So Amy post got me thinking. What famous writers are from Missouri? Two immediately popped to mind followed quickly by a third but there have to be more than that right? Well I went looking to find the answer.
I’ll start with my first three:
Laurell K Hamilton – I’ve written posts before about her Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series. She’s not only a Missouri author she’s a Saint Louis author, the suburb she lives in is not far from the one I live in. I’ve wondered if I could cross paths with her and not go into fangirl mode, nope not likely. Her books have become increasingly popular with each new release and she has a large following on Facebook. She’s one of the most upfront authors I follow about her personal life.
Mark Twain – If you went to school in the US you probably read one of this man’s books at some point in your educational career, chances are it was Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. Being a Missourian I read both and had a small roll in a play version of Tom Sawyer in eighth grade.
Laura Ingalls Wilder – I read all of the Little House books as a girl. I never realized she was considered a Missouri writer. She didn’t begin writing her books until after the Depression. She had already begun writing for a small newspaper in her final hometown of Mansfield, MO.
Now for my research. I knew I’d heard of other authors and many famous Missourians in two way first when I was in college at Southeast Missouri State University, a school mentioned in Huck Finn by the way under it’s original name as the Normal School yep that’s a point of pride for my alma mater, anyway in Cape there is a mural on the flood wall at the Mississippi of Famous Missourians. Then my kiddo was in fourth grade last year and here that’s when kiddos study our home state, though I hear that may be changing grade levels.
T.S. Eliot – Born and raised in Missouri he moved to England as an adult, married and settled there renouncing his American citizenship but we Missourians still claim him. While Eliot is a poet his poems in the book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats has been turned into the world famous Broadway musical Cats, one my personal favorites so when I came across the book I jumped at the chance to own it.
Maya Angelou – Also born in MO, lived both there and in Arkansas is well known for being National Poet Laureate as well as writing books. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is her own powerful story up to the age of seventeen.
Langston Hughes – A well known African American author, poet, and playwright Hughes also wrote for children and two autobiographies.
Patricia McKissack – One of my favorite children’s/young adult authors. She has written three books for the Dear America series, one of the Royal Diary series, as well as several biographies of well known African Americans, and several books with her husband Frederick.
Kay Thompson – The author of the Eloise books the story of a young girl who lives at The Plaza in New York City. The stories have become so popular that Eloise has an actual room at The Plaza.
Tennessee Williams – Have you seen or read A Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, those are just two of the best known plays by Williams whose family moved to St. Louis when he was eight years old.
So tell us about the writers from your state. You know we’re always looking for books to add to our reading lists!