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.
James BaldwinJames Baldwin
02 August 1924
Novelist
Mark Twain ImageMark Twain
30 November 1835
Writer

Lisa Brennan-JobsLisa Brennan-Jobs
17 May 1978
Daughter of Steve Jobs

Aldous HuxleyAldous Huxley
26 July 1894
Writer

Philip K. DickPhilip K. Dick
16 December 1928
Novelist

Ray BradburyRay Bradbury
22 August 1920
Writer
Nassim Nicholas TalebNassim Nicholas Taleb
1960 AD
Essayist

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

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

Sandra CisnerosSandra Cisneros
20 December 1954
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
W. Kamau BellW. Kamau Bell
26 January 1973
Comedian

Ursula K. Le GuinUrsula K. Le Guin
21 October 1929
Author

Henry Louis Gates Jr.Henry Louis Gates Jr.
16 September 1950
Author
Joan DidionJoan Didion
05 December 1934
Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, Writer,

Paul KrugmanPaul Krugman
28 February 1953
Columnist, Economist, Essayist, Blogger,
Fareed ZakariaFareed Zakaria
20 January 1964
Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Economist

Flannery O'ConnorFlannery O'Connor
25 March 1925
Novelist

Orson Scott CardOrson Scott Card
24 August 1951
Novelist
Thomas PynchonThomas Pynchon
08 May 1937
Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Science fiction writer

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Larry KramerLarry Kramer
25 June 1935
Playwright
Sylvia BrowneSylvia Browne
19 October 1936
Essayist, Psychic

Cheryl StrayedCheryl Strayed
17 September 1968
Writer

Jaron LanierJaron Lanier
03 May 1960
Computer scientist, Composer, Programmer, Writer,

Neal StephensonNeal Stephenson
31 October 1959
Novelist
Robert ChristgauRobert Christgau
18 April 1942
Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Music
Don DeLilloDon DeLillo
20 November 1936
Writer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist,

Michael ChabonMichael Chabon
24 May 1963
Writer, Essayist, Screenwriter, Novelist,

Jonathan FranzenJonathan Franzen
17 August 1959
Novelist

Robert Anton WilsonRobert Anton Wilson
18 January 1932
Writer, Novelist, Philosopher, Essayist,
James EllroyJames Ellroy
04 March 1948
Writer

Sarah VowellSarah Vowell
27 December 1969
Historian

Ishmael ReedIshmael Reed
22 February 1938
Poet

Samuel R. DelanySamuel R. Delany
01 April 1942
Writer

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

Madeleine L'EngleMadeleine L'Engle
29 November 1918
Author
John Perry BarlowJohn Perry Barlow
03 October 1947
Poet

Tom RobbinsTom Robbins
22 July 1932
Writer

Edward Paul AbbeyEdward Abbey
29 January 1927
Essayist
Rebecca SolnitRebecca Solnit
24 June 1961
Writer

Jim HarrisonJim Harrison
11 December 1937
Poet
Marilynne RobinsonMarilynne Robinson
26 November 1943
Novelist

John Gregory DunneJohn Gregory Dunne
25 May 1932
Novelist

Linda Moulton HoweLinda Moulton Howe
20 January 1942
Journalist, Essayist

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

Lysander SpoonerLysander Spooner
19 January 1808
Lawyer, Journalist, Essayist, Philosopher
Mary KarrMary Karr
16 January 1955
Poet

Marguerite YourcenarMarguerite Yourcenar
08 June 1903
Novelist, Essayist

Neil PostmanNeil Postman
08 March 1931
Writer

Joyce KilmerJoyce Kilmer
06 December 1886
Writer
Meta Ann DoakAnnie Dillard
30 April 1945
Author

Joy HarjoJoy Harjo
09 May 1951
Poet
Kathy AckerKathy Acker
18 April 1947
Author

Stewart BrandStewart Brand
14 December 1938
Writer

Edmund WhiteEdmund White
16 January 1940
Novelist
June Millicent JordanJune Jordan
09 July 1936
Poet

Jonathan AmesJonathan Ames
23 March 1964
Novelist
James Russell LowellJames Russell Lowell
22 February 1819
Poet, Diplomat, Essayist, Writer, Literary critic,

Edmund WilsonEdmund Wilson
08 May 1895
Journalist, Poet, Playwright, Literary critic,

Frederik PohlFrederik Pohl
26 November 1919
Author
Bebe Moore CampbellBebe Moore Campbell
18 February 1950
Author

L. Sprague de CampL. Sprague de Camp
27 November 1907
Writer
John BurroughsJohn Burroughs
03 April 1837
Naturalist

Lydia DavisLydia Davis
15 July 1947
Writer

Eve Kosofsky SedgwickEve Kosofsky Sedgwick
02 May 1950
Academic Scholar

Charles W. ChesnuttCharles W. Chesnutt
20 June 1858
Author
N. Scott MomadayN. Scott Momaday
27 February 1934
Author
William Dean HowellsWilliam Dean Howells
01 March 1837
Novelist

Leslie Marmon SilkoLeslie Marmon Silko
05 March 1948
American author

Emily GouldEmily Gould
13 October 1981
Writer, Essayist, Children's writer

Roger AngellRoger Angell
19 September 1920
Essayist
Cynthia OzickCynthia Ozick
17 April 1928
Short Story Writer

William H. GassWilliam H. Gass
30 July 1924
Novelist

John Edgar WidemanJohn Edgar Wideman
14 June 1941
Author

Carl Gustav HempelCarl Gustav Hempel
08 January 1905
Mathematician, Computer scientist, Philosopher,

Diane JohnsonDiane Johnson
28 April 1934
Novelist
Laura RidingLaura Riding
16 January 1901
Poet

Harry CrewsHarry Crews
07 June 1935
Author
Clarence DayClarence Day
18 November 1874
Author

John Crowe RansomJohn Crowe Ransom
30 April 1888
Educator
Randall JarrellRandall Jarrell
06 May 1914
Poet
Ha JinHa Jin
21 February 1956
Writer