Arts & Culture

Top Local Authors In Connecticut

July 1, 2013 8:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

With its growing population of best-selling novelists and former broadcasters to respected legal minds and professors of creative writing, Connecticut is rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Here are five of the best-known authors who make their home in the Nutmeg State.

James R. Benn
www.jamesrbenn.com

James R. Benn is best known for the seven books in his Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series. In September, this author, who lives in Hadlyme, will add to that collection with number eight, “A Blind Goddess.” The previous works in the series have been hailed not only for the depth and accuracy of research, but also for their cinematic feel, which has been likened to the literary equivalent of watching a 1940s-era war movie. Benn has written other books, but routinely comes back to World War II. Perhaps his greatest writing has been “On Desperate Ground,” which he describes as “a thriller set during the last days” of the war. And in “Souvenir,” “an exploration” as Benn describes the ongoing effect combat during the Battle of the Bulge has on a young soldier as he grows to maturity in the next 40-plus years. Benn is represented by the Barbara Braun literary agency and he and his wife Deborah have two sons, seven grandchildren and a dog.

Related: The Best Community-Centered Bookstores in Connecticut

Stephen L. Carter
www.stephencarterbooks.com

“The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln” is Yale University Law Professor Stephen L. Carter’s newest and most controversial work. The novel assumes that John Wilkes Booth’s aim was poor and that the president survives that physical attempt on his life only to face another kind of assassination — a political one in which he his impeached and tried for violating the Constitution. The timely and provocative nature of the book has sparked demand for his appearance on the lecture circuit, which will keep him on the road during the summer hiatus between the semesters he spends teaching contract and intellectual property law and courses on ethics in war and literature. The Lincoln book is Carter’s fifth novel, but he is better known at least among his colleagues and academic circles for his eight works of non-fiction, notably the most recent of them, “The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama.” Born and raised in Harlem, Ithaca and Washington, D.C., the Yale professor and his wife now live in Connecticut.

Lucy Ferriss
www.lucyferriss.com

Novelist Lucy Ferriss is the writer-in-residence and a professor of creative writing at Hartford’s Trinity College. Her latest work is “The Lost Daughter,” which was chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in early 2012. An historical novel, “The Woman Who Bought the Sky,” is “on deck” as she puts it, and another, which is tentatively titled “Honor,” is in progress. Professor Ferriss is a Fulbright Fellow with nine books to her credit, including a memoir (“Unveiling Prophet: Misadventures Reluctant Debutante“). She has won numerous awards and honors for her writing, most notably the Robert Penn Warren Centennial Prize for her 2005 book, “Shenandoah.” 

Francine du Plessix Gray
www.francineduplessixgray.com

Long-time Litchfield resident Francine du Plessix Gray is one of the brightest jewels in Connecticut’s literary crown. The Pulitzer Prize-nominated author lives in an 18th century stone house in Warren, which until his passing in 2004, she shared for nearly half a century with her late husband, the well-known artist Cleve Gray. Born in Warsaw to a French diplomat and his Russian émigré wife in 1930, Ms. Du Plessix grew up in New York City, attended Bryn Mawr and Barnard College and began her career as a journalist with UPI and a French magazine. A staff writer at the New Yorker under Robert Gottlieb and editor of Art in America, she later went on to teach at Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia and City College of the City University of New York. This award-winning author has 13 books to her credit, including both fiction and non-fiction. The most recent, a novel entitled “The Queen’s Lover,” came out in the summer of 2012. She was nominated for a Pulitzer for her 1998 work “At Home With The Marquis de Sade.”

Related: The Best Comic Book Stores In Connecticut

Frank Delaney
www.frankdelaney.com

Hailed as “the most eloquent man in the world” by National Public Radio, Frank Delaney has three decades of literary work to his credit – the most recent of which is his Irish “Ben McCarthy” trilogy, which he brought to a close with “The Last Storyteller” in 2012. A former BBC broadcaster who has conducted over 3,500 interviews, the septuagenarian Delaney, who makes his home in Kent but also lives at least part of the time in New York City, has entered the podcast arena with a series of mini-essays on James Joyce and that novelist’s monumental work, “Ulysses.” Delaney has infused his novels, screenplays and works of non-fiction with images and emotions evocative of his native Ireland. He is also the editor of a lengthy list of Folio Society collections. Delaney considers The Hickory Stick Bookshop on Greenhill Road in Washington Depot, not far from Kent, as his “local bookstore,” and it carries autographed copies of many of his 22 books.

 

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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