In my mind, my favourite writers are organised in a heirarchy of how desperately I will try to get my hands on their latest book.
For instance, as soon as I heard that Hannah Kent’s new book, Devotion, was due out this month, I was desperate to read it IMMEDIATELY. Watch this space to find out what I think of it when I’m done …
There are only a few writers who occupy this position at the top of my list of must read authors.
Another favourite whose books I will go to great lengths to read is fellow Australian writer Sofie Laguna, the author of the sublime The Choke, Infinite Splendours and The Eye of the Sheep. Laguna set my heart racing lately when I heard she was set to release a new book, which I assumed would be a novel. However, I calmed myself when I heard that it was a children’s book (which I will run, rather than sprint, for).
Speaking of running, I am no athlete but without a doubt I would run a marathon for another book by Anna Funder. I first read and adored All That I Am, before moving on to the fantastic Stasiland. While her novels were based on fascinating topics, it was the beauty of her writing that really captured me. I would be happy to read anything she had written, even if it was a history of the hard men of the VFL or the secret to accounting success.
It pains me that these extraordinary Australian writers only release a book so rarely. But perhaps that is part of their charm, or at least, that is why their books are so damned good. It is not their way to get locked into a contract in which they write a book a year. Instead, they’re lucky to publish a couple of books a decade. I assume that they’re sitting in their writing nooks thinking and thinking and thinking, until they are struck by the perfect idea for a book, which they then write and edit until it is perfect.
One of my absolute favourite authors is similarly slow on releasing books – Rohinton Mistry. I devoured A Fine Balance, Such a Long Journey and Family Affair, but since then there has been … nothing. I’m not sure why Mistry hasn’t published for so long but I know that if or when he does, I’ll be staking out the bookshop to get hold of it.
There are a few more writers that sit at this peak of my favourite authors – Zadie Smith, Geraldine Brooks, Mark Brandi, just to name a few. For many people, Sally Rooney created the ultimate of literary excitement when she released her latest book, with excitement spilling across the internet. My bookstagram continues to be clogged with readers gleefully holding up their copy of Beautiful World, Where Are You.
For me, the next level below these peak authors includes writers whose books I know that I will like, and I will definitely read eventually, but I don’t need to get immediately. They are the writers of comfort reads that I can depend on when I need a break from the intensity of the harrowing books that I love, and who combine a great plot with highly readable prose.
Here sits Liane Moriarty who always writes a page-turner with wit and charm, Dervla McTiernan, whose police procedurals with heart I love, and Anne Tyler, whose family sagas I find to be familiar and relaxing.
Then there are the writers whose debuts I enjoyed, but whose reviews I will wait to read before I commit to their next book. I’m looking forward to hearing about what Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams writes next, and Girl, Woman, Other author Bernadine Evaristo will no doubt produce another winner.
My list of favourite authors is by no means fixed. Often, writers change their position in the heirarchy after their latest book – I was not interested in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, but since reading her City of Girls, I’m much more curious as to what she will write next.
Conversely, I was hugely excited to read Arundhati Roy’s follow up to The God of Small Things, but didn’t get through it once it was released so I’ve lost some of my enthusiasm for her books. However, as soon as I hear that she has written something new, I’ll be quick to read the reviews and see if it sounds like my kind of book.
I’m sure readers everywhere have their own heirarchy of writers – those they cannot miss reading, to those they know they’ll enjoy but can wait until the ebook is on sale.
Who are the authors at the top of your list?