Saturday, May 09, 2009

Best Writer Ever?

A fellow writer asked me yesterday who my favorite writer was. My response is as follows:

You expect a reader to pick just one? Tough question, because [some writers] are good at specific things.

Political humor: P.J. O'Rourke, Matt Labash
Political analysis: Charles Krauthammer
Humor in general: Dave Barry
Science fiction: Poul Anderson, Kim Stanley Robinson
Essays: Joseph Epstein, John Podhoretz, Jerry Pournelle
Mainstream Novels: Mary Doria Russell
Philosophy: Ayn Rand (but her fiction is awful)

I'm trying to think of general-purpose writers who have done fiction and nonfiction or have written in multiple genres/formats. The ones that come to mind are: William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Harlan Ellison. And of that lot, I would still rate Shakespeare highest.

How about you? Who do you think is the best overall writer?


Anonymous said...

William F. Buckley and William Faulkner deserve consideration; additionally, Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams, D. H. Lawrence, and Truman Capote could merit honorable mention as well.

Bart said...

Thanks for the suggestions. Buckley has his moments. Ashamed to say I haven't read any Capote or Mailer yet. Faulkner? Um...not my thing, but glad you enjoy him.