Best Local Authors In Pittsburgh

April 26, 2011 6:56 AM

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Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, August Wilson, Augusten Burroughs. Do these names sound familiar? They’re all writers with a Pittsburgh connection. The Pittsburgh area is home to hundreds of unique and award-winning authors. There are just too many to profile here. But, here are five names of Pittsburgh writers we think are well worth a look.
leegutkind Best Local Authors In Pittsburgh


Lee Gutkind

A lifelong Squirrel Hill resident, Lee Gutkind put the writing genre of creative nonfiction on the literary map. In fact, Vanity Fair dubbed him “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction.” Gutkind is the founding editor of the journal Creative Nonfiction. He’s also written more than a dozen books, including Almost Human: Making Robots Think, which profiles the subculture of robotics technology.

Stewart O’Nan

He’s got strong Irish roots, but Stewart O’Nan is also a lifelong Pittsburgh resident. He’s written a dozen novels, a short-story collection, a screenplay and he’s even dabbled in some nonfiction. Once named one of America’s Best Young Novelists, some of O’Nan’s titles include Snow Angels, A Prayer for the Dying, Emily, Alone and Last Night at the Lobster.

Jewell Parker-Rhodes

Though she’s made Arizona her home in recent years, Jewell Parker Rhodes was also born and raised in Pittsburgh. She’s the author of five novels and counting, including Voodoo Dreams, Magic City and Douglass’ Women. Rhodes has also written a memoir and even some children’s books.

John Edgar Wideman

John Edgar Wideman was born in Washington, D.C., but he grew up in the city of Pittsburgh. In fact, much of Wideman’s writing is set in Pittsburgh, especially the East End neighborhoods, near his childhood home. He’s written a dozen novels, but he’s probably best known for his memoir Brothers and Keepers, as well as his personal essays.

Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon was also born in our nation’s capital, but grew up in Pittsburgh. The Virginia Quarterly Review once said Chabon is “one of the most celebrated writers of his generation.” He published his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, at the young age of 25. But, he’s probably best known for Wonder Boys, which was made into a Hollywood movie starring Michael Douglas. Chabon has written six novels, two short-story collections and several essays.

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  • Corinna Boyle

    Why is August Wilson not on this list? He was a fantastic writer that wrote plenty about Pittsburgh, I mean we even have the August Wilson center. Kudos to including John Edgar Wideman, I absolutely loved his memoir Brothers and Keepers.

    • DownTownCoffee

      August Wilson is not on the list because this list is showcasing writers that are not well known. Obviously, August Wilson is a well known writer, and therefore, does not need to be on this list

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