What living writer might still be read 200 years from now?

Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, an English author whose works are read and celebrated to this day. Today’s Question: What living writer might still be read 200 years from now?

  • reggie

    Margaret Atwood for her brilliant dystopian novels. The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood are beautifully written and terrifying.

    Cormac McCarthy, for the way in which he captures the violence and loneliness of the 20th century American west.

    Maybe I’m too gloomy.

  • Tina D

    Jonathan Saffron Foyer, Yann Martel, Alice Sebold,

    and if we say contemporary instead of living: David Foster Wallace and John Kennedy Toole.

  • Diane

    Neil Gaiman, his stories have a classic fairy tale feel.

  • Chris

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Her novels will tell how we lived, what events moved us, what divided us. And in language enduringly beautiful yet precise.

  • James

    J.K. Rowling. She has the advantage of writing just before the advent of e-books, so millions of hard copy sets will be passed down from generation to generation, allowing a series of re-discoveries and perpetuation.

  • Philip

    Jesus and the Bible.

  • Mark G in Freeborn

    I hope Senator Al Franken’s books continue to grace library shelves; they are hilarious and insightful. I also plan to re-read Herman Wouk’s The City Boy every summer for the rest of my life.

  • Jim G

    Louis L’Amour died in 1989, but will definitely be read two hundred years from now. He brought to life brave men and women who settled the American frontier. With 225 million books in print around the world, he is the quintessential American writer.

  • Megan

    Javier Marias.

  • Craig

    J.D. Salinger’s body is still warm.

  • Russ Rogers

    Ray Bradbury. Maurice Sendak. Stan Lee. ‘Nuff said.

  • KevinVC

    Scott Adams (Dilbert if not familiar with his works.)

    Stan Lee (Well anything Marvel Comics…)

    And of course: Steve Sack (Star Tribune)

  • allie

    Completely obvious choice, but Toni Morrison will probably be standard reading for students for the next few hundred years. (And rightfully so.)

    And, gosh, I’d love to see folks still reading Margaret Atwood in the far future. Great call, reggie.

  • Jennifer

    Great feedback has already been given!

    I’d like to add Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni to the list.

    And Bill Watterson, creator of the much-missed Calvin and Hobbes.

  • Gary F

    Ayn Rand, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and Adam Smith.

    And of course, the two most important ones, Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes, and The Bible.

    Thanks Jennifer for bringing up Calvin and Hobbes, now I can waste more time on the internet looking up C & H cartoons, but I will do it with a big smile.

  • JasonB

    Not being a huge reader of contemporary novels my choices would be those who have already passed on. But I’m guessing that this is the kind of question that invites people to simply list their personal preferences.

    Authors that resonate with future generations tend to write about the basics of life’s experiences, their stories transcending different eras and fads. Dickens exemplifies this, his stories are still relevant, particularly in the context of today’s economic hardships. Look for this classic signature of the human condition and you’ll find your authors of note.

  • Peter

    Ron Paul.

  • David

    Cormac McCarthy’s novels including the Border Trilogy and perhaps his masterpiece, “Blood Meridian”. They are quasi-historic, but really transcend time and place.

    Toni Morrison, especially for “Beloved”, an amazing story.

    Gore Vidal, particularly “Burr”, a great historic novel.

  • Darin

    Stephen King. Poe is still read, after all. The Stand and perhaps his Dark Tower Series are epic tales of dystopia and may still be read 200 hundred years from now. Assuming we all survive Captain Trips, that is…

  • Greg

    Christopher Hitchens, although he just passed. He made us question and defend and better understand all of our most fundamental beliefs, and, once or twice, even changed our minds.

    Perhaps in 200 years his writing will outshine “Jesus and The Bible”.

  • GregX

    well… as long as we are going with recently dead authors … Hunter S. Thompspon. In 200 years – His collectiive works will be read as an accurate depiction of the internal workings of human minds while experiencing the paradigm shift from a slow moving agrarian society attempting to perfect a non-existent greek ideal to a nuclear fueled apocalyptic brouhaha of badly organized hegemonies, random economic theories, obsessive personality cultism, selective information overload and factionalized knowledge acceptance all while abusing massive doses of “medication’s and bio-reactive substance’s” of all types ( ………WAAAAA-HOOOOOOOO!!!!! ………………) .

    I would also suggest the writing of Frank Zappa .. a more congent commentator on the human condition there is not. To wit : “Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.

  • Audrey

    Tim O’Brien

  • Karen

    J.K. Rowling – wizards and witches are timeless

  • Craig

    GregX, nice build to the terminal spondee.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Christopher Hitchens one day outshining “Jesus and the Bible”? Wishful thinking!