Writing

7 Writers to Inspire You and Keep You Writing

A selection of authors recommended by writer and professor Shaun Levin

South African professor Shaun Levin (@shaun_levin), the author of the short story collection A Year of Two Summers and the novel Seven Sweet Things, believes that inspiration is everywhere. With more than 20 years as a creative writing teacher, he is living proof: he has taught in schools, schools, art galleries, bookstores, cafes, parks, a cemetery, and even in a zoo.

In addition to teaching and writing, Levin edits books and literary magazines and has created a series of writing maps to inspire other writers.

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Shaun Levin, (2005) 'A Year of Two Summers', Five Leaves Publications

In the following list, Levin compiles seven writers who inspire him in his creative writing process and who will also inspire you:

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was an American anthropologist, folklorist, and writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance movement. Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered one of the great novels of black literature from the 1930s. In addition to fiction and poetry, she was also the author of the celebrated Mules and Men, which collects popular African American stories.

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Zora Neale Hurston

Jack Kerouac

The author, an icon of the beat generation—a group of American writers from the fifties, wrote one of the most famous American literary works of the twentieth century: On the Road. The novel, written for three weeks on a single roll of paper, has a spontaneous prose style that aimed to imitate improvisation in jazz music and launched Kerouac's career.

The novel follows the journeys of the narrator, Sal Paradise, and his friend Dean Moriarty, across the United States. Other known works of Kerouac are Big Sur and The Dharma Bums.

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Jack Kerouac

Roberto Bolaño

Chilean Roberto Bolaño is probably the most important Latin American writer of the turn of the century and, had it not been for his early death in 2003 at the age of 50, he could have left an even greater legacy. In his main novels, the polyphonic and extensive 2666 and The Savage Detectives, he delves into two central themes: violence and literature.

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Roberto Bolaño

Jamaica Kincaid

Born on the island of Antigua, but a resident of the United States, Kincaid has been considered a strong candidate for the Literature Nobel Prize in recent years. He teaches African and African American Studies at Harvard University, and his work tends to explore topics such as imperialism, colonial legacy, racism, and gender, among others. One of his most important books is The Autobiography of My Mother.

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Jamaica Kincaid

Mary Oliver

Oliver, who died in 2019, was an award-winning poet from the United States of America. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for American Primitive and the National Book Award in 1992 for New and Selected Poems. One of the striking features of her work is the constant presence of the natural world. Many of his poems, written in a straightforward language, were born during the long hikes she used to take.

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Mary Oliver

James Baldwin

Baldwin's literature, which addresses issues of race, color, and sexuality through essays, novels, short stories, and plays, continues to be current, 96 years after his birth. Remember This House, his unfinished original, inspired the BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary I'm Not Your Negro. His best-known works are the collection of essays Notes of a Native Son and the novel Giovanni's Room.

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James Baldwin

Janet Frame

New Zealander Janet Frame's life was marked by constant visits to psychiatric hospitals. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her youth and underwent electroconvulsive therapy and insulin shock sessions. A brain lobotomy was canceled when her debut book, Lagoon and Other Stories, won the Hubert Church Memorial Award in 1951. From then on, she built one of the most outstanding careers in the country's literature.

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Janet Frame

If this list got your creative juices flowing, check out Shaun Levin's course, Creative Writing for Beginners: Bringing Your Story to Life.

English version by @angeljimenez.

You might also be interested in:

- 7 Books for Creative Writing Inspiration
- Writing Maps: Writing Prompts That Will Inspire Your Next Story
- 7 Tips to Find Inspiration When Writing

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