Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

It is dangerous to lock oneself away and lose track of what is happening outside.”

Frances Hardinge

  1. Marisha Pessl. OK, she’s not very underrated, but Special Topics in Calamity Physics is one of those hidden-gem books that nobody seems to have read and which are bookish and fun and original.

  2. Garth Nix. Nobody seems to have heard of Garth Nix, even among fantasy readers, which confuses me no end, because his Old Kingdom series is fast-paced, feminist, well-characterised, hugely inventive fantasy which made me very happy when I was younger. Also there is an awesome library.

  3. Brian Jacques. A midlist children’s author who churned out about a zillion Redwall books, charming if uncomplicated tales about mice and badgers eating delicious vegetarian food and fighting baddies.

  4. Naomi Novik. Author of the Temeraire series, another awesome fantasy creation which hides behind better-known and less inventive tales. Though she writes about war, her books aren’t all about action; they’re quieter, more individual things, capturing nuance and diplomacy and adorableness in their characters.

  5. Mervyn Peake. Whenever people asked me what I was writing my dissertation on, their faces would go blank when I mentioned Mervyn Peake. Which is a shame, because Gormenghast is deep and rich and fascinating and strange.

  6. David Clement-Davies. I haven’t re-read them for years, but Fire Bringer and The Sight, both YA novels about animals in a landscape slowly becoming humanized, were perhaps the first really emotionally complex things I read, epic in scale but full of feeling, slow-moving but significant.

  7. Ann Radcliffe. Radcliffe was an eighteenth-century writer of Gothic novels, best known for The Mysteries of Udolpho, and she’s often reviled by critics for books they haven’t actually read. Her work is inevitably more evasive and more complex than is usually thought, and enjoyable for its own sake.

  8. Laurence Cosse. Her A Novel Bookstore, translated from the French, is a lovely story of book lovers in a commercialised world.

  9. Frances Burney. Best described as “kind of like Austen but not”. Again, she wrote in the eighteenth century; Camilla and Evelina are social comedies which are often very funny, and very accessible to anyone who has read Austen.

  10. Frances Hardinge. An inventive writer of modern fairytales, full of strange and involving magic: A Face Like Glass and Fly By Night are both lovely and disturbing in equal measure.

(The theme of this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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