest novel portrays the life of a transgender person, whose cultural incarnations create upheavals in society which always try to conceal biological aberrations. Roy, an ardent social and political critic and activist, has written a number of nonfiction works also.

Arundhati Roy's Famous Works:

  • The God of Small Things
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
  • The End of Imagination
  • The Greater Common Good
  • The Algebra of Infinite Justice
  • Public Power in the Age of Empire

10. Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini (born March 4, 1965) is an Afghanistani-American author of best-selling novels which are mostly set in Afghanistan and its troubled temporal terrains. Hosseini reveals helplessness and misfortunes of individuals due to spatial dislocation and the familial catastrophes emanated from issues which are out of their control. His novels always refer familial relations as harmonising factor of individual conscience and the loss of faith is the greatest tragedy in life.

Khaled Hosseini's Famous Works:

  • The Kite Runner
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • And the Mountains Echoed
  • Sea Prayer

Readers' Poll

Nobel Prize in Literature 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa, Banquet Speech

Readers' Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who is the first woman to win the Booker Prize prize twice ?
    • Hilary Mantel
    • Margaret Atwood

Answer Key

  1. Hilary Mantel

© 2020 Kumar Paral

Comments

Leroy Klauser Lee on April 17, 2020:

Would have been better if Harper Lee is included.

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on April 17, 2020:

I like this.