10) J. California Cooper: Novelist, playwright, short story writer
Best known for: “In Search of Satisfaction,” “Some People, Some Other Place,” “Family”
Why we love her: Though typically press shy, Cooper seems to open up the whole universe for all to see in her novels and short stories. She sprinkles her prose with with bits of magic and whimsy, but nestled into those perfectly structured sentences are insights into life, love and humanity. In the late ’70s, Alice Walker encouraged then playwright Cooper to give fiction writing a try and the rest is history.
Noteable quotable: “I didn’t write for applause. I’m glad it came, no doubt about it. But I wrote because I’ve been–I was telling stories before I could write. I played with paper dolls ’til I was 18 and nobody even knew my stories except my mother.”
Who are your favorite living literary treasures?