Tuesday, Nov. 1, is National Author’s Day, a day set aside to honor some of the literary greats of the 21st century. All around the world, people are taking to Twitter to pay their respects to their favorite author under the hashtag #NationalAuthorsDay.
In 1928, according to National Day Calendar, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Women’s Club in Bement, Illinois, thought of the idea to set aside a day to honor American authors. The inspiration came after receiving an autographed copy of “Eben Holden’s Last Day A’ Fishin” by fiction writer Irving Bacheller, to whom McPherson wrote a fan letter while she was in the hospital. Overwhelmed with gratitude, McPherson decided to show her appreciation by submitting a proposal for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
The organization passed the proposal, officially declaring Nov. 1 as a day dedicated to American authors, which was eventually recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1949.
In recognition of National Author's Day 2016, we’ve compiled a list of who we think are the best storytellers of 2016.
6. Emma Cline
California fiction writer Emma Cline has published pieces in Tin House, Granta and The Paris Review. She also received the 2014 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for her story "Marion," according to her website.
"The Girls," published in June of 2016, is Cline’s first novel. According to Goodreads, it’s about a reclusive teenager named Evie Boyd, who meets a group of girls and is immediately captivated by their careless and free spirits. Before long, she has left her old life behind and is living in what has become an infamous cult, confronting Boyd with unthinkable choices.
5. Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is a bestselling author of 23 novels, her first one published in 1992. According to her website, her last nine novels debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list, including "Small Great Things," published in October 2016.
"Small Great Things" tackles issues of race, privilege, justice and compassion. Ruth Jefferson, the story’s protagonist, is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital. She begins a checkup on a newborn infant, but a pair of white supremacist parents refuse to let her touch their child.
The next day, the infant goes into cardiac distress and dies after Jefferson delays to help. Things get even more difficult as she is charged with a serious crime and the case garners national media attention. As she navigates the trial, Jefferson realizes that her perceptions of herself and others might are misguided.
4. Nicholas Sparks
The author of 18 novels and one of America’s most cherished storytellers, Nicholas Sparks has sold over 105 million copies of his books worldwide, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers, according to his website.
His first and one of his most popular novels, "The Notebook," was published in 1996 and became a hit movie, as were many of his books. His newest novel, "Two By Two," was published in October 2016, which explores the special bond between a father and his daughter and the unconditional love he has for her.
3. Paula Hawkins
A journalist for 15 years before becoming a fiction writer, Paula Hawkins published her first thriller, "The Girl on the Train," in 2015. According to Hawkins’ website, the story follows a girl named Rachel, who rides the same commuter train every day. One day, she witnesses something shocking. She tells the police, and eventually finds herself deeply involved in the investigation and those it involves, leading her to wonder if she has done more harm than good.
The novel debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list and is currently being published all over the world. The story was adapted into a film in October 2016.
2. Paul Kalanithi
Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer who died in 2015 of lung cancer. Throughout his memoir, "When Breath Becomes Air," Kalanithi chronicles his own journey from a young medical student to a surgeon at Stanford. Obsessed with the topic of mortality, Kalanithi explores his questions of how to live a meaningful life, even as he’s dying, according to his website.
His memoir, which he died while working on, was published in January of 2016 and became a number one New York Times bestseller.
1. J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling has garnered worldwide fame for her Harry Potter fantasy series. The most recent installment, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," was written in the form of a two-part play and published in July of 2016. It debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list and sold over two million print copies in its first 48 hours in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Wall Street Journal.