This was difficult! How does one narrow down the most influential writers on their own writing and life to a list of fifteen? Here are fifteen of my favorite writers who have had the strongest impact on my own life and writing.
1. C.S. LewisMy mom reading aloud The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my earliest memories. Lewis’ down-to-earth, often-humorous, but utterly deep fiction and nonfiction has challenged and encouraged me each time I read him. His ‘Til We Have Faces makes it into my top three fiction books.
3. George MacDonaldCan anyone write more realistic fantasy, more childlike novels about bonny Scotland, or sermons more passionate about the love of God? My sister first gave me a volume of MacDonald’s sermons when I was in high school, and I will be forever grateful that she did. It’s hard to choose a favorite among his writings, but I’d say Phantastes and Sir Gibbie rank very high.
A woman unafraid to stand for the truth and to place everything she had and was in the Lord’s hands. Her first husband’s quote sums up her life and writings: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
4. Elisabeth Elliot
5. L.M. MontgomeryHer The Story Girl and The Golden Road display a level of simple yet heart-rending beauty that I’d love to imitate in my own work.
6. E.B. WhiteWilbur the pig, Templeton the rat, and Stuart Little show us that some of the deepest themes in the world can find their channel through the most common of characters.
The Heavenly Man has provided focus and widened my vision of what God does in and through those who stake their all in Him. I can’t recommend Yun highly enough.
7. Brother Yun
8. Hannah HurnardGod used this Quaker’s little book Hearing Heart to soften my own heart toward true obedience and listening to Him, the real and personal God.
9. Janette OkeShe was perhaps the first Christian novelist I ever read, and her gently insistent Seasons of the Heart series continues to encourage me toward writing about ordinary folk who have an extraordinary God.
10. Charles DickensHow could I leave him out? His characters make me weep, roar with laugher, and cry with indignation.
11. Ravi ZachariasHis Great Conversations series has helped me more deeply understand how our Christian discipleship makes all the difference.
12. J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings brings a remarkable level of layering and fictitious history that leaves me in awe.
Pilgrim’s Progress is a spiritual eye-opener. I cannot recommend any book more highly.
13. John Bunyan
14. John G. PatonThis missionary’s autobiography has done a great deal to cement my commitment to the Lord Jesus. My favorite story about him: When an elderly woman in a Scottish congregation protested his upcoming missions work in the New Hebrides, saying, “But Mr. Paton, you will be eaten by cannibals!” His reply? “Madam, you will be eaten by worms.”
15. ShakespeareWho can do tragedy so well? I re-read Hamlet every couple of years and find something fresh every time.
Thanks for having me, Iola! Readers, I hope that you find something new to explore in my list!