11 Celebrated Authors Born Outside Of the United States

By
Thu, 31 May 2018

While America has been the birthplace of amazing novelists from Mark Twain to Octavia Butler, it's not the only significant country in the world of literature. Writers around the globe have written libraries full of amazing books, each approaching their work with a different perspective. If you're looking to use your reading time to explore different cultures, try picking up a book by one of these celebrated authors. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

11 Celebrated Authors Born Outside the U.S.

Author Notable Works
Francisco X. Stork Disappeared Marcelo In The Real World The Memory of Light
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah Purple Hibiscus We Should All Be Feminists
Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses Midnight's Children The Golden House
Orhan Pamuk My Name Is Red The Museum of Innocence Snow
Elena Ferrante My Brilliant Friend The Days of Abandonment Troubling Love
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni The Mistress of Spices Arranged Marriage Before We Visit the Goddess
Geraldine Brooks March Year of Wonders People of the Book
Jonas Jonasson The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All
Katherine Paterson Bridge to Terabithia The Same Stuff as Stars Preacher's Boy
Herman Koch The Dinner Dear Mr. M Summer House with Swimming Pool
William Boyd A Good Man in Africa Brazzaville Beach An Ice-Cream War

Q&A With Literary Translator Laura Watkinson

In Depth

Most readers use their love of literature to expand their horizons and gain new perspective. Reading books written by international authors is a great way to accomplish this goal. There are many novelists around the world who have created fantastic works that transcend borders. Here are 11 celebrated authors who were born outside of the U.S.

#1: Francisco X. Stork. Born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1953, this writer had a colorful childhood. Because he was born out of wedlock, he was almost put up for adoption as a baby. In the end, he stayed with his birth family. He went on to practice law and write several novels in English.

His first novel titled "The Way of the Jaguar" is about Ismael Diaz, a man who was awaiting execution in Texas and was ordered to write two hours a day. The book earned him the Chicano Latino Literary Prize. In 2017, he wrote "Disappeared," his seventh novel, which is a story about an abducted teen who escaped the Juarez criminal web.

The book earned him the Chicano Latino Literary Prize.

#2: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Hailing from Nigeria, Adichie holds a Bachelor's Degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and studied Creative Writing at Johns Hopkins as well. This writer has published six books and three short fictions. Her debut novel titled "Purple Hibiscus" received a warm reception from critics and won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in 2005. Her third work, "Americanah," is also a critically-acclaimed work.

#3: Salman Rushdie: Born in Bombay, India, Sir Salman Rushdie is a multi-awarded novelist who has written thirteen English novels to date. His road to fame started after publishing his second novel titled "Midnight's Children" in 1981. The book is about the life of a child who was born at midnight, coinciding with India's reclamation of its independence. It won The Man Booker Prize in that same year. Rushdie also published "The Satanic Verses," which became his most controversial output. He was knighted for his contribution to literature in 2007.

#3: Orhan Pamuk. Born and raised in Istanbul, Pamuk is one of Turkey's most important novelists. He tried painting until he reached the age of 22. He started writing the following year, creating works in Turkish. His first novel titled "Cevdet Bey and His Sons" was published in 1982, and won the Orhan Kemal and Milliyet Literary Awards.

He tried painting until he reached the age of 22.

His 1985 historical novel "The White Castle" bagged the 1990 Independent Award for Foreign Fiction. He went on to write several other critically acclaimed novels such as "My Name Is Red," "Snow," and "The Museum of Innocence." He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006.

#5: Elena Ferrante. Born in 1943, Ferrante is an Italian novelist who writes under a pseudonym. Her books have been translated from her mother tongue into many languages. She is best known for her four-volume work titled the "Neapolitan Novels," which is about two intelligent girls from Naples who attempt to make something out of their lives despite growing up in a violent culture. She was named one of Time's Most Influential People in 2016. That same year, "The Story of the Lost Child" won the Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Literary Fiction.

#6: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. She is an Indian-American author and poet who is best known for her short story collection titled "Arranged Marriage" published in 1995. Divakaruni was born in Kolkata, India. She has written numerous English fiction novels, stories for young adults and children, and poems. Two of her novels, "The Mistress of Spices" and "Sister of My Heart," have been adapted into films, with the latter being shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Most of her works revolve around the lives and experiences of immigrants from South Asia.

Divakaruni was born in Kolkata, India.

#7: Geraldine Brooks. This Australian-American novelist and journalist is best known for her 2005 novel "March," which won her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. After graduating from the University of Sydney, Brooks became a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald. She then worked as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and covered different countries in places like the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East. She is a recipient of the 2009 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.

#8: Jonas Johansson. This Swedish writer made waves with his best-selling book, "The Hundred-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared." The plot of this work involves the adventures of a centenarian who escapes his home and encounters criminals, murders, a suitcase full of money, and the police. It sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide and has been translated in over 30 different languages. His other books include "The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden" and "Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All."

#9: Katherine Paterson. Paterson is a Chinese-born American writer who is known for her children and young adult novels. She is the recipient of many accolades, including the Hans Christian Andersen and Astrid Lindgren Awards, which are two of the most prestigious international prizes in children's literature. She also won the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award in 2009. Some of her most notable works written in English include "Bridge to Terabithia," "The Day of the Pelican," and "The Master Puppeteer."

She also won the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award in 2009.

#10: Herman Koch. Koch is a Dutch writer and actor who has written novels, short stories, and columns. His most popular work is "The Dinner," which won the NS Audience Award and has sold over a million copies across Europe. The story is about two sets of couples who meet in a fancy restaurant to discuss how they should handle a crime committed by their children. "The Dinner" was adapted into a theatrical play in 2012 and into a movie a year after.

#11: William Boyd. Boyd's first work titled "A Good Man in Africa" was published in 1981 and won the Whitbread Prize (now called the Costa Book Award) and the Somerset Maugham Award. Its story is about the turbulent life of the Secretary to the British High Commission in Nkongsamba from a fictional African country. The novel was adapted into a film in 1994, with a script written by Boyd. Some of his other notable works include "An Ice-Cream War," "Brazzaville Beach," and "The Blue Afternoon."