Thierry Sagnier

Mary Heaton Vorse:  Author of my favorite quote, “Writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” Firebrand, labor activist, novelist.

Earl Thompson:  Hands down my favorite writer. Garden of Sands and Tattoo take you to the dustbowl during the depression, and keep you there.

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird. No need to say anything else.

Vance Bourjaily: Almost forgotten but should be remembered. Confessions of a Spent Youth  is must reading for anyone contemplating writing a memoire. Also read  Now Playing at Canterbury  and The Violated.

Francois Villon: Born in Paris in 1431; a scalawag, gifted poet and middling criminal mind who mysteriously vanished in 1463.

Rebecca Wells: I loved all the Yayas except the best-left-unwritten prequel.

Calder Willingham: Eternal Fire, Rambling Rose, and of course, the screenplay of The Bridge on the River Kwai and Spartacus. Could anyone live a better writer’s life?

Honoré de Balzac:  Read Le Père Goriot preferably in the original French. If you can’t do that, get a translation.

Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones is one of my favorite modern characters.

Jon Hassler: He wrote right to the end. Staggerford, North of Hope,  The Dean’s List. A master of storytelling and the king of small town tales.

François-René de Chateaubriand:  The epitome of French Romanticism. And a madman.

Guy de Maupassant: The father of the short story. La Maison Tellier was written more than a century before Best Little Whorehouse…

John Updike: Simply the best American writer of the past 40 years. Except for Earl Thompson (see above.)

Florence Aboulker: My sister, author of La Galère and a dozen other novels. She died in 2002 and I miss her.

Michael Gruber: Valley of the Bones and The Good Son are esoteric novels written with elegance and authority. A man not afraid of words.