First we scoured coast to coast to find the most famous book set in every state. Now we’re hitting the books to discover the most famous author from every state.
Not all the choices were cut and dry. To qualify for this list, the esteemed wordsmiths had to be born in their respective states, but not necessarily live out their years there.
We considered the authors’ fame in terms of ubiquity, literal acclaim, and financial success — and awarded bonus points if the author showed state pride by setting their works there.
Did we get your state right? Let us know in the comments if you have another pick.
Click the map below to learn more about each author.
Known for: 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Harper Lee was born and raised in Monroeville, the inspiration for her classic novel's fictional town of Maycomb. The Monroe County Courthouse, where Lee watched her father practice law as a child, currently operates as a museum.
The University of Alabama alumna continues to live there, just a short drive from the Mockingbird Grill and Radley's Fountain Grille.
Known for: 'The Heming Way'
Marty Beckerman got his start in humour writing as a freshman at the Anchorage Daily News, which published his weekly column about trying to pick up girls.
In his twenties, he self-published 'The Heming Way,' a cheeky guide to masculinity based on the life and works of Ernest Hemingway, and it hit No. 1 on Amazon.com for parody.
Known for: 'The Glass Castle'
Jeannette Walls' memoir examines her struggle as a child and young adult to overcome poverty and become self-sufficient. Her dysfunctional family were nomads of the Southwest, but the first place she remembers living is a small trailer park in Arizona.
A veteran of 'writing what she knows,' Walls more recently published a biography of her grandmother, an iron-willed Arizona cattle rancher, titled 'Half Broke Horses.'
Known for: 'A Time to Kill'
This lawyer-turned-master of the legal thriller genre was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He left his wheelhouse in writing 'A Painted House,' a coming of age story inspired by his upbringing on a farm.
There are currently more than 275 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, and nine of his novels have been turned into films.
Known for: 'The Grapes of Wrath'
California's most treasured author, John Steinbeck immortalised the beauty and treachery of the Golden State in his novels 'The Grapes of Wrath,' 'East of Eden,' 'Cannery Row,' 'Tortilla Flat,' and others. The Salinas native attended Stanford University.
His childhood home now houses a restaurant and gift shop.
Known for: 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'
Considered a founding father of 1960s counterculture, Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado, the son of dairy farmers. His works promoted drug use as a path to individual liberation, and bridged the beatnik and hippy generations.
'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Sometimes a Great Notion' were both set in Oregon, where he was raised.
Known for: 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'
The eminent abolitionist writer Harriet Beecher Stowe grew up in Litchfield, Connecticut.
In her later years, she returned to Hartford, where she wrote some of her best works other than 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' -- 'The American Woman's Home' and 'Poganuc People' -- and helped establish the Hartford Art School, which later became the University of Hartford.
Known for: 'A Kiss from Maddalena'
Christopher Castellani is a proud product of Wilmington's Little Italy neighbourhood. His father's journey emigrating from Italy and pursuing the American Dream on the East Coast inspired the events in Castellani's trilogy.
The protagonist, a young woman who faces the challenges of a 1950s immigrant, learns that the city of Wilmington will be enough for her small family.
Known for: 'Hoot'
Sunshine State-grown Carl Hiaasen is a New York Times best-selling author, mastering both the mystery thriller and children's genres. He graduated from the University of Florida, and has written for The Miami Herald since he was 23 years old. His column still regularly appears in the opinion section.
His most popular books, including 'Hoot,' 'Flush,' 'Tourist Season,' 'Skin Tight,' 'Strip Tease,' and 'Skinny Dip,' take place in Florida.
Known for: 'A Good Man is Hard to Find, and Other Stories'
Flannery O'Connor shuttled between Savannah and Milledgeville as a child, and when she was diagnosed with lupus in her twenties, she returned to Andalusia, the family's farm. She spent her remaining years writing two novels and dozens of short stories, known for their grotesque characters, regional settings, and low humour.
The University of Georgia Press created the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction in her honour.
Known for: 'Born in Paradise'
Armine Von Tempski grew up on a cattle ranch on the slopes of Haleakalā
, a massive volcano that forms most of Maui, and shared the sights and natural wonders of the islands in her memoir and book-turned-film, 'Hula.'
She once described her career ambitions to The Honolulu Advertiser: 'The desire grew within me to write a literature of Hawaii that was authentic, to picturize the life as I, a child of the Isles, knew it.'
Known for: 'Children of God'
A child of the frontier, this Annis native also wrote a guide to Idaho and the 12-part 'Testament of Man' series in a cabin that he built, overlooking the Thousand Springs area.
Vardis Fisher's gritty account of trappers in the fur trade era, 'Mountain Men,' was made into a 1972 movie starring Robert Redford, titled 'Jeremiah Johnson.'
Known for: 'The Old Man and the Sea'
Ernest Hemingway found his passion for writing in the upscale Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, where he was born. In high school, he wrote for the school's newspaper and yearbook. After graduation, he left Illinois to report for The Kansas City Star.
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park operates a museum in his childhood home.
Known for: 'Slaughterhouse-Five'
Many of Kurt Vonnegut's works use his birthplace of Indianapolis as a symbol of American values, or contain at least one character from Indy.
In 1986, during a visit to North Central High School, he said, 'All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis.'
Known for: 'A Short History of Nearly Everything'
Before travel and history writer Bill Bryson shot to fame in the U.K., where he currently lives, he was Des Moines' hometown boy. He attended Drake University for two years and wrote about his 1950s Middle America upbringing in his memoir 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.'
Fellow Hoosier and former President Herbert Hoover features prominently in Bryson's book, 'One Summer.'
Known for: 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'
Hunter S. Thompson, a Louisville native, wrote almost a dozen books and is credited as the founder of gonzo journalism, a style of first-person reporting that is devoid of objectivity.
He catapulted into fame with the seminal sports article 'The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.' Thompson pitched the Louisville-based story to 'Scanlan's Monthly' just 72 hours before the race, and quickly found himself submerged in the spectators' lewd celebrations.
Known for: 'Interview with the Vampire'
Born and raised in New Orleans, Anne Rice brings the city to life in her Gothic fiction. The French Quarter provides a setting for 'Interview with the Vampire,' and her house in the Garden District serves as the fictional home of her characters in the 'Lives of the Mayfair Witches' series.
It's rumoured that Rice purchased a tomb at the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans, where her vampire character goes to brood, for her eventual use.
Known for: 'The Shining'
Stephen King is the quintessential Maine author -- born in Portland, graduated from the University of Maine at Orono, and still living in Bangor. His blood red Victorian mansion, surrounded by a black, wrought-iron fence decorated with cobwebs, is hard to miss.
King's fictional Maine topography provides a backdrop for many of his novels, including 'Carrie,' 'It,' 'The Dead Zone,' 'Insomnia,' 'Salem's Lot,' and others.
Known for: 'The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy'
Silver Springs, Maryland-born romance novelist Nora Roberts still lives in the same Boonsboro, Md., home she moved into as a newly wed teenager. In 2011, her family owned eight properties in the town, including the Turn the Page Bookstore where she hosts frequent book signings, and Inn BoonsBoro, the B&B setting for her trilogy of the same name.
Baltimore native Tom Clancy, who recently passed away, was also a contender for the state of Maryland.
Known for: 'The Scarlet Letter'
Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter,' considered one of the great American novels, explores sin, guilt, and dignity in 17th-century Puritan Salem. Coincidentally, the Salem native is the descendant of a judge who ruled in the Salem witch trials.
Being that 'The Scarlet Letter' is a literary staple read by almost every high school student, Hawthorne was the pick for the state of Massachusetts; but other Mass.-born contenders were Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, Dr. Seuss, and Henry David Thoreau.
Known for: 'The Virgin Suicides'
This bestselling author found inspiration in the economic turmoil of Detroit for his first novel 'The Virgin Suicides.' The Motor City native told NPR, 'That whole feeling of growing up in Detroit, in a city losing population, and in perpetual crisis really was the mood that made me write 'The Virgin Suicides' in the first place.'
His Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Middlesex' is also set in Michigan.
Known for: 'The Great Gatsby'
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born and raised on a tree-lined street in St. Paul's Ramsey Hill neighbourhood. In his writing Fitzgerald painted himself as coming from nothing, when in reality the family lived in an upscale luxury apartment.
Fitzgerald's first writing to appear in print was a detective story in St. Paul Academy's newspaper when he was 13 years old.
Known for: 'The Sound and the Fury'
Oxford, Miss., is the ultimate literary destination for fans of William Faulkner. He was reared, schooled, made famous, and buried there, and loved Lafayette county so deeply that he created a fictitious county based on it.
He told the Paris Review, 'I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about, and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.'
Known for: 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, began his writing career as a typesetter at the Western Union paper, in his hometown of Hannibal.
His boyhood home has been transformed into a museum, which seeks to develop students' passion for reading and adventure through community initiatives.
Known for: 'Liars and Saints'
Born and raised in Helena, Meloy has written books for kids and adults. The Harvard College grad is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times, and has been dubbed 'the first great American realist of the 21st century' in a review of her work by The Boston Globe.
Aside from her writing, Meloy is also credited with being a founding member of the band The Decemberists.
Known for: 'A Walk to Remember'
Sparks was born in Omaha to a business professor and an optometrist's assistant. He wrote his first novel the summer after his freshman year at Notre Dame and, though the novel went unpublished, it was the beginning of a slow-going (at first) career in writing.
He wrote his first best-seller, 'The Notebook,' at age 24, which spent over a year on the hardcover bestseller's list. Sparks has been an incredibly prolific author, writing a new book nearly every year, many of which have been made into films.
Known for: 'Beautiful Children'
Relatively new to the book industry, Bock, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, wrote his debut novel 'Beautiful Children' in 2008. It was named the same year to The New York Times' 'Notable Book of the Year' list.
Bock's parents were pawnbrokers, and his upbringing with them, as well as his childhood in Las Vegas, was a huge influence on the novel. He got his MFA from Bennington College and currently lives in New York City.
Known for: 'The Da Vinci Code'
Brown grew up on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, where his father taught maths and where Brown himself eventually attended. Growing up Episcopalian, Brown doubted religion from a young age, which led to themes of conspiracy and and religious scepticism that are found in many of Brown's books.
After graduating from Amherst College, Brown briefly pursued a career as a musician, even recording a few CDs, before quitting his teaching job to write full time. He wrote three books before 'Da Vinci,' which put him on the map as a best-selling author.
Novelist John Irving, author of 'The World According To Garp' and 'The Cider House Rules' is also from New Hampshire.
Known for: 'Portnoy's Complaint'
The Newark-born author sets many of his books in his hometown, including his most recent work, 'Nemesis.'
The Jewish community in which he grew up became a huge influence in many of his books -- not just the relationships between family members or the divide between Jews and non-Jews where he was raised, but also 'the liberated Jewish consciousness,' as evidenced by the promiscuity of some of his characters.
Known for: 'Bless Me, Ultima'
Anaya came from a family of cattle workers and sheepherders in the tiny town of Pastura. Overall he had a happy, active life of hunting, fishing, and exploring the plains of New Mexico, but many of his less-positive experiences -- like questioning his place in the world as a Latino, or a diving accident that almost killed him at age 16 -- are alluded to in his canonical Chicano literature.
Known for: 'Moby Dick'
The author of the White Whale Tale, born in New York City in 1819, lost his father at a young age, which forced him to take on as much work as he could to help support his family. Melville had always had a fascination with whales ever since he was a boy, hearing the story of the whale ship Essex, which sunk when it was attacked by a whale.
Melville was the New York pick for the notoriety of his work, both as it stands and as it's been done and redone in pop culture. Frank McCourt, Joseph Heller, and Madeleine L'Engle also vied for most famous author from New York.
Known for: 'Look Homeward, Angel'
Born and raised in Asheville, N.C., Wolfe was recognised at a young age for his genius, and enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill at age 15. After completing further studies in playwriting at Harvard, Wolfe went on to write not only many plays, but some lengthy novels as well, including 'Look Homeward, Angel,' a work of fiction based on his life in Asheville.
While the book was a huge success, it was met with a ton of controversy back home, as more than 200 characters were based on Asheville residents, including his own family. The outcry was so bad that it led to Wolfe exiling himself from Asheville for almost a decade before returning home again.
Known for: 'The Walking Drum'
Born Louis Dearborn LaMoore in 1908, the North Dakota native grew up in a medium-sized farm community to a veterinarian father. L'Amour heard tales of the Great American Frontier from his uncles and his grandfather, who lived through the Civil and Indian wars.
Known for: 'Winesburg, Ohio'
Anderson was born to a poor family in Camden, Ohio, but spent his most productive and lucrative years as a writer in Clyde, where he even set many of his stories.
Anderson was most prolific in the late 1910s and early '20s, when he produced 'Marching Men' (1917), 'Winesburg, Ohio' (1919), 'Poor White' (1920), and 'Many Marriages' (1923). 'Winesburg, Ohio' in particular gained Anderson a lot of positive attention for his work as a storyteller.
Known for: 'Invisible Man'
Before his writing career took off, though, Ellison left his home of Oklahoma City to pursue music at the Tuskegee Institute. It wasn't until Langston Hughes introduced Ellison to Richard Wright that Ellison was encouraged to take up writing.
Known for: 'Ramona Quimby, Age 8'
Even though Cleary's Oregon hometown was so small it didn't have a library, she developed a love of books early on. Once she got to school, the school librarians suggested she write children's books for a living, and Cleary made that her ultimate goal.
She published her first book, 'Henry Huggins,' in 1950, and has developed many more beloved characters throughout her career.
Known for: 'Tales of the South Pacific'
The Pennsylvania native didn't publish his first book, 'Tales of the South Pacific,' until he was nearly 40 years old, but it won him a prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Like his Pulitzer-winning work, many of Michener's books revolve around the places he's traveled to in the Navy, or places he's lived throughout his career.
Known for: 'No Country for Old Men'
McCarthy's works are closely tied with the south, but the Southern Gothic-genre writer was born in Providence. McCarthy's family moved to Knoxville, Tenn., when he was a child where his father worked as a lawyer.
McCarthy was 32 when his first book, 'The Orchard Keeper,' was published, and he continues to publish novels on a regular basis, even at the age of 80.
Known for: 'Amelia Bedelia'
Peggy Parish brought her beloved kids' book character Amelia Bedelia, a housekeeper who interpreted all of her employers' instructions literally, to life after spending years teaching elementary school and discovering what children like to read.
Parish grew up and attended school in South Carolina, but taught for many years in New York before returning to her home state. Her celebrated book series just celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
Known for: 'Parasites Like Us'
Growing up, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer says he heard many tales of survival in the wilderness from the men in his family. The skills they needed to survive weren't ones Johnson learned, as he lived with his mother when his parents divorced, but was able to adeptly describe these skills and his characters' struggle for survival in his back-in-time debut novel.
South Dakota was another difficult state to fill; other authors, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, called South Dakota home at one time or another, but were not born there.
Known for: 'A Summons to Memphis'
Peter Matthew Hillsman Taylor, a contemporary of Robert Penn Warren, Katherine Anne Porter, and Jean Stafford, grew up in Tennessee and was named for his father Matthew Hillsman Taylor, an attorney and Vanderbilt alum.
Taylor later went by Peter Taylor professionally, dropping the Matthew Hillsman; all of his works are authored by Peter Taylor.
Known for: 'Flowering Judas and Other Stories'
Saying Porter lived a hard life would be an understatement; her mother's death when Porter was just two years old caused her father to become neglectful, so she was raised primarily by her grandmother. She married young, and suffered as a victim of domestic violence during her first and some subsequent marriages.
She almost died, twice, from two different pandemics, and endured poverty and infertility. But many of her hardships are evident in her writing, which often explores human fallibility.
Known for: 'The Corner of Rife and Pacific'
Though Savage is best known for his Montana-based novels, the Wild West author was born in Salt Lake City. He followed his mother to a Montana ranch when she remarried, and there gained his inspiration for many of the books he came to write.
His last book before his death, 'The Corner of Rife and Pacific,' follows the joys and sorrows of a family in the small, fictional town of Grayling.
Known for: 'Contrary Country: A Chronicle of Vermont'
Hill was born and raised in Burlington and remained in the northeast for college, where he attended Dartmouth. A foremost authority on the Green Mountain state, Hill spend many years as the editor of Vermont Life magazine, during which time he also authored a number of Vermont-centric books, including 'Contrary Country.'
It was particularly difficult to track down Vermont-born authors. Poet Robert Frost wrote in and about the state, but was born in San Francisco; and Rudyard Kipling wrote 'The Jungle Book' while living in Brattleboro, Vt., but was born in India.
Known for: 'The Camel Club'
Baldacci describes himself as a 'lifelong Virginian.' He got his undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and even attended law school at the University of Virginia.
He practiced law in DC for many years before making a career as legal thriller writer. Almost every one of his books has made the NYT bestseller list, the majority of them in the #1 spot.
Known for: 'Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door'
Steves has always been fascinated by new places, and so he turned his passion into an empire, with more than 50 travel books as well as videos, audio tours, and other tips for Europe-bound travellers.
Steves was born in Edmonds, Wash. (he still lives there today) and took his first trip to Europe in 1969. He is an advocate of Americans travelling to Europe to gain new perspectives and ways of thinking. His 2014 edition of 'Europe Through the Back Door' was released this past summer.
Although Washington serves as a backdrop for books like 'Twilight' and '50 Shades of Grey,' very few authors call it home. Steves, however, is cemented in Wash. culture, donating $US1 million to the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
Known for: 'The Good Earth'
The Nobel Prize-winning Buck was born in Hillsboro, W.V., but spent the majority of her life in China with her missionary parents.
Much of her work is based on the clash and contrast between Eastern and Western cultures, including her best seller 'The Good Earth,' which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.
Known for: 'Little House in the Big Woods'
Ingalls Wilder, whose family moved from state to state like nomads for much of her life, was born in the 'big woods' of Wisconsin, where her children's classic was eventually set.
Other books from her 'Little House' series were also based on the places she'd lived -- Kansas, South Dakota, Missouri -- and all but one of her books were nominated for the prestigious Newbery Medal for exceptional children's literature.
Known for: 'Sarah, Plain and Tall'
Born in Cheyenne, MacLachlan still carries around a bit of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind herself of where she came from.
Lauded for her beloved children's books that tell stories of home and family, MacLachlan has noted and always been fascinated by children's preoccupation with and attachment to certain places.
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