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In the era of Netflix and “Pokemon Go,” it’s refreshing to know that lots of Americans still read for fun.

American literature has a vast and varied history, from the dark musings of William Faulkner to the syrupy romances of Nora Roberts, both of whom make this list. Every single state has produced at least one famous author, and Business Insider dug up the most successful ones from each of the 50.

RELATED: Who is the most famous actor from your state?

To qualify, an author must be born in the state, but doesn’t necessarily have to call it home. For example, Nicholas Sparks was born in Nebraska, but has lived in North Carolina since the late 1980s, and many of his novels are set in the Southeast.


Which wordsmith shares the same birth state as you?

Alabama: Harper Lee

  • Born in: Monroeville
  • Birthday: Apr. 28, 1926 (died Feb. 19, 2016)
  • Known for: To Kill a Mockingbird

Alaska: Sidney Huntington

  • Born in: Hughes
  • Birthday: May 10, 1915 (died Dec. 8, 2015)
  • Known for: Shadows on the Koyukuk: An Alaskan Native’s Life Along the River

Arizona: Jeannette Walls

  • Born in: Phoenix
  • Birthday: Apr. 21, 1960
  • Known for: The Glass Castle

Arkansas: John Grisham

  • Born in: Jonesboro
  • Birthday: Feb. 8, 1955
  • Known for: A Time to Kill; The Rainmaker; The Client

California: John Steinbeck

  • Born in: Salinas
  • Birthday: Feb. 27, 1902 (died Dec. 20, 1968)
  • Known for: The Grapes of Wrath; East of Eden; Of Mice and Men

Colorado: Ken Kesey

  • Born in: La Junta
  • Birthday: Sept. 17, 1935 (died Nov. 10, 2001)
  • Known for: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Connecticut: Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • Born in: Litchfield
  • Birthday: June 14, 1811 (died July 1, 1896)
  • Known for: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Delaware: Christopher Castellani

  • Born in: Wilmington
  • Birthday: Dec. 7, 1972
  • Known for: A Kiss from Maddalena; The Saint of Lost Things

Florida: Carl Hiaasen

  • Born in: Plantation
  • Birthday: Mar. 12, 1953
  • Known for: Hoot

Georgia: Flannery O’Connor

  • Born in: Savannah
  • Birthday: Mar. 25, 1925 (died Aug. 3, 1964)
  • Known for: A Good Man Is Hard to Find; Everything That Rises Must Converge

Hawaii: Armine Von Tempski

  • Born in: Maui
  • Birthday: Apr. 1, 1899 (died Dec. 2, 1943)
  • Known for: Hula; Born in Paradise

Idaho: Vardis Fisher

  • Born in: Annis
  • Birthday: Mar. 31, 1895 (died July 9, 1968)
  • Known for: Children of God; Mountain Man

Illinois: Ernest Hemingway

  • Born in: Oak Park
  • Birthday: July 21, 1899 (died July 2, 1961)
  • Known for: The Sun Also Rises; For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea

Indiana: Kurt Vonnegut

  • Born in: Indianapolis
  • Birthday: Nov. 11, 1922 (died Apr. 11, 2007)
  • Known for: Slaughterhouse-Five; Breakfast of Champions

Iowa: Bill Bryson

  • Born in: Des Moines
  • Birthday: Dec. 8, 1951
  • Known for: A Walk in the Woods; A Short History of Nearly Everything

Kansas: William Inge

  • Born in: Independence
  • Birthday: May 3, 1913 (died June 10, 1973)
  • Known for: Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic

Kentucky: Hunter S. Thompson

  • Born in: Louisville
  • Birthday: July 18, 1937 (died Feb. 20, 2005)
  • Known for: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; The Rum Diary

Louisiana: Anne Rice

  • Born in: New Orleans
  • Birthday: Oct. 4, 1941
  • Known for: Interview with the Vampire; The Queen of the Damned; Blood Canticle

Maine: Stephen King

  • Born in: Portland
  • Birthday: Sept. 21, 1947
  • Known for: Carrie; The Shining

Maryland: Nora Roberts

  • Born in: Silver Spring
  • Birthday: Oct. 10, 1950
  • Known for: Angel Falls; Montana Sky; Carolina Moon

Massachusetts: Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Born in: Salem
  • Birthday: July 4, 1804 (died May 19, 1864)
  • Known for: The Scarlet Letter

Michigan: Jeffrey Eugenides

  • Born in: Detroit
  • Birthday: Mar. 8, 1960
  • Known for: The Virgin Suicides; Middlesex

Minnesota: F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Born in: St. Paul
  • Birthday: Sept. 24, 1896 (died Dec. 21, 1940)
  • Known for: The Great Gatsby

Mississippi: William Faulkner

  • Born in: New Albany
  • Birthday: Sept. 25, 1897 (died July 6, 1962)
  • Known for: The Sound and the Fury; As I Lay Dying

Missouri: Mark Twain

  • Born in: Florida
  • Birthday: Nov. 30, 1835 (died Apr. 21, 1910)
  • Known for: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Montana: Maile Meloy

  • Born in: Helena
  • Birthday: Feb. 15, 1972
  • Known for: Liars and Saints; The Apothecary

Nebraska: Nicholas Sparks

  • Born in: Omaha
  • Birthday: Dec. 31, 1965
  • Known for: The Notebook; A Walk to Remember

Nevada: Nevada Barr

  • Born in: Yerington
  • Birthday: Mar. 1, 1952
  • Known for: The Anna Pigeon series

New Hampshire: Dan Brown

  • Born in: Exeter
  • Birthday: June 22, 1964
  • Known for: Angels & Demons; The Da Vinci Code

New Jersey: George R.R. Martin

  • Born in: Bayonne
  • Birthday: Sept. 20, 1948
  • Known for: A Song of Ice and Fire series

New Mexico: Rudolfo Anaya

  • Born in: Pastura
  • Birthday: Oct. 30, 1937
  • Known for: Bless Me, Ultima

New York: Herman Melville

  • Born in: New York City
  • Birthday: Aug. 1, 1819 (died Sept. 28, 1891)
  • Known for: Moby-Dick; Bartleby, the Scrivener

North Carolina: Thomas Wolfe

  • Born in: Asheville
  • Birthday: Oct. 3, 1900 (died Sept. 15, 1938)
  • Known for: Look Homeward, Angel

North Dakota: Louis L’Amour

  • Born in: Jamestown
  • Birthday: Mar. 22, 1908 (died June 10, 1988)
  • Known for: The Quick and the Dead; The Walking Drum

Ohio: Sherwood Anderson

  • Born in: Camden
  • Birthday: Sept. 13, 1876 (died Mar. 8, 1941)
  • Known for: Winesburg, Ohio; Dark Laughter

Oklahoma: Ralph Ellison

  • Born in: Oklahoma City
  • Birthday: Mar. 1, 1914 (died Apr. 16, 1994)
  • Known for: Invisible Man

Oregon: Beverly Cleary

  • Born in: McMinnville
  • Birthday: Apr. 12, 1916
  • Known for: Henry and Beezus; The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Pennsylvania: James Michener

  • Born in: Doylestown
  • Birthday: Feb. 3, 1907 (died Oct. 16, 1997)
  • Known for: Tales of the South Pacific

Rhode Island: Cormac McCarthy

  • Born in: Providence
  • Birthday: July 20, 1933
  • Known for: Blood Meridian; No Country for Old Men; The Road

South Carolina: Peggy Parish

  • Born in: Manning
  • Birthday: July 14, 1927 (died Nov. 19, 1988)
  • Known for: The Amelia Bedelia series

South Dakota: Adam Johnson

  • Birthday: July 12, 1967
  • Known for: Parasites Like Us; The Orphan Master’s Son

Tennessee: Alex Haley

  • Born in: Henning
  • Birthday: Aug. 11, 1921 (died Feb. 10, 1992)
  • Known for: Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Texas: Katherine Anne Porter

  • Born in: Indian Creek
  • Birthday: May 15, 1890 (died Sept. 18, 1980)
  • Known for: Pale Horse, Pale Rider; Ship of Fools

Utah: Thomas Savage

  • Born in: Salt Lake City
  • Birthday: Apr. 25, 1915 (died July 25, 2003)
  • Known for: Power of the Dog; The Corner of Rife and Pacific

Vermont: Ralph Nading Hill

  • Born in: Burlington
  • Birthday: Sept. 19, 1917 (died Dec. 10, 1987)
  • Known for: The Winooski, Heartway of Vermont

Virginia: David Baldacci

  • Born in: Richmond
  • Birthday: Aug. 5, 1960
  • Known for: The Camel Club series

Washington: David Guterson

  • Born in: Seattle
  • Birthday: May 4, 1956
  • Known for: Snow Falling on Cedars

West Virginia: Pearl S. Buck

  • Born in: Hillsboro
  • Birthday: June 26, 1892 (died Mar. 6, 1973)
  • Known for: The Good Earth

Wisconsin: Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • Born in: Pepin
  • Birthday: Feb. 7, 1867 (died Feb. 10, 1957)
  • Known for: Little House on the Prairie; By the Shores of Silver Lake

Wyoming: Patricia MacLachlan

  • Born in: Cheyenne
  • Birthday: Mar. 3, 1938
  • Known for: Sarah, Plain and Tall
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