Writing is one of the most ancient professions in the world. Since the early days, people chose to pen their thoughts, views, ideas and beliefs to increase awareness and knowledge in the world. While writing can be of many types, it is essay writing that we are emphasizing on in this segment. Essays are basically literary pieces wherein a writer puts to paper his reflection about an event or episode in history. Spanning across varied topics such as politics, education, social rights, activism, literary criticism and so on, essays help readers to understand the world in a better fashion. In America, essay writing has been prevalent since the early colonial days. Francis Bacon, Samuel Sewall and John Woolman are some of the earliest known American essayists. Much of their work revolved around the revolutionary theme. Post-independence, American essayists focussed on societal problems as the main issue for their works. It also marked the golden period of essay writing as works by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Washington Irving came to foreplay. The romantic and realistic period saw the likes of R.W. Emerson, E.A. Poe and Frederick Douglas giving way to works by Mark Twain, Mary Austin and others. Know about the life and works of some of the best-known American essayists, in this section.
Mark Twain ImageMark Twain
30 November 1835
Author and Humorist
Lisa Brennan-JobsLisa Brennan-Jobs
17 May 1978
Daughter of Steve Jobs

James BaldwinJames Baldwin
02 August 1924
Novelist

Aldous HuxleyAldous Huxley
26 July 1894
Writer

Philip K. DickPhilip K. Dick
16 December 1928
Novelist

Ray BradburyRay Bradbury
22 August 1920
Writer
Robert A. HeinleinRobert A. Heinlein
07 July 1907
Science Fiction Writer

Washington IrwingWashington Irving
03 April 1783
Author, Historian, Diplomat

Jhumpa LahiriJhumpa Lahiri
11 July 1967
Writer
Sandra CisnerosSandra Cisneros
20 December 1954
Writer

Amiri BarakaAmiri Baraka
07 October 1934
Writer
Adrienne RichAdrienne Rich
16 May 1929
American poet

Barbara KingsolverBarbara Kingsolver
08 April 1955
Novelist, Poet, Essayist

George SaundersGeorge Saunders
02 December 1958
Writer

Junot DíazJunot Díaz
31 December 1968
Writer

Jamaica KincaidJamaica Kincaid
25 May 1949
Novelist
Katherine Anne PorterKatherine Anne Porter
15 May 1890
Journalist, Essayist, Writer, Novelist

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
29 August 1809
Writer, Physician

Andre DubusAndre Dubus
11 August 1936
Short story writer

Anais NinAnais Nin
21 February 1903
Essayist
James GunnJames Gunn
23 July 1923
Writer

Tara WestoverTara Westover
27 September 1986
Memoirist
David SedarisDavid Sedaris
26 December 1956
Writer, Essayist

Paul KrugmanPaul Krugman
28 February 1953
Columnist, Economist, Essayist, Blogger,

Joan DidionJoan Didion
05 December 1934
Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, Writer,
Nassim Nicholas TalebNassim Nicholas Taleb
1960 AD
Essayist

Elizabeth GilbertElizabeth Gilbert
18 July 1969
Writer
Fareed ZakariaFareed Zakaria
20 January 1964
Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Economist

Ta-Nehisi CoatesTa-Nehisi Coates
30 September 1975
Writer

Henry Louis Gates Jr.Henry Louis Gates Jr.
16 September 1950
Author
Thomas PynchonThomas Pynchon
08 May 1937
Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Science fiction writer

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Sylvia BrowneSylvia Browne
19 October 1936
Essayist, Psychic
Michael ChabonMichael Chabon
24 May 1963
Writer, Essayist, Screenwriter, Novelist,

Flannery O'ConnorFlannery O'Connor
25 March 1925
Novelist

Robert ChristgauRobert Christgau
18 April 1942
Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Music

Neal StephensonNeal Stephenson
31 October 1959
Novelist
Cheryl StrayedCheryl Strayed
17 September 1968
Writer
Jonathan FranzenJonathan Franzen
17 August 1959
Novelist

Don DeLilloDon DeLillo
20 November 1936
Writer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist,

James EllroyJames Ellroy
04 March 1948
Writer

Italo CalvinoItalo Calvino
15 October 1923
Writer, Poet, Politician, Journalist, Reporter,
Harry TurtledoveHarry Turtledove
14 June 1949
Novelist

Robert Anton WilsonRobert Anton Wilson
18 January 1932
Writer, Novelist, Philosopher, Essayist,

Rebecca SolnitRebecca Solnit
24 June 1961
Writer

Sarah VowellSarah Vowell
27 December 1969
Historian

Frederik PohlFrederik Pohl
26 November 1919
Author
Madeleine L'EngleMadeleine L'Engle
29 November 1918
Author

Larry KramerLarry Kramer
25 June 1935
Playwright
Jaron LanierJaron Lanier
03 May 1960
Computer scientist, Composer, Programmer, Writer,

Fredric JamesonFredric Jameson
14 April 1934
Essayist, Political scientist, Writer, Professor,

Samuel R. DelanySamuel R. Delany
01 April 1942
Writer
Jim HarrisonJim Harrison
11 December 1937
Poet

Tom RobbinsTom Robbins
22 July 1932
Writer
John Perry BarlowJohn Perry Barlow
03 October 1947
Poet

Mary KarrMary Karr
16 January 1955
Poet

James Russell LowellJames Russell Lowell
22 February 1819
Poet, Diplomat, Essayist, Writer, Literary critic,

Linda Moulton HoweLinda Moulton Howe
20 January 1942
Journalist, Essayist

John Gregory DunneJohn Gregory Dunne
25 May 1932
Novelist
Marilynne RobinsonMarilynne Robinson
26 November 1943
Novelist

Neil PostmanNeil Postman
08 March 1931
Writer

Joy HarjoJoy Harjo
09 May 1951
Poet

Kathy AckerKathy Acker
18 April 1947
Author
W. Kamau BellW. Kamau Bell
26 January 1973
Comedian

Joyce KilmerJoyce Kilmer
06 December 1886
Writer
N. Scott MomadayN. Scott Momaday
27 February 1934
Author

Jonathan AmesJonathan Ames
23 March 1964
Novelist

Lysander SpoonerLysander Spooner
19 January 1808
Lawyer, Journalist, Essayist, Philosopher
Stewart BrandStewart Brand
14 December 1938
Writer

Lydia DavisLydia Davis
15 July 1947
Writer
Emily GouldEmily Gould
13 October 1981
Writer, Essayist, Children's writer

Eve Kosofsky SedgwickEve Kosofsky Sedgwick
02 May 1950
Academic Scholar

Edmund WilsonEdmund Wilson
08 May 1895
Journalist, Poet, Playwright, Literary critic,
L. Sprague de CampL. Sprague de Camp
27 November 1907
Writer

William Dean HowellsWilliam Dean Howells
01 March 1837
Novelist
Marguerite YourcenarMarguerite Yourcenar
08 June 1903
Novelist, Essayist

Ishmael ReedIshmael Reed
22 February 1938
Poet

John BurroughsJohn Burroughs
03 April 1837
Naturalist

Roger AngellRoger Angell
19 September 1920
Essayist
Edmund WhiteEdmund White
16 January 1940
Novelist
Leslie Marmon SilkoLeslie Marmon Silko
05 March 1948
American author

Bharati MukherjeeBharati Mukherjee
27 July 1940
Writer

Bebe Moore CampbellBebe Moore Campbell
18 February 1950
Author

William H. GassWilliam H. Gass
30 July 1924
Novelist
Carl Gustav HempelCarl Gustav Hempel
08 January 1905
Mathematician, Computer scientist, Philosopher,

Richard RodriguezRichard Rodriguez
31 July 1944
Journalist, Teacher

John Crowe RansomJohn Crowe Ransom
30 April 1888
Educator

Ha JinHa Jin
21 February 1956
Writer

Cynthia OzickCynthia Ozick
17 April 1928
Short Story Writer
Barry LopezBarry Lopez
06 January 1945
Author

John Edgar WidemanJohn Edgar Wideman
14 June 1941
Author
Mark StrandMark Strand
11 April 1934
Poet

Eugene FieldEugene Field
02 September 1850
Writer
Randall JarrellRandall Jarrell
06 May 1914
Poet
Russell BakerRussell Baker
14 August 1925
Journalist