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Legendary Scribes

With such a rich literary topography, it'd be impossible to include every notable Maryland wordsmith. Instead, consider this a snapshot of some of the authors, poets, and playwrights who call (or called) the Free State home.
(Courtesy of Jason Tinney, Maryland Life Magazine

Western Maryland

 Book: Scrambled Eggs at Midnight  Brad Barkley (1961- ) A novelist and short-story writer. He co-authored the young adult novel Jars of Glass with Heather Hepler. He teaches creative writing at Frostburg State University.  Book: What Goes On  Stephen Dunn (1939- ) A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Dunn lives with his wife, essayist and poet Barbara Hurd, in Frostburg. His latest collection of poems, What Goes On: Selected & New Poems 1995-2009, was published in January.
 Book: Stirring the Mud  Barbara Hurd (1949- ) An essayist and poet, Hurd teaches creative writing at Frostburg State University and at the Stonecoast MFA program in Portland, Maine. She is married to poet Stephen Dunn.  Book: The Parakeets of Brooklyn Gerry LaFemina (1968- ) A poet and short-story writer; author of the poetry collection The Parakeets of Brooklyn. He is the director of the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing.
 Book: Bed of Roses Nora Roberts (1950- ) An award-winning and bestselling romance and suspense novelist. Roberts also writes under the pen name J.D. Robb.    

Central Maryland

 Book: Postman Always Rings Twice James M. Cain (1892-1977) Born in Annapolis, Cain is considered to be one of the founding fathers of “hardboiled” American crime fiction. He is author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, along with other novels.  Book: Genealogy Maud Casey (1968- ) Casey’s latest novel, Genealogy, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice Book. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Maryland and associate director of the Program in Creative Writing.
 Book: Chadwick the Crab  Priscilla Cummings (1951- ) A novelist and author of children’s books, Cummings is known for her popular Chadwick the Crab series.  Photo of F Scott Fitzgerald Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940) Named after a distant cousin (who happened to have penned the national anthem), F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in Baltimore for a period of time and is buried in his family plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Rockville. Among his classics is The Great Gatsby.
 Book: The Star-Spangled Banner Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) Author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a distant cousin of famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Key was born in what is today Carroll County and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.  Book: Charming Billy Alice McDermott (1953- ) Born in New York, McDermott lives in Bethesda and is Johns Hopkins University's Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities. Her novel Charming Billy won the 1998 National Book Award.


 Book: The Wire - Truth Be Told Rafael Alvarez (1958- ) Author of the short fiction collections Orlo and Leini and The Fountain of Highlandtown, as well as a writer for HBO’s The Wire.  Book: Devil's Dream Madison Smartt Bell (1957- ) An acclaimed novelist and professor of English at Goucher College; Bell is married to poet Elizabeth Spires.
 Book: Over the Rivers Michael Collier (1953- ) An acclaimed poet, professor at the University of Maryland, and author of Dark Wild Realm, Collier was Maryland’s poet laureate from 2001-2004.  Book: 14 Stories Stephen Dixon (1936- ) In May 2007, after 26 years of teaching fiction, acclaimed author Stephen Dixon retired from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.
 Book: Dear Everybody Michael Kimball (1967- ) Author of the novel Dear Everybody.  Book: Sap Rising Christine Lincoln (1966- ) A graduate of Washington College and the 2000 winner of the Sophie Kerr Prize—the first African-American woman to win the award—Lincoln is author of the short fiction collection Sap Rising.
 Book: The Science Of English Verse Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) A poet and musician, Lanier is buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore. A bronze and granite monument honoring Lanier is located at Johns Hopkins University, where he was a student and lecturer.  Book: Life Sentences Laura Lippman (1959- ) An award-winning, bestselling novelist, Lippman is best known for her Tess Monaghan crime series. Her latest novel is Life Sentences. She is married to David Simon.
 Book: Second Mencken Chrestomathy Henry Louis “H.L.” Mencken (1880-1956) Author of the multi-volume The American Language, Mencken—the “Sage of Baltimore”—is perhaps the state’s most renowned literary son and is regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the first half of the 20th century.  Book: Close Encounters  
Jen Michalski (1972- ) Author of the short fiction collection Close Encounters.
 Book: Ogden Nash's Zoo Ogden Nash (1902-1971) A master of light verse, the popular poet made Baltimore his home for 34 years. An avid Baltimore Colts fan, his odes to the football team were featured in Life magazine in 1968.

 Book: Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) January 19, 2009, marked the 200th anniversary of Poe’s birth. The author of “The Raven” and other poems and macabre short stories was an on-and-off Maryland resident and is buried at Westminster Hall in Baltimore.
 Book: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets David Simon (1960- ) Author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and creator of the acclaimed HBO television series The Wire. He is married to Laura Lippman.  Book: The Jungle Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Jungle was born in Baltimore.
 Book: I Heard God Talking to Me Elizabeth Spires (1952- ) An award-winning poet and professor of English at Goucher College. I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmonson and His Stone Carvings, a children’s book, was published in February 2009.  Book: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) At 18, Stein moved to Baltimore to live with relatives after the death of her parents. In 1897, she settled in Baltimore and attended the Johns Hopkins Medical School. “Melanctha,” the story of a young woman, the daughter of a black father and mixed-race mother in segregated Baltimore, is considered a literary landmark.
 The Accidental Tourist Anne Tyler (1941- ) The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Accidental Tourist and Breathing Lessons was born in Minnesota and grew up in North Carolina. She now lives in Baltimore, where many of her novels are set.  Book: Multitudes Afaa Michael Weaver (1951- ) An award-winning poet and playwright. His poem “American Income” won a 2008 Pushcart Prize.

Southern Maryland

 Book: The Hunt for Red October Tom Clancy (1947- ) Born in Calvert County, bestselling author Clancy is most known for his Jack Ryan character featured in such novels as The Hunt for Red October and Clear and Present Danger, among others.  Book: Amifika Lucille Clifton (1936- ) An award-winning poet, Clifton served as Maryland’s poet laureate from 1979-1985. She is the Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she has taught since 1990.
 Book: Remembering Eden Michael S. Glaser (1943- ) Glaser is Maryland’s current poet laureate and a professor emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he served as both a professor and an administrator for over 35 years.  Book: The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) Born in St. Mary’s County, Hammett (like fellow Maryland native James M. Cain) is considered one of the pioneers of hardboiled American crime fiction. He created the legendary characters Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) and the Continental Op (Red Harvest).
 Book: Marble Mountain Wayne Karlin (1945- )The award-winning author of Marble Mountain, Karlin is a professor of languages and literature at the College of Southern Maryland.    

Eastern Shore

 Book: The Friday Book John Barth (1930- ) Born in Cambridge, Barth is an award-winning author known for his postmodernist writings. Time magazine listed his novel The Sot-Weed Factor among their 100 greatest English-language novels (1923 to present).  Book: The Sot-Weed Factor Ebenezer Cooke (ca.1665-ca.1732) Maryland’s first unofficial poet laureate, Cooke penned “The Sot-Weed Factor, or A Voyage to Maryland, A Satyr,” which some scholars consider the first American satire. Born in London, Cooke first settled in Cecil County and later Prince George’s County. Cooke and his poem were John Barth’s inspiration for his novel The Sot-Weed Factor.
 Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) Born in Talbot County, as an author, Douglass is best known for his autobiography, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.  Book: An Island Out of Time Tom Horton (1945- ) Author of The Nanticoke: Portrait of a Chesapeake River.
 Book: Lincoln's Melancholy Joshua Wolf Shenk (1971- )Author of Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness and director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College.    

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