Among the best short story writers (top row): John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver; (Bottom row): Ron Rash, Flannery O’Connor and Richard Ford

And the rocket’s red glare. The bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there From The Star Spangled Banner (1814)(...)

Saul Bellow, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature at his home in Vermont in 1989: The honour came the year after Humboldt’s Gift , his most Nabokovian novel, and within months of To Jerusalem and Back, his non-fiction report of a journey to Israel. It is always valid to include that book because it is serious and Bellow, for all the gags and earthy set pieces, is very serious. Photograph: Dominique Nabokov / Liaison Agency

‘I’ve reckoned with death for so long that I look at the world with the eyes of someone who’s died’ – Saul Bellow Although The Dean’s December is the (...)

Tenacity is an admirable trait in anyone, particularly an athlete or explorer, but not the first quality that one looks for in a biography, where i(...)

Ketil Bjornstad: ‘Sometimes I also rent a hotel room to write in peace.’ Photograph: Benedicte Ugland/ketilbjornstad.com

Ketil Bjornstad is a Norwegian pianist, composer and author. ketilbjornstad.comWhat was the first book to make an impression on you?It must have been (...)

Martin Amis: holding a mirror up to the death camps. Photograph: Alan Betson

In Experience, his unexpectedly tender memoir published in 2000, the English writer Martin Amis went some way towards explaining his life and, more im(...)

Meditating on mortality: Klaus Maria Brandauer in Krapp’s Last Tape. Photographs: Das Letzte Band

There are three events that Sean Doran recalls, over the course of a varied international career as an artistic director, when he thought he had fi(...)

The End of the Affair: With plenty of reflection on the novel-writing process and insights into the obsessive mind of the writer, Maurice Bendrix (played in Neil Jordan’s film adapatation by Ralph Fiennes) is an intriguing antihero, loosely based on Graham Greene himself

The End of the Affair, Graham Greene (1951) Set in London, Greene’s novel follows writer Maurice Bendrix in the closing months of the second Wo(...)

Alice Munro: many writers refer to her as the person who made them want to write. Above: Munro at Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP Photo

Readers and writers throughout the world will celebrate the awarding of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature to the revered Canadian storyteller Ali(...)

A 2007 file photograph of Canadian writer Alice Munro, who has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Photograph: Mike Cassese/Reuters

Canadian writer Alice Munro has won this year’s Nobel Prize in literature.The Swedish Academy, which selects Nobel literature winners, called her a “m(...)

Novelist Elmore Leonard: began writing fiction while an advertising copywriter for General Motors. Photograph: Paul Sancya/AP.

A full measure of recognition came to writer Elmore Leonard, who has died aged 87, rather late in life. When Stick was published in Britain in 1984, o(...)