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First we scoured coast to coast to find the most famous book set in every state. Now we’re hitting the books to discover the most famous author from every state.
Not all the choices were cut and dried. To qualify for this list, the esteemed wordsmiths had to be born in their respective states but not necessarily live out their years there.
We considered the authors’ fame in terms of ubiquity, literal acclaim, and financial success — and awarded bonus points if the authors showed state pride by setting their works there.
Click the map below to learn more about each author.
ALABAMA: Harper Lee
Known for: “To Kill a Mockingbird“
Lee was born and raised in Monroeville, the inspiration for her classic novel’s fictional town of Maycomb. The Monroe County Courthouse, where Lee watched her father practice law as a child, operates as a museum.
The University of Alabama alumna continued to live there until her death, in 2016. It’s a short drive from the Mockingbird Grill and Radley’s Fountain Grille.
ALASKA: Marty Beckerman
Known for: “The Heming Way“
Beckerman got his start in humor writing as a freshman at the Anchorage Daily News, which published his weekly column about trying to pick up girls.
In his 20s, he self-published “The Heming Way,” a cheeky guide to masculinity based on the life and works of Ernest Hemingway, and it hit No. 1 on Amazon.com for parody.
ARIZONA: Jeannette Walls
Known for: “The Glass Castle“
Walls’ memoir examines her struggle as a child and young adult to overcome poverty and become self-sufficient. Her dysfunctional family were nomads of the Southwest, but the first place she remembers living is a small trailer park in Arizona.
A veteran of “writing what she knows,” Walls more recently published a biography of her grandmother, an iron-willed Arizona cattle rancher, titled “Half Broke Horses.”
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