Monday, June 27, 2011

Top 10 Female Writers (In Terms of Hotness)

Last week, Brenna at Literary Musings published her list of Top Ten Sexiest Male Writers. I thought it was such a good idea, I totally ripped it off...with the one minor tweak of listing women instead of men. Now, if you’re thinking that creating a list of sexy female writers trivializes their talent and reduces their art, well, at some level, I don't disagree with you. I suppose it is a bit sexist, and I'm really sensitive to that, having been accused of being a sexist reader several times since I started this blog — since I tend to read more men writers than women. But this is just for fun. So, before you toss off an angry comment, just take a deep breath...and enjoy:


Left: Nell Freudenberger is one of my first literary crushes, dating back to about 2001 when her story collection Lucky Girls came out. She's since published a novel titled The Dissident, and writes regularly for the NY Times. To dispel your cynical notions that I just poached her name from last year's "20 Under 40" list, I can tell you I vividly remember reading and being appalled and angered by this 2003 Salon piece titled "Too young, too pretty, too successful" written by Jealous Writer Curtis Sittenfeld.
Right: Marisha Pessl, author of the novel Special Topics In Calamity Physics, will really get your atoms racing. (Sorry. could. not. resist.) 


Left: Sloan Crosley, author of extraordinarily witty and funny essay collections I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number, is the only non-novelist to make my list. And if you're skeptical that her charm translates to real life, check out her appearance on Craig Ferguson.
Right: Zadie Smith actually is just as attractive in person as she appears her dust jacket photos (I got to meet her at a signing a few years ago). To put it nicely, this is a relative rarity amongst writers...of both sexes. Her merits as a writer is well-traversed ground.


Left: Nicole Krauss is the better half of the first family of contemporary lit. Is it fair to say Jonathan Safran Foer overachieved? Krauss has published three novels, Man Walks Into Room, The History of Love (which is brilliant!), and Great House.
Right: Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of the Pulitzer-winning short story collection Interpreter of Maladies and the (brilliant) novel The Namesake. The Indian-American writer adds a degree of exotic hotness to our list.


Left: Amy Greene, author of one of my favorite novels of last year, Bloodroot, adds some down-home hotness to our list. According to her jacket bio, she lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, the setting of her brilliant debut novel.
Right: Sarah Hall is a British novelist who first made a name for herself when her second novel The Electric Michelangelo was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I liked it, but not enough to fawn over. (The author herself, though, is a different story!) She's since been long-listed for the Booker Prize for her latest novel, 2009's How To Paint a Dead Man.

Left: Ida Hattemer-Higgins has a bit of European chic about her...even though she was born in Cincinnati (she now lives in Berlin and Moscow). I loved her debut novel The History of History so much I had to include her on this list. Have you read it yet?  Please do.
Right: Vendela Vida, probably better known as Mrs. Dave Eggers, is a published (and generally well-received) novelist and screenwriter in her own right. Perhaps her best-known novel is Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name, which I have but haven't read, and which is one of my favorite titles ever.

There you go. Who did I miss? Who's on your list?

(One final note: If you're reading this on RSS, email, or Google Reader, I'd encourage you to stop by the blog itself. I did a little summer relaunch — the site includes a new design, as well as links to all New Dork Reviews, an updated "About Me" section, and a new review policy page. Thanks, as always, for reading!)



    That was unexpected. I agree with Zadie also. Very good looking.

  2. Can we do dead ones? Cause I always thought Anne Sexton was way hot in this Mrs. Robinson-with-a-martini sort of way.

  3. I'm female and of course like to look at hot men but I will agree with you on Jhumpa Lahiri and Nell looks like a girl next door natural hotty but in a seductive way :-)

  4. I think Jhumpa Lahiri is one of the prettiest women alive - not just including authors.

    I'm glad you had fun with this one like I did. It's pretty superficial as far as a book blog post goes, but hey, you've got to loosen it up sometimes.

  5. Seconded to Amanda's idea for a posthumous list--- Sylvia Plath also had something going on, in a MONA LISA SMILE women's college kinda way.

  6. Not to burst your bubble or anything, but I met Jhumpa Lahiri and she looked NOTHING like that picture. She was also incredibly unpleasant.

  7. I've always thought Aimee Bender was absolutely adorable.

  8. @Jennifer

    did she look like this?

    cause I still think she looks gorgeous there. better actually, b/c it seems more natural and less pose-y

  9. @Ben - As someone below mentions, I highly doubt she really looks like that - but wow, what a great photo!

    @Amanda - Okay, I'll buy that - good call!

    @Marce - Yea, Nell is adorable - girlish good looks, but with an intellectual edge to her.

    @Brenna - Thanks again for the idea - yeah, it was fun! It was tough to narrow down - had to stick with literary, alive writers. There are more than a few chick lit writers who would've made the list, otherwise.

    @the Ape - "Something going on" is right. Also, "something" was missing. Might be a good thing, though.

    @Jennifer - Ah, come on - I don't think any of us are under any illusions that any of these authors (indeed, any person photographed for publicity) really looks as they do in real life. But you have to admit, that is one hell of a photo!

    @Kevin - Good call - adorable, indeed.

    @Booklush - I almost picked that photo for the post - but couldn't resist the uber-glamor shot. ;)

    @Charlie - Exotic beauty!

  10. Can I get a what-what for attractive, intelligent, female writers?

    New to your blog, look forward to perusing.

  11. haha great post.I have to agree with all of them but mostly for Nell Freudenberger and Zadie Smith! Simple, girl next door types.. smart too!!

  12. I thought I was just going to look at pretty pictures in this post but now I'm adding BLOODROOT and THE HISTORY OF HISTORY to my TBR, thanks pal!

  13. Totally HOT is Amy Greene! Way to go Amy. See you in a few weeks in KY.

  14. Emma Forrest is lovely in this video, and I could listen to her aceent forever and ever. I love how expressive her face is. Have a look:

  15. Shit. That should have read "accent" of course.

  16. @Christine - Yeah, indeed! Thanks for stopping by.

    @Jillian - Yes, very smart - that's way more attractive than their attractiveness.

    @booksaremyBFs - You should, without question, read those two - and then tell as many people as you can to read them, too. ;)

    @Shannon - Ha - Yes, Amy is hot!

    @Steph - She's got a confident seductiveness to her - very good call!

  17. I love this post for different reasons - you are one of the only dudes I know of that actually reads and admires (for varying reasons) a fair number of women authors. Yay! I'll have to check out some of those I haven't read yet. I've had History of Love forever & really need to read it soon.

  18. Marie Agustina RaimondoJanuary 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    WTF. I'm not agree at all