7 Greatest 21st Century Writers Who Have Influenced Literature

Neil Gaiman is one of the Greatest 21st Century Writers

Fall isn’t only about pumpkin spice, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and red-orange foliage. Thanks to the emergence of “Promp-tober” and National Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), October and November have become significant periods for writers to develop their skills, gain more inspiration, and find time to sit down and finish their projects. In celebration with the community worldwide, here are seven writers who heavily influenced 21st-century literature, and shaped today’s batch of storytellers.

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1.   Neil Gaiman

One of Time’s Most Influential People of 2023, English writer Neil Gaiman is more than an author- he’s also a screenwriter, graphic novelist, and one of the creators of modern comics. To many aspiring young writers, Gaiman’s influence transcends his skills and talents in writing with his vocal activism and advocacy for global refugees.

Gaiman’s impact on 21st-century literature is his writing style. Although he tackles writing straightforwardly, he can mix unique ideas and his talent for choosing words to build and create the tone he wants to have for each book. In addition, Gaiman uses a lot of humor to enhance his characters and story. Despite not writing for the comedy genre, many parts of his books offer scenes that make readers laugh out loud. His creations, like “Coraline,” “The Sandman,” “The Graveyard Book,” and “American Gods” may be darkly fantastical, but they have an allure that makes people continue reading. #ad

2.   Stephen King

The list of the best 21st-century authors is never complete without mentioning the legendary Stephen King. Aptly dubbed the King of Horror, King is one of the best and most famous horror and supernatural writers who heavily influenced several generations of aspiring novelists in the genre.

Having written over a hundred literary works, including “The Shining,” “Misery,” “It,” and “The Green Mile,” the 76-year-old award-winning author is still working and publishing novels and short stories consistently. His dedication to his craft continuously inspires and encourages young writers to not only think outside of the box but also the determination to finish whatever novel or story they’re working on.

3.   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It’s not every day that the world gets to know and acknowledge African talents, which is unfortunate as people are missing out on the opportunity to learn and appreciate the richness and vibrance of African art and literature. Despite these circumstances, one author carries the torch and is currently a heavy influence on African and female writers: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Nigerian author, activist, and feminist Adichie gained international fame for her best-selling novel “Half of a Yellow Sun,” depicting the devastation and pain the Nigerian Civil War caused its people. Adichie’s first book, Purple Hibiscus, won the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Best First Book for the African and overall categories. From her preliminary success with her first two works, she became one of the world’s most powerful and influential female authors in the 21st century, influencing aspiring female novelists to find their voice and create literary pieces that focus on the contradictions and complexity of the modern world.

4.   Suzanne Collins

Author of the internationally acclaimed “The Hunger Games” series, Suzanne Collins paved the way for the young adult fiction book genre. Rowling and Meyers may have laid the foundation, but Collins perfected it. Her influence in 21st-century literature heavily revolves around the YA category, which peaked from the early to the mid-2010s.

Collins and her works, “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire,” and “Mockingjay,” changed how people viewed the YA genre. In addition, it redirected the YA readership in a new direction. She used her book’s infamous main character, Katniss Everdeen, to challenge her readers’ thoughts and ability to question their perception of the world and their roles in it.

5.   Margaret Atwood

When discussing the world’s greatest 21st-century writers, Margaret Atwood will always be a part of the discussion. From her critically acclaimed novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and its sequel, “The Testaments,” to her award-winning book “The Blind Assassin,” Atwood cemented her name and influence in the literary world as one of the most influential writers for prose fiction and feminism.

Her writing style is concise, sparse, and somewhat detached. It employs third-person objectives that many writers used as a basis for creating their styles in their works. In addition, Atwood’s ability to demonstrate the range and complexity of sexual power politics in her novel became a foundation for understanding feminist sympathies.

6.   Dan Brown

Dan Brown is one of the 2000s most talked about authors. His thriller novels, especially “Angels and Demons,” and “The Da Vinci Code,” following the thrilling and action-packed adventures of Harvard professor Robert Langdon, became one of the notable reasons for the world’s renewed interest in medieval treasures, history, and age-old secret societies.

But more than these things, his influence on writers and readers is on his relentless dedication to his craft, skillful use and mastery of words, and his talent for creating captivating thrillers that engage people to solve the mystery with his characters on every page.

7.   J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling, the author responsible for the world-famous Harry Potter series, is one of the 21st-century’s most influential writers for several reasons. Although her career kickstarted in the 1990s, she published most of her works in the 2000s. Rowling became a sensation and rose to a popularity that wasn’t common in the literary world. Her influence spans readers of all ages and even aspiring writers decades after the release of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”

What makes her an influential figure in modern literature is the renewed interest in books with crossover eviction, meaning they appeal to all ages. In addition, she tackles world-building in a different way, which helps children and adult readers to better relate to the story.

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